Picks and Pans Review: Talking With...

updated 02/19/1996 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/19/1996 01:00AM

>Brian Boitano

AXELS AND ROSES

Call it a golden opportunity: the on-ice director-choreographer of USA Network's exhibition event, Skating Romance (Thurs., Feb. 22, 8 p.m. ET), is none other than Brian Boitano, 32, the figure skater who won Olympic gold in Calgary in 1988 and first place at 18 televised competitions since. We caught up with Boitano, a first-time director, in Erie, Pa., where he was resting between dates on the Tour of World Figure Skating Champions.

How did your role as director affect your skating?

I prefer skating and directing to just skating. But when you direct, there's no time to eat, no breaks, and you're exhausted. I wore so many hats—I cast the show and worked with a dozen skaters, I chose the music for the opening and closing numbers, I even created some of the costumes.

What was it about Skating Romance that made you want to work on it?

I felt that there weren't enough romantic shows, and that's what I like to do. Women are our core audience, and a lot of the skating specials have gone in an MTV direction and ignored the kind of classic love story that our core audience enjoys.

Why has televised skating become so popular?

Skating has always been popular. But the Tonya-Nancy incident made the men in corporate and network boardrooms take a look at skating and decide to put their money in it.

What did you learn from your work behind the scenes?

I enjoyed having a say in the look of a show, and when I decide not to skate anymore, I'll have directing experience. But I have to learn to pace myself better. I don't know what I was running on the last two days in Los Angeles. Next time, I'm hiring an assistant.

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