If I remember correctly, a lot of the basis for it early on was things like Wide World of Sports. Powerlifting was part of a broader outlook.
I'm not really aware of any primetime shows or major networks that are doing anything like that anymore which is ashame. It seems like it is all so specific anymore.
The problem is the time between attempts and events. You basically need to edit the hell out of it and you need someone who can do commentary in a way that communicates the competitive aspect and the strategy going into attempt selection, the problems with missed lifts, the triumph of achieving a lift, etc.
Let's face it. That is are a select group of guys out there who could do that and I am not aware of them working for an networks.
Hell, last night around 10 I was flipping channels and stumbled across competitive ping pong and believe it or not the announcer made it pretty interesting. The difference with a sport like golf is you have so many people on the course, staggered starts, etc. so you can switch cameras to always provide the watcher with competitive footage whereas it would be very difficult to acheive this live without a multiple platform meet or something like that.