Time to provide some sports media thoughts as we begin another workweek. Of course, they will be in bullet form.
- What was once the place for sports networks to convene to put pressure on cable has suddenly become the place to hold out. DirecTV was once the provider to pick up sports networks before anyone else. It was one of the first providers in the country to pick up NFL Network, the Big Ten Network, the mtn., CBS Sports Network (when it was known as CSTV then CBS College Sports), Outdoor Life Network and others. Now, it has become a holdout like Time Warner Cable which was the last major cable provider to pick up NFL Network and still refuses to carry MASN in North Carolina.
Now, DirecTV has refused to pick up the Pac-12 Networks and Time Warner SportsNet citing fiscal responsibility. It has not talked with the Pac-12 lately and has no new talks scheduled for Time Warner, thus preventing West Coast fans from seeing college sports and the Los Angeles Lakers. DirecTV says it does not want to pick up all of the Pac-12 Networks (it has seven overall) and wants to charge an extra fee for anyone who wants to watch it. And the satellite provider is balking at Time Warner’s price per subscriber ($3.95) for the Lakers channel.
DirecTV appears to have drawn its line in the sand. The Athletic Director at Cal-Berkeley changed her TV subscription from DirecTV to Comcast so she can watch Pac-12 Network and the Lakers training facility changed its subscription from DirecTV to Time Warner Cable as ESPN LA’s Arash Markazi tweeted on Sunday.
Not a great sign that the Lakers’ practice facility switched to TWC from DirecTV this week. They probably wouldn’t if a deal was imminent.
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 4, 2012
So whenever DirecTV decides to pick either or both of the channels, it could very well be at its own terms.
Joe Flint of the Los Angeles Times reports that Cox Cable is the latest to agree to carry Time Warner SportsNet’s English and Spanish channels. It leaves DirecTV and Dish as the last remaining holdouts and of those two, only DirecTV would probably pick up TWSN as Dish has not been willing to carry sports networks as freely as DirecTV.
- NFL Network’s A Football Life has scored touchdowns in each and all of its episodes this season. From the season premiere on Ray Lewis to the look at the final year of the Cleveland Browns 1.0 to the Los Angeles Rams Fearsome Foursome to the latest edition on Chris Spielman, the documentaries from NFL Films have been of high quality. This all began last year when it spent one season with Patriots coach Bill Belichick and showed viewers some humanity behind the man inside the hoodie.
The access NFL Films has received with each of its subjects, plus the archival footage it has culled through its own library or through news footage or personal home movies, A Football Life has become appointment viewing. The next one on coach Jimmy Johnson during his Dallas years should prove to be quite compelling television.
- There’s been 10 weeks of the college football season and I can now provide a review of the Fox College Saturday pregame show. I’ve been waiting for improvement since Week 2 (Week 1 was pre-empted in most of the country by a Fox Saturday Baseball overrun), but it hasn’t been there. Erin Andrews is not suited to be a studio host. She’s been better on the sidelines, although the MLB Postseason in October wasn’t her best work.
There is no chemistry between Erin and analysts Eddie George and Joey Harrington. They struggle to get through highlights and there’s doesn’t appear to be any real energy. Oddly, when Patrick O’Neal is teamed with George and Harrington on FX, they have much better chemistry and energy.
I have a feeling Fox will try this studio team for one more season before making any changes. Fox has too much money invested in Andrews to take her off the show after one season, however, the show remains a train wreck.
- Heard Friend of Fang’s Bites, Jen Royle on WEEI in Boston auditioning last week to become the update anchor for the station’s morning show, Dennis & Callahan. I felt she had the best chemistry among all those trying out. Here’s hoping she gets a gig out of it.
- I wish there was a way to get KT Tunstall’s “Suddenly I See” off ads and TV shows. This song is the bane of my existence. And as it was pointed out on the old “Best Week Ever” on VH1 that it was overused on a slew of ABC’s shows as a female empowerment song in 2006. And don’t ask me why I can remember these references off the top of my head.
As I digress, if the song can be removed from commercials and movies, it would make me very happy.
Ok, I’m done.