Sorry for the long delay in getting you links. I was out at two job sites during the day, then I had to drive my mother to several locations and got home late when I thought I would get home early. Nonetheless, I’m here now and I’ll give you big megadose of links tonight.
Let’s start with USA Today where Michael Hiestand says ESPN has bought the rights to the Florida-San Francisco games both on Friday and Saturday nights to cover the Barry Bonds home run record chase.
In the Boston Globe, Nancy Marrapese-Burrell writes that the Bristol, CT-based network will have a yellow line similar to the 1 and 10 line in football coverage to cover drafting in NASCAR.
David Scott from Boston Sports Media Watch reports that former Boston Herald columnist and soon-to-be former Washington Post sports writer Howard Bryant will be moving to ESPN.
Phil Mushnick of the New York Post says there’s a silver lining to the NBA referee gambling scandal.
Neil Best from his weekly Friday Newsday column writes that former Boston Bruin and New Island GM Mike Milbury will join NBC for its NHL coverage.
From the New York Daily News, Bob Raissman says it’s getting tougher and tougher to watch baseball on TV based on his experiences with Mets games on SNY.
From the Bucks County Courier Times outside Philadelphia, Laura Nachman profiles former Eagle Mike Golic who’s been busy with ESPN Radio.
Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun says some residents of the city and surrounding areas may not be able to see Cal Ripken’s Hall of Fame induction this Sunday because it’s on ESPN Classic.
Jim Williams in the DC/Baltimore Examiner also has a blurb in his Watch This! blog that ESPN picks up two SF Giants games this weekend to chronicle Barry Bonds and that move has already paid off as Bonds hit his 754th homer in the first inning of tonight’s game.
Doug Nye in The State newspaper of Columbia, SC writes that a 30 minute local sports show on TV is practically out of the question.
From the CNBC.com Sports Biz blog, Darren Rovell says Nike has suspended Michael Vick’s endorsements and most likely has kicked him out of its thinking for good.
Barry Jackson in the Miami Herald writes that Jim Mandich is happy to be back on Miami Dolphin radio broadcasts. You may have heard his signature “Awwwright, Miami!” whenever the ‘fins score a touchdown. Mandich had been off the broadcasts for the past two seasons because he was working on a rival radio station. Now that the rights have returned to WQAM, Mandich will be back in the booth.
In the Houston Chronicle, David Barron reports that the excellent ESPN college football announcer Ron Franklin has fully recovered from a car accident back in April.
The Dallas Morning News’ Barry Horn writes extensively about the NFL Network maturing into an influential sports channel.
Let’s go to the Akron Beacon Journal where George M. Thomas writes that FSN Ohio will have two shows devoted to my beloved Cleveland Browns.
In St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Dan Caesar has a story on the war of words between Barry Bonds and Gateway City resident Bob Costas.
It’s not a real update if I don’t have something on the Big Ten Network and Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune comes through with another “BTN vs. Comcast” story.
Judd Zulgad in the Friday edition of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune writes that Twins fans are having trouble finding new flagship station KSTP at night.
Jay Posner of the San Diego Union-Tribune says Mel Proctor is the only announcer to have done play-by-play of the more significant portions of Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn, both of whom will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this Sunday.
In the North County Times, John Maffei writes that San Diegans will also have trouble just like this in Baltimore watching the HOF ceremonies on ESPN Classic. If the channel isn’t widely available, you would think that the idiots at the Alleged Worldwide Leader would put the inductions on a more widely viewed channel like, oh say, ESPN or ESPN2?
Larry Stewart has his usual two stories in the LA Times. First is about Jon Miller who could call Barry Bonds’ 756th home run. The other is a news and notes column which includes Dan Patrick’s move from ESPN Radio to the Content Factory.
Over to the LA Daily News where Tom Hoffarth is skeptical of ESPN’s new Draft Track which will be unveiled this weekend at the Brickyard 400. And in his Farther Off the Wall blog, Hoffarth does an extensive media notes column.
In the Ventura County Star, Jim Carlisle writes about Draft Track as well.
Those are your links for tonight. I’ll give weekend viewing picks soon.
Been out and about today, but I’ll give you a few links here.
The return of ESPN to NASCAR is this weekend. If you haven’t watched ESPN lately, you’re lucky not to have seen the many promos which have flooded all of the Alleged Worldwide Leader’s programs. Anyway, John Sturbin of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram looks forward to the return. Payton Towns III of the Dublin (GA) Courier Herald also looks forward to ESPN returning to NASCAR. From the Daly Planet blog which follows TV coverage of motorsports, John Daly dreads ESPN’s re-entry into the NASCAR market. Mike Mulhern of the Winston-Salem Journal says while ESPN was great for NASCAR when it covered the races in the 1980′s and 1990′s, he shares the same concerns as Daly.
And the bashing of the Alleged Worldwide Leader continues. Mario Sarmento of the Boca Raton (FL) News says ESPN is doing a big disservice to fans.
Gwen Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle writes about the town meeting ESPN conducted last night concerning Barry Bonds. John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury News says there was one voice heard loud and clear at the event.
Pierce Huff of the New Orleans Times-Picayune says Arena Football League officials are happy in its first year of a five year contract with ESPN.
Mike Cronin of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review says the not guilty plea of John Duffy of ESPN Radio in the Steel City has led to problems for another John Duffy who has also worked for ESPN Radio, Pittsburgh. Weird.
Fans of Steve Stone will get to see him back on WGN-TV again, but working on a White Sox game.
From Mark Snyder’s Big Ten blog in the Detroit Free Press, it appears the battle between the Big Ten Network and various cable and satellite companies isn’t going away anytime soon. And the Big Ten Network says the move by Echostar to classify the channel as a Regional Sports Network is a “brazen ploy”. The Columbus Dispatch looks at the 24 classic Big Ten football games that will be aired on the network. And Bryce Miller of the Des Moines Register says the Big Ten Network is looking for other events to televise, not just football and basketball.
Dusty Saunders of the Rocky Mountain News reports that Denver will get another sports radio station.
From the 38Cliches blog, LC notes that Glenn Geffner has been torturing Red Sox radio listeners for 14 straight games?????!!!!!! The prisoners at Abu Gharib weren’t subjected to that.
That’s it for now.
Time to give a few links today.
Neil Best talks about the headaches of parking at the Meadowlands now that 5,000 spaces have been lost to construction of the new Giants-Jets stadium.
Phil Mushnick continues to bash ESPN and for good reason.
SI.com’s Richard Deitsch says the David Beckham coverage on ESPN last night was excessive and almost a bust.
In the Los Angeles Daily News, media writer Tom Hoffarth says the over-the-top Beckham coverage was much ado about noting.
John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury News writes that ESPN will have a Town Hall devoted to the Barry Bonds home run chase.
Jackie Majerus of the Bristol (CT) Press says ESPN is growing so much that it’s expanding into the neighboring town of Southington, CT.
Alan Pergament of the Buffalo News talks with Tiki Barber who will be working for NBC on “Football Night in America”.
This set of links was ESPN-heavy and I’ll try to do better tomorrow. Those are your links for now.
Ok, let’s do a mini-update. I’ll do a full blown update tonight.
Let’s start with Sports Business blogger extraordinaire Darren Rovell of CNBC.com. He breaks the story of Nike actually suspending the Michael Vick shoe that was supposed to be unveiled next month, but in the wake of Vick’s indictment by the Feds and an increased investigation by the State of Virginia, Nike has had second thoughts. Yesterday, Rovell mentioned that Nike was going full speed ahead with the shoe, but this is the right move. How bad would Nike look with that shoe on the shelves and Vick on trial?
Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press reports that the Big Ten Network is taking its battle with the larger cable companies public with full page ads in newspapers along with TV and radio ads. Tom Witosky of the Des Moines Register writes that University of Iowa officials are joining the BTN in taking the battle public against Mediacom Cable. And Kyle Nagel from the Dayton Daily News says BTN is also waging a battle against Time Warner Cable in Ohio. This is a four or five front battle that the Big Ten Network is fighting. It’s not going to be easy.
We mentioned yesterday that Howard Griffith will join the Big Ten Network. He was previously the analyst for Illinois football radio broadcasts. His replacement will be Kurt Kittner who quarterbacked the team from 1998-2001.
Peter Grant of the Wall Street Journal reports that the NHL Center Ice package will be offered on the web as well as cable and DirecTV. The NHL becomes the second sports league to offer its games online. MLB has been offering its games online for quite some time.
CBS has started an initiative called “Eye-lert” which will notify viewers by via text messages on their cell phones if sporting events or breaking news will delay their favorite programs. This will come into play especially when the NFL is on. We all know how CBS’ Sunday night lineup gets delayed especially when it airs the late game at 4:15 p.m. ET.
I’m not a fan of ESPN televising high school football games. If your local cable access channel airs the game, that’s fine because it’s providing a public service for your town. However, doing a game nationally only serves ESPN and is also dangerous as kids may play to the cameras like they do in college and the NFL. Anyway, Christopher Lawlor of USA Today reports on ESPN’s schedule of high school games starting on August 25,
That’s it for now.
Cleaning up some links I didn’t have time to get to today.
The Chicago Tribune’s Teddy Greenstein talks with Jimmy DeCastro, the man who lured Dan Patrick away from ESPN Radio.
In his blog at the Houston Chronicle website, David Barron writes about colleague Richard Justice who will host a show on the newest sports radio station in the market.
Former Newsday Sports Media writer Stan Isaacs has his review of the HBO Brooklyn Dodger documentary (thanks to Isaac’s successor, Neil Best for the link).
Deadspin continues to get info on ESPN. It managed to get some of the jokes cut from Jimmy Kimmel’s opening monologue of the ESPY’s. And I don’t know how Will Leitch obtained it and I’m not questioning it, but he somehow got a hold of ESPN’s interoffice gripe session.
Even CBS News is getting into the act of criticizing ESPN. The Public Eye blog says features like “Who’s Now” show that the Alleged Worldwide Leader is in its own dog days.
You want more ESPN bashing? Here’s Ted Gay who bemoans the loss of Dan Patrick.
ESPN/ABC will televise the Breeder’s Cup Challenge, a new series of races leading up to … the Breeder’s Cup, what else? And the Challenge races will be streamed online as well.
Leaving ESPN, the Big Ten Network has hired another person from ESPN, Gerry DiNardo who worked with Dave Revsine on College Gameday on the radio side.
I’ll be back later with my review of Real Sports on HBO.
Let’s give you some Sunday links just before we head back to work on Monday.
The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir picks up Neil Best’s Newsday story on Gary Sheffield’s HBO interview that will air on Tuesday. Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News also looks at the Sheffield interview.
And in his Sunday news & notes column, Raissman says the networks should be shooting their focus on Hank Aaron in the Barry Bonds home run record chase, not Bonds.
Neil Best has a story today on the Yankees, but as the subject of many a Hollywood movie, TV show or other medium.
Phil Mushnick in the New York Post says while Fox was being nice to umpire Bruce Froemming in the All Star Game last week, the Post curmudgeon says it should have remembered an anti-Jewish slur he made four years ago.
For the first time, the WNBA has received a TV and digital rights deal. It’s with ESPN, naturally. And the Sports Media Watch blog wonders why the WNBA would sign such a deal when it basically reduces the number of appearances on ABC, a network that could help promote the league. In the AP story put forth by Forbes.com, WNBA President Donna Orender says the deal is a tremendous vote of confidence, but is it?
Devin Gordon in the latest issue of Newsweek magazine calls ESPN, the World’s Biggest Cheerleader at the risk of its news reporting operation. Ben Grossman in his blog on the Broadcasting & Cable website says he has a love-hate relationship with the Alleged Worldwide Leader. Ethan Skolnick in his blog at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, suggests a new category for the ESPY Awards tonight.
In the Dallas Morning News, Barry Horn says Big D was last of all rated markets for the All Star Game.
You remember the silly NFL policy banning video no more than 45 seconds on websites not directly affiliated with the No Fun League? Well, more attention is being focused on it and I hope this will eventually force the NFL to reverse its decision.
Jeff Elliot in the Florida Times-Union says the Jacksonville Jaguars still don’t have a local TV home for exhibition games that begin next month.
It appears that Vince Cellini has left the Golf Channel.
Lenox Rawlings of the Winston-Salem Journal says Orioles fans in North Carolina are the victims in the MASN-Time Warner Cable dispute.
I’ll be back Monday with more links. Now time to watch Entourage.
Ok, I wasn’t going to provide an update, but since I have no schedule, why not?
First, Neil Best of Newsday has found out a bit more on MLB punishing ESPN for breaking the All-Star Game announcement embargo while TBS was doing it on the official MLB show on Sunday. He got an update late Thursday afternoon and while ESPN wouldn’t own up to it, the Alleged Worldwide Leader’s reporters will not have a set inside AT&T Park as it usually does as a network partner, but reporters will have to do stand-ups or have the set outside the park. As someone who has been in the news business as a reporter, when someone tells you there’s an embargo, you don’t go and break it in the guise of breaking news. You adhere to it because you’ve been asked and so you do. This is part of ESPN’s arrogance as it thinks it’s the Sports almighty. I really think ESPN has to be knocked down a peg.
The Sports Media Watch blog suggests that with all of the Dan Patrick Leaving ESPN speculation, he might be heading to NBC to pair up with Keith Olbermann on Football Night in America. Olbermann is already joining the show to add some much needed energy. Having Patrick there would reunite him with Keithy on TV and give NBC’s show some juice. That would leave Bob Costas out in the loop, but while he’s been a very good host in MLB and the Olympics for NBC, the new Football Night in America isn’t what he’s cut out for, strangely.
Also from the Sports Media Watch blog, ESPN plans to overhype …. errrrrrrr…. promote David Beckham’s first game with the MLS’ Los Angeles Galaxy on July 21st.
Variety reports on NBC’s renewal of rights to Wimbledon, including what? Yes, digital rights. The Hollywood Reporter’s Paul Gough has his version of the story and ESPN looks like it will renew its deal as well, but nothing official as of yet.
Gough also reports on MLB’s TV partners planning for Barry Bonds’ chase of the all-time home run record.
And a very good column in the OBR or The Orange and Brown Report, which is devoted to my favorite NFL team, the Cleveland Browns, about the danger of blogs and cyberjournalists selling out, plus more on the silly NFL policy restricting independent websites to soundbites totaling no more than 45 seconds a day and not being made available for more than 24 hours. This is one of the dumbest policies I have seen, along the lines of restricting local TV stations from being on the sidelines of games recording game action for highlights on news programs. That policy was relaxed for this coming season. I’m hoping after negative media and blog backlash, this new policy will also be relaxed.
NBC Sports is busy in London with Wimbledon this week, but it’s also doing another USGA event, the U.S. Senior Open, from Wisconsin.
The New Haven (CT)Register’s David Borges has a story on NESN director Mike Narracci who does great work in calling the shots on Red Sox TV games.
We’ll have lots of Friday links in the morning. For now, enjoy the links tonight.
Time to check out some updates from today. First, I’ve been checking ESPN2′s Wimbledon coverage through it’s broadband service, ESPN360 (only available through participating Internet Service Providers). Like the French Open, the first day has been plagued by rain. Unlike the Tennis Channel, which had to rely heavily on tapes of old matches, ESPN2 didn’t go to the video of a 27 year old match until 6 hours into Day 1.
ESPN2 did have some matches to show. The network relied on studio host Chris Fowler doing play-by-play at first with studio analysts Mary Carillo and Darren Cahill along side, bouncing from court to court. Viewers were able to see Roger Federer and Andy Roddick complete their matches. Eventually, Cliff Drysdale and Mary Jo Fernandez were brought in to do a match featuring Serena Williams, however, rains came in the first set. As of this writing, the Alleged Worldwide Leader is showing the 1980 Final between John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg, but there’s only so much you can do with rain delay filler during present times. And since ESPN did not have the rights to Wimbledon in 1980, its relying on an archive tape from the BBC. The retractable roof at Wimbledon is coming not a moment too soon.
On to some links. Kurt Snyder of the Newark Advocate has a story on the Big Ten Network. He wonders if cable will eventually cave to carrying the channel. One error that I’ve noticed in this story. Snyder says the Big Ten Network has signed with DirecTV. He tries to tie them together as he says Rupert Murdoch owns both. That’s not true. Murdoch sold DirecTV to Liberty Media Corporation in exchange for more control of News Corp. of which Liberty owned a large stake.
Brian Vanotchen of the Grand Rapids Press applauds Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney for taking on the big cable companies on behalf of sports fans. I don’t know about that. Getting the Big Ten Network on the big cable companies means more revenue for the Conference. It’s all about money these days. Remember, most of the games that are going on the channel had been syndicated by ESPN Regional Television to over the air channels and various Regional Sports Networks so many fans that were getting these games for free will have to pay for them no matter what.
Can you believe Arrogant ESPN is going to put the World Series of Poker on pay per view?
Phil Swann who runs a website devoted to HDTV news says you won’t be able to see Wimbledon in Hi Def unless you live in the UK.
Thomas Hauser writes a very good article for boxing website, Seconds Out, and the focus is on the contentious contract talks between HBO and Larry Merchant. At one point, Merchant was resigned to leaving the network which had been his home over almost 30 years. When word leaked that Merchant was being replaced by charlatan Max Kellerman, HBO backtracked and signed Larry. Merchant and Kellerman will alternate World Championship Boxing bouts under the new deal. But having Kellerman on the telecasts brings a college radio feel. All Kellerman does is yell and talk for no good reason. HBO made a bad move in signing Kellerman.
The Sports Media Watch blog has three quick hits today, including news that the Tennis Channel picks up some Wimbledon coverage next year. That means it’ll have the Australian, French and Wimbledon Grand Slams in its fold. Tennis Channel owns the rights to the French outright, but will have sublease agreements from ESPN for the Aussie and Wimbledon tournaments. And there’s no news to report on the NBA TV deal today.
That’s it for now. I’ll have primetime viewing choices later.
A few more links for you today.
Media Life Magazine looks into the ratings for the U.S. Open. Writer Toni Fitzgerald says the ratings are of note because they beat even the NBA Finals.
Mediaweek has a story on ESPN.com reaching out its tentacles to include video gaming on its site.
Mediaweek also reports on the Alleged Worldwide Leader beginning its extensive Wimbledon coverage next week.
ESPN President George Bodenheimer was in Des Moines, IA today and the Des Moines Register got his comments on the Big Ten Network. Bodenheimer was diplomatic and you can tell from the story that he doesn’t want to anger a network partner.
As I look to keep this entry from being all about ESPN, I manage to find a story on Red Sox fans in Connecticut having trouble seeing their team on cable.
The Big Ten Network has announced its schedule for the first three weeks of the college football season. As many as four games will be carried at once. While DirecTV, Buckeye Cable and a few smaller operators have signed up the Big Ten Network, Comcast still remains a holdout. Just less than three months to go before the season starts and I don’t think the impasse will be eased anytime soon.
TSN in Canada has announced its schedule of 50 CFL games, some of which will be available in the United States. And for good measure, here’s the last schedule for the CFL on CBC as the free portion goes to CTV next year.
William Houston in the Toronto Globe and Mail has more on Brett Hull leaving NBC. Apparently Hull took a job with the Dallas Stars preventing him from commenting on games for the network, but still, you can be assured that NBC is happy to see him leave.
If you’re a gearhead, then you knew this was bound to happen. TNT will have Kyle Petty provide analysis from inside his car, however, it will be while the race is under caution at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 this Sunday.
I’ll have primetime viewing choices coming up soon.
Nice to have a weekend free of Paris Hilton news. And as I was ramping up for the finale of The Sopranos, I stayed away from the computer for the most part. One place I do endorse is Wright’s Farm in northern Rhode Island. Great all you can eat chicken as well as pasta, french fries and salad. Went there with a bunch of friends Saturday night and the eating was excellent. Totally enjoyed the evening.
And I left my radio on WEEI-FM so I had to listen to John Dennis of Dennis & Callahan scream about The Sopranos finale. I don’t need to hear yelling at 6 a.m. so I turned the station to WBRU and thankfully, there was music and no talk of the finale. And when I last tuned to the station before I came to work, I heard Dennis talking about the show. Come on, guy, four hours talking about a TV show is a bit much.
Ok, let’s do the weekend sports links first, then we’ll move onto the links about The Sopranos.
USA Today’s Michael Hiestand has a few bits and pieces today. His most noticeable story was on ESPN having people vote for various athletes. Hiestand writes:
The point, says (ESPN senior coordinating producer Glenn) Jacobs, is to select 32 famous active athletes, seed them and put them in tournament-like brackets. Each day, one will be eliminated — based on verdicts from ESPN judges and viewer voting online and via text messages — in head-to-head matchups. The last one left will be deemed the “Ultimate Sports Star.”
This sounds like more Arrogant ESPN to me. Will anyone care? And Hiestand notes that HBO’s Larry Merchant has signed a new deal, but won’t be working every big fight for the network. Charlatan Max Kellerman will work in his place on some fights and those telecasts will be ones to miss.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times notices that teams and stadium owners have been moving press boxes to locations where reporters can barely see the action. A lot of that has been for financial reasons.
From his Sunday column, Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News writes that the search for Don Imus’ successor has been a failure and CBS Radio should bite the bullet and invite him back. No.
In his blog in Newsday, Neil Best has his take on The Sopranos finale.
John Altavilla of the Hartford Courant discusses ESPN’s attempt to save the UConn-Tennessee women’s college basketball series. The two schools had been playing every year since 1995, but for some unknown reason, Tennessee ended the series last week.
You knew when the Big Ten announced plans for a cable channel of its own, other conferences would follow suit. Now comes word that the SEC is making plans for its own channel.
Steve Simmons of the Edmonton Sun wonders why the ratings for sporting events other than the NFL are going down.
Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has one more story on the NHL ratings.
Alan Pergament of the Buffalo News says the NBA is not burning up TV sets in his city.
Brian Vanochten of the Grand Rapids Press has his take on the NFL Broadcast Boot Camp which takes place this month.
Now your Sopranos links. They’re pretty brutal for the most part.
Linda Stasi of the New York Post gave the finale three out of four stars, but calls the last scene, “disappointing”.
The New York Daily News’ David Bianculli says he could be angrier at the finale, but isn’t. Nonetheless, he’s still disappointed.
In the Boston Herald, Mark Perigard calls the last episode “the worst series finale ever.” Get a life, Mark.
But the crosstown Globe’s Matthew Gilbert says the finale was thought provoking.
Members of the cast were at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Florida watching the final episode.
While other cast members were at the HBO HQ’s in New York where TV Guide caught up with them.
Robert Bianco of USA Today says series Executive Producer David Chase ended the show his way.
And that’s it for now.
Time to go across the country and get the links from TV/Radio Sports columnists on this busy Friday. And it’s a good sport viewing weekend including the NBA Finals, Interleague MLB play, NASCAR debuts on TNT, the French Open Finals and a whole host of other events.
Let’s start with Michael Hiestand of USA Today. Last night marked the first time the NBA Finals were seen on multiple platforms, ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPN Classic, ESPNU, ESPN360, ESPN.com, etc., etc., etc. This was overkill to the max by the Alleged Worldwide Leader. Hiestand calls these multiple airings, “roadblocks” as a way to promote synergy and this isn’t limited to ESPN. NBC gets involved next week in a big way with the US Open golf tournament. It’s a novelty at first, but it has the potential to be very annoying if this is done too much.
To my native New England region and Dave Scott from Boston Sports Media Watch. He blogs about the effort to unionize at NESN, Bob Ryan’s new show at said NESN, plus Comcast taking over Fox Sports Net New England.
Susan Bickelhaupt of the Boston Globe gives an update on two well-known Boston sports personalities, Gerry Callahan, part of the Dennis & Callahan morning team on WEEI, and Bob Lobel, long time sports anchor at WBZ-TV. Both have been ailing of late. Callahan had polyps removed from his throat and Lobel underwent back surgery. Both have been away from their jobs for a prolonged period of time.
Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News says the idea of MLB Commish Bud Selig ordering Yankee Jason Giambi to talk to George Mitchell in the steroids investigation is nothing more than a dog and pony show.
The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson talks to two men who lost their broadcasting jobs over remarks they said. Lamar Thomas who’s notorious comments during the Miami-Florida International University got him canned from Comcast, and Steve Lyons who lost his gig on Fox after making a comment during the NLCS.
Dave Darling of the Orlando Sentinel has a column stating that the NBA needs to have good ratings from the Cleveland-San Antonio finals, especially with LeBron James as the focus.
In Chicago, Teddy Greenstein gives his picks for weekend viewing.
Dave Barron of the Houston Chronicle says ESPN would like to have Jeff Van Gundy do more work on NBA games next season.
John Maffei of the North County Times (kind of strange to call it that when it’s located just north of San Diego, in Southern California, but that’s me) has a long news and notes column today. He talks mostly about college baseball not being too conducive for television.
As usual, Larry Stewart of the LA Times has two stories on Fridays. His first story focuses on Johnny Miller who will be front and center next week during NBC’s coverage of the US Open. Stewart’s other story looks at the Ruffian movie and the legal problems that surfaced this week.
Those are the links for now. More later as they warrant.
I wasn’t going to write anything tonight. I was just going to let the 100 posts this month lie and start the new month on Friday fresh, but I had to add one more after watching the Spelling Bee tonight on ABC.
First, I wish someone would take the TV rights away from ESPN which treats this like a sporting event. Yes, it’s a competition, but is it right to have Stuart Scott and Mike & Mike of ESPN Radio there? There was Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts and an analyst whose name escapes me right now. From the way Mike & Mike were talking this week, I thought they were going to the main hosts, but instead, they were just making side comments and I believe they were on just four or five times during the primetime session. I don’t know if they had a bigger role during the afternoon session which whittled down the contestants to 13 finalists. But I don’t think even Mike & Mike thought they deserved to be at the Spelling Bee. What qualifications they have to be there, I’m not quite sure and I know Golic felt he didn’t belong.
Second, there’s no way that the Bee should be going until 10 at night on the East Coast. These kids should not be up late and should be in bed. Many were tired and one kid, Matthew Evans had bags under his eyes. That’s not right for a young kid.
Third, take the mic away from Stuart Scott. The winner, Evan O’Dorney, from California dissed the competition saying he preferred music and math to the Spelling Bee. If you saw the broadcast, or read Darren Rovell’s handicapping of the Bee at CNBC.com, you found out that Evan likes to write piano concertos and solve difficult math problems. Yet, Stu-Stu-Studio kept pressing Evan to say he now liked the Spelling Bee. Evan snapped, “You want me to say I like it because I won?” It made the audience at the Bee laugh, but Evan eventually accommodated Scott with “I guess I like it a little.” Come on, Stuart, give the kid some slack.
It’s nice to see the future of America will be in the hands of these bright kids. Some will become doctors, lawyers, teachers, maybe even the pastor of a church, but let’s not put the pressure of the TV lights on them. I saw a couple of kids mug for the camera. That’s not right. The Bee itself is pressure enough. Allow the kids to be kids, not make them be spectacles for the viewing audience.
Well, I’m still recovering from the cancellation of Jericho. Maybe another network can pick it up because the story needs to be told. I know, it’s a TV show, but I really got into it this season. I hate it when a good show is canceled for no good reason.
Ok, let’s go to the links.
ESPN made a few announcements yesterday as it held its own upfront yesterday. Among them, a new primetime magazine called ESPN Reports which will involve veteran reporters Jeremy Schaap, Lisa Salters and Rachel Nichols. According to ESPN, the show won’t involve 15-20 minute pieces synonymous with “60 Minutes” and “Real Sports”, but be a fast-paced magazine.
In addition, ESPN’s SportsCenter Minute will be brought over to ABC when sports programming is on the network.
Michael Hiestand of USA Today pokes fun at ESPN’s new programming.
There are other features that ESPN will offer this fall and Boston Sports Media Watch has the details.
To be honest, I like the ESPN Reports idea. More sports journalism is good. The SportsCenter Minute on ABC is good. But the over the top, over promotion of “This is SportsCenter 300″, the hype for ESPN’s SportsCenter ad campaign is too much. ESPN is all about self-serving promotion, of course.
Continuing on ESPN, the sports behemoth plans to televise the minor league starts of New York Yankee Roger Clemens. According to New York Newsday, the network will only televise the games as long as Clemens is in the game. When he’s pulled, the network will dump out of the game.
And remember Mobile ESPN which sunk like a fallen rocket? Well, ESPN is trying again, but instead of making it a standalone service, it’ll be called ESPN MVP and be made as part of Verizon Wireless. Subscribers can choose to download the ESPN MVP platform.
We’re finally going away from ESPN in this morning’s links. The Big Ten Network launches this fall and will televise a bunch of sports from the conference. But like the NFL Network, it’s having a tough time picking up major cable companies. The channel will be on DirecTV and on smaller cable systems, but TimeWarner and Comcast have not signed up.
Here’s the broadcast schedule for NBC Sports over the next two months.
Over to the network upfronts, CBS will do its presentation today. Gary Levin of USA Today reviews the new shows for the fall.
TV Guide has the update on the CBS fall schedule.
Mark Burnett is pissed that The Apprentice wasn’t picked up by NBC.
Michael Ausiello has his weekly Ask Ausiello column on TVGuide.com.
I like the idea of ESPN having an Ombudsman, but the idea of the Ombudsman is to give constructive criticism. Lee Ann Schreiber took over for George Solomon a couple of months ago and from her most recent column, I hope she stays at her position for a while. She calls out ESPN for giving too much credence to certain sports for which the network pays rights fees in favor of hockey which it doesn’t televise. And as a good Ombudsman, she points out certain conflicts of interests including sponsored segments in SportsCenter.
And she writes that ESPN has the perception of a monolith among sports fans:
A problem remains. ESPN may not be a monolith, but it often appears to be one. Especially when launching new endeavors like Arena Football or NASCAR or Major League Soccer, someone at ESPN, perhaps everyone at ESPN, should be aware of the appearance of overzealous promotion. Synergy can backfire. Wooing us with a new sport is fine, but when you flood the zone all at once on all platforms, at least some of us will feel stalked.
When George Solomon left, I was hoping they would replace him with a strong, independent voice and apparently, Schreiber is doing that quite well. Let’s hope her future columns are as good as her most recent.
To show how arrogant ESPN has become, the 2,000 lb. all-sports gorilla is reaching out to gas stations so filling up your tank will be brought to you by SportsCenter. This story by Michael Hiestand of USA Today shows that ESPN is coming to a pump near you. But what if you don’t want to know about a game that you’re Tivo’ing? Or you don’t want to know about your fantasy team until you get home? You’re going to have to find a way to block out the info.
20 inch TV’s, in Hi-Def! What if it’s raining? According to an ESPN Spokesman quoted in the story: “This will be a lot more fun than just standing there washing your windshield.” Shut up.