Wednesday, August 16, 2006

CHANGES IN NFL TV

NBC'S SUNDAY NIGHT SERIES LOOKS JUST LIKE ABC

We've had a chance now to sample some of the new NFL TV efforts by the networks; they've all had a chance to show some of their pre-season telecasts by now.

All I will say about NBC's Sunday Night Football is--- isn't this supposed to be called Monday Night Football?! I mean, it looks like Monday Night Football, sounds like Monday Night Football--- but it isn't.

And there's good reason for the similarity; not only are Al Michaels and John Madden still calling the games, like they did on ABC, but they have the same ABC producers and crew. In fact, that's the main reason Al jumped over to NBC, because he knew that NBC lured pretty much the entire Monday Night Football crew over to their network. So it looks EXACTLY like an old ABC Monday Night Football telecast, right down to the camera angles.

I tuned in to the Cincinnati/Washington game on Sunday night on my tiny sports TV and I could have sworn I was watching a game on ABC--- except they kept on showing this strange-looking peacock logo. The commercials, though, were pretty much the same-- but fortunately, no more promos for Desperate Housewives. Plus, NBC has a pregame show featuring Bob Costas, Cris Collinsworth and Jerome Bettis so that's somewhat different, now, too. But really, it's a case of same broadcast, new night and network, for NBC's Sunday Night Football.

CHANGES AT ESPN

As for ESPN and their Monday Night Football, the buzz is about one man: Tony Kornheiser. He's the brand new face on the football scene and ESPN is hoping he becomes the next Cosell. Other than that, mixed reviews. Mike Tirico will take some getting used to. And nobody has gotten used to Joe Theismann.

What ESPN has got to do is make their broadcast a little bit irreverent and outrageous. That's what made Monday Night Football such a hit on ABC, and it's ESPN's only hope. The word is out that people consider Monday to be a "throwaway" night now for the NFL, not a showcase like the old days. And they have steep cable competition with WWE wrestling on USA. (There's also hockey on TV somewhere, too, on OLN, but nobody cares about that.) ESPN has got to find a way to make these broadcasts interesting, otherwise it will be just like the old ESPN Sunday Night telecasts that were a big joke-- it'll become a series no one cares about.

Of course, the real reason that series was such a clunker had nothing to do with the production values or any of that. It was because they showed so many lousy games involving nothing teams, and the fear is this year Mondays will be the same thing. The fear is ESPN will end up stuck with late-season games involving teams who have nothing to play for. These announcers will have their work cut out for them.

CHANGES AT FOX SPORTS

The big news at FOX is that they have finally found a replacement for James Brown, who has departed to CBS to host their pregame show. The new host of the pregame show is none other than... Joe Buck!

But Joe already calls games, doesn't he? He can't host and call games at the same time! I dunno what the deal is with that.I thought maybe they were going to take the pregame show on the road to whereever Joe is, that's the only way this arrangement could possibly work. And in fact that's exactly what they are going to do: they are going to take the pregame show out of the studio and on the road to wherever Joe Buck is calling a big game---- Dallas, Washington, St. Louis, whereever---and do the Hollywood Hotel thing that they do with their well-produced NASCAR pre-and-post race shows.

If they were going to do this cross-country routine all along, though, why the heck didn't they offer this same arrangement to James Brown?! Brown's excuse for leaving FOX to go to CBS was that he didn't want to have to fly all the way to Los Angeles from D.C. all the time to do the pregame show! But now these fools are leaving LA anyway. What nonsense. Joe Buck is great, but these folks at FOX blew it by handing over James Brown to the competition.

And just today comes word that FOX has dumped Jillian Barberie as the weather woman of the show. Thank God.

It's obvious to me that people are completely fed up watching her; she is not funny and definitely isn't sexy. So many of the shows she's worked on have been cancelled! I read these TV boards and it's obvious a lot of people think she's a fool, and that Frank Caliendo is an even bigger idiot. Basically, they think the entire FOX pre-game show is full of jokers and that the show will completely go into the tank without James Brown. Jillian basically adds nothing to the show.

The word is out that the fans don't want to see any more "hot babes" who know nothing about football on these pre-game shows or on the sidelines. That's why so many of these "lookers" have gotten taken off these NFL broadcasts lately. The fans don't want to see Jillian, or Lisa Guerrero or any of these women who deserve to be stuck on XFL games (R.I.P. XFL)! They want people who know something about the game, whether it's Suzy Kolber or Pam Oliver or whomever. They're serious about football, these fans; that's what they want to see! That's the reason I can think of why Andrea Kremer is doing the sidelines on NBC; she may not be a glamorous personality but she sure knows something about football.

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