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Author Topic:   ESPN Monday Night Football
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posted February 09, 2006 02:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for HollywoodProducer   Click Here to Email HollywoodProducer     Edit/Delete Message
Michaels traded from ABC to NBC for a cartoon bunny

By RONALD BLUM, AP Sports Writer
February 9, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) -- Al Michaels was traded from ABC to NBC for a cartoon bunny, four rounds of golf and Olympic highlights.

The rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a bunny created by Walt Disney in the 1920s before he invented Mickey Mouse, were transferred from NBC Universal to The Walt Disney Co. as part of the agreement to release the broadcaster from his contract with ABC and ESPN.

"As the forerunner to Mickey Mouse and an important part of Walt Disney's creative legacy, the fun and mischievous Oswald is back where he belongs, at the home of his creator and among the stable of beloved characters created by Walt himself," Disney president Robert Iger said after Thursday's announcement.

Michaels had been with ABC for three decades and had been the play-by-play announcer for "Monday Night Football" for the past 20 years.

"Oswald is definitely worth more than a fourth-round draft choice," Michaels said, referring to what the Kansas City Chiefs gave the New York Jets as compensation for releasing coach Herm Edwards from his contract. "I'm going to be a trivia answer someday."

A four-time Emmy Award winner, Michaels agreed last July to stay with ABC/ESPN as the Monday game switched to the cable network next fall, but he asked to back out and instead will broadcast Sunday night NFL games on NBC with John Madden, his partner on ABC during the past four seasons.

As part of the deal, NBC sold ESPN cable rights to Friday coverage of the next four Ryder Cups through 2014, and granted ESPN increased usage of Olympic highlights through 2012 and other NBC properties through 2011. NBC, in turn, gets expanded highlight rights to ABC and ESPN events.

NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol said ABC Sports and ESPN president George Bodenheimer called last month to initiate talks, which culminated in an agreement Tuesday.

"He told me this incredible story that Walt's first really big production as a cartoonist for the cinema had been a character called Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, which was before Mickey," Ebersol said. "And for reasons that aren't still totally clear to me, Walt lost those rights. He didn't have the money to hold onto them."

Disney and his partner, Ub Iwerks, created the rabbit in 1927 at the request of Carl Laemmle, the founder of Universal Pictures, and made 26 silent cartoons. After Disney learned that Universal held the rights, he created a new character, eventually named Mickey Mouse, who resembled Oswald, but with shorter ears.

Universal continued to make Oswald films from 1929-38 -- Mickey Rooney was one of his voices -- and appeared in a comic book from 1943-62.

"We earn nothing from those rights; they've had no value in the United States," Ebersol said.

The Walt Disney Co. had been trying to reacquire the rabbit for some time.

"When Bob was named CEO, he told me he wanted to bring Oswald back to Disney, and I appreciate that he is a man of his word," Walt Disney's daughter Diane Disney Miller said in a statement. "Having Oswald around again is going to be a lot of fun."

Michaels, 61, began to think about hopping networks during the past season, realizing he wanted to work with Madden, producer Fred Gaudelli and director Drew Esocoff, who also are moving from ABC to NBC.

"As the weeks went on, I began to realize more and more how much I was going to miss being with those people," he said. "That's my family, that's my broadcasting family, and they're moving out of the house, and I wanted to move back in with them."

Cris Collinsworth, who had been set to be NBC's play-by-play broadcaster, will instead be a studio analyst.

Michaels wanted to finish the current NBA season as ABC/ESPN's lead announcer. He is being replaced by Mike Breen.

Michaels' first television broadcast was on NBC, when Buffalo played Minnesota in October 1971. He'll get a chance to work with his brother, who a producer of NBC's Olympic coverage.

"Life comes full circle," Michaels said.

AP Business Writer Gary Gentile in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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posted July 21, 2006 12:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for N F S I 2   Click Here to Email N F S I 2     Edit/Delete Message
ESPN Mobile Pronounced DOA by Analysts

It's only six months old, but already analysts are called ESPN's mobile service a bust. Merrill Lynch & Co. entertainment analyst Jessica Reif Cohen, who had once estimated that the service would attract 240,000 by year's end, now figures that it will only draw 30,000. She estimated that it will cost the company about $80 million this year. (That's a loss of $2,700 per customer.) The service delivers scores, sports news and video clips from the sports channel to customers of Sprint/Nextel with compatible cellular handsets.

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posted August 01, 2006 09:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
ESPN Charges Net Providers For Right to Offer Broadband Web Site

August 1, 2006; Page B2

When it comes to watching video on the Web, some companies charge consumers for access. Others offer it free. Then there is ESPN.

In an unusual approach, Walt Disney Co.'s sports-cable titan is charging Internet-service providers for the right to offer its broadband Web site, ESPN360. The site offers full-length live sports and interviews, highlight clips and videogames -- more than ESPN offers on its ad-supported site, ESPN.com1, although offers certain events on a pay-per-view basis.

ESPN's charge-the-provider model has its roots in the cable-television world, where cable channels charge cable or satellite operators for the right to carry their programming. But it is a revolutionary approach for the Internet, where commercial Web sites are generally available to any consumers -- sometimes free, sometimes not -- regardless of which Internet service they use.

So far, however, ESPN has yet to show the model can work on the Internet. Only a few big Internet providers -- such as Verizon Communications Inc. and Charter Communications Inc. -- have signed up to offer ESPN360. The biggest Internet providers, such as cable operators Comcast Corp., Cox Communications Inc. and Time Warner Inc., are refusing.

"We do not like the current business model that ESPN is using for ESPN360," said Scott Hightower, vice president of data product development and support at Cox Communications. He said the ESPN360 model would force Cox to saddle its customers with unnecessary costs, because they will inadvertently be paying for a service they may not want when they sign up for broadband.

Adelphia Communications had carried ESPN360, but the company is being carved up by Time Warner and Comcast. A spokeswoman for Time Warner said the company will immediately discontinue access to ESPN360 for former Adelphia Communications customers. A Comcast spokeswoman said the company hasn't reached an agreement to carry ESPN360 yet.

Verizon, however, sees ESPN360 as a way to distinguish itself from competitors. "It is sort of like an arms race" right now in the video-online world, said Bill Heilig, Verizon's executive director for portal and content services. Mr. Heilig said being able to offer clients access to ESPN360's exclusive live World Cup coverage, for example, gave Verizon another weapon toward winning more customers.

But it may be what isn't on ESPN360 that is weakening the site's prospects of winning more customers. On television, ESPN airs shows such as "SportsCenter" and has exclusive rights to an array of sports, from Monday Night Football to the World Series of Poker. But ESPN doesn't have the rights to air some programming on the Web.

ESPN cross-brands its ESPN360 broadband site with Internet-service providers such as Verizon, but it also charges them to carry the sports-video service.
"SportsCenter" isn't on ESPN360, for instance, because the show includes a large variety of news and highlight clips, not all of which ESPN can use on the Web. ESPN can't run the same baseball games on the Web as it has on television because Major League Baseball has created, offering live streaming of baseball games.

John Skipper, executive vice president of ESPN Content, said the Web site has live-streaming rights to the "majority of events we have TV rights to," including NCAA basketball, football, lacrosse and the Indy Racing League. ESPN360 can stream footage of a game in progress, but not necessarily archive the video for later viewing.

Some cable executives said video piracy undercuts whatever exclusivity ESPN may have on programming. Shortly after Zinédine Zidane's head butt in the World Cup final, for instance, the footage was available on the YouTube Web site -- even though it was exclusive to ESPN360 in the U.S.

Internet services and content companies can "create deals that look exclusive," said Sam Howe, chief marketing officer for Time Warner Cable, "but at the end of the day you can find stuff just about anywhere."

Mr. Skipper said Internet providers' gripes about paying for ESPN360 has been about "simply paying someone for content in the first place," not because "consumers can get clips other places." He adds that "we would be smart to pay attention" to YouTube's popularity, but believes people will keep coming to and ESPN360 for news analysis, quality control and an editorial voice, while "YouTube doesn't do anything. It's software."

Write to Sarah Nassauer at

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posted August 11, 2006 02:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for N F S I 2   Click Here to Email N F S I 2     Edit/Delete Message
Goodbye, ABC Sports; It's All ESPN Now

Almost no one has any idea what the initials ESPN stand for (it's Entertainment & Sports Programming Network), but just about everyone knows what it means -- sports on TV. For that reason, apparently, ABC has decided to drop its own identification with the sports programs that it airs and substitute the ESPN brand beginning Sept. 2. "We believe that by expanding the ESPN brand to the ABC television network ... we'll be able to serve fans better," ESPN/ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer told the Hollywood Reporter Thursday. Several analysts regarded the move as the destruction of the house that former ABC Chairman Roone Arledge built with Monday Night Football and Wide World of Sports. "My heart just weeps for Roone's legacy," Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports, told today's (Friday) New York Times. Another critic was longtime ABC sportscaster Keith Jackson, who commented to the Times: "A lot of people worked to make ABC what it was, and they deserve more than to have their legacy callously tossed aside." But Frank Gifford, who replaced Jackson on MNF in 1971, remarked, "The tail took over the dog. ... The tail outgrew the dog. The world has changed."

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posted September 13, 2006 12:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message
ESPN Touts Its Best Day Ever

ESPN claimed Tuesday that its takeover of Monday Night Football produced its biggest audience ever -- some 9.1 million viewers. ESPN also noted that it was the second biggest audience ever to watch a cable telecast. Nevertheless, today's (Wednesday) New York Times observed that the telecast produced "noticeably fewer viewers" than previous NFL telecasts on ABC television -- off 36 percent from the season opener of ABC's Monday Night Football last year. USA Today observed that the telecast drew fewer viewers than ABC's concluding episode of The Path to 9/11 miniseries, which was watched by 12.3 million people.

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posted September 25, 2006 01:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for N F S I 2   Click Here to Email N F S I 2     Edit/Delete Message
MNF gives distraction from Katrina losses
Saints-Falcons in restored Superdome takes on a larger meaning for city
The Associated Press

Updated: 6:39 a.m. PT Sept 25, 2006
NEW ORLEANS - Brian McGowan never hesitated when it came time to renew his New Orleans Saints tickets.

On Monday night, he gets to use them when the Saints reopen the Superdome with a game against Atlanta that’s got all the trappings of a Super Bowl one year after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city.

Along with his wife and two sons, McGowan is still living in Dallas. The government trailer they’ve been waiting on for months has yet to materialize, and they’re only now starting to rebuild their home. Their close-knit family is strewn across the country — some in Phoenix, some in Baltimore, only one sibling in New Orleans.

“I said, ’Brian, we lost everything we had. We have nothing. We’re fighting with the insurance company and FEMA, and you’re going to spend money we don’t have to hold onto these tickets?”’ LaChandra McGowan recalled.

“He said, ’That’s all I have left and I won’t let them go. We’ll put it on a credit card, we’ll do whatever it takes. I won’t let them go.”’

Sure enough, the McGowans were back in New Orleans on Sunday. Their trip will be brief, time enough to see some family and friends and the Saints’ triumphant return home. But their presence — and that of thousands others like them — is as much a testament to the loyalty of Saints fans as to the resilience of the city itself.

On Monday night, the musical group U2 will perform and the first President Bush will make an appearance. The game will be a celebration of one of the country’s most unique cities, and the people who call it home.

“It’s the beginning for New Orleans to come alive again,” said Beverly Broussard, a season-ticket holder who has been making the three-hour trip from Mamou, La., for years now. “It’s a celebration of life, back in our city.”

New Orleans has always had a unique — albeit complicated — relationship with the Saints. The team has been dismal for most of its existence, not finishing with a winning record until 1987 and managing it only six times since then. Legend has it that the tradition of embarrassed fans donning paper bags began here, and the team was often derided as the “Aints.”

But much like Green Bay and its beloved Packers, the Saints are considered family in New Orleans. You may not like them much sometimes, but they’re yours and the only one you’ve got.

Fans filled the dome year after year, and the city’s mood rose and fell with the team’s won-loss record. Monica Ramsey took her devotion one step further, decorating her kitchen with Saints wallpaper, curtains and a rug, and topping it all off with a black and gold ceiling fan.

“We like our little team,” said Larry Broussard, Ramsey’s father.

Which made last year’s hardships all the more difficult. Residents who were evacuated scoured their “new” cities for sports bars that showed Saints games. Some couldn’t always get the games, and had to be content with highlights here and there. Fans living outside New Orleans missed the routine they’d settled into over the years.

Tom Lambert, a New Orleans native who now lives in Tampa, has been making the 20-hour round trip for Saints home games for years. But the closest he got last season was watching on television with the half-dozen relatives who took shelter in his house.

“It was kind of odd,” he said.

Even those who got to see the Saints play in person said it didn’t feel quite right. Chased out of New Orleans like most residents when Katrina struck on Aug. 29, 2005, the nomadic Saints played “home” games in Baton Rouge, San Antonio and New York.

“It was a little hard. I went to games in Baton Rouge, but it wasn’t the same,” said Kris Trahan, a season-ticket holder from New Orleans who was already wearing his Saints T-shirt on Sunday. “You’ve got to be in the dome.”

Added Ramsey, “The dome is just home for us. It’s where we belong.”

So when the Saints announced they were coming home to New Orleans this season, their fans responded with an unprecedented show of loyalty.

Though the city’s population is about half of what it was pre-Katrina and many residents are still trying to put their lives back together, the team sold out the dome for the entire regular-season schedule. More impressive, all of those seats were bought as season tickets, meaning there are no single-game tickets available.

Seats were so hard to come by, the McGowans bought a season ticket for their son Brian Jr., who turned 8 on Sunday and asked to see the Saints as his present.

“New Orleans is my home,” Brian Sr. said when asked to explain his family’s ties to the team. “And I’m really anticipating coming back.”

Some fans bought Saints tickets simply to give a beleaguered city a boost.

Though Wade and Sherri Adams had always followed the Saints, their home in Gulf Shores, Ala., is about 3½ hours away from New Orleans. But they’ve had enough close calls with hurricanes — a tree fell on their daughter’s bedroom during Hurricane Danny in 1997 — to know how devastating the storms can be.

When the team announced it would return to New Orleans, the couple bought eight Saints season tickets.

“We could afford to, and it needed to be done. We wanted to support the city,” Wade Adams said. “We will probably be lifelong season-ticket holders from here on.”

As people like the McGowans, Ramseys, Broussards can tell him, the team has a way of getting in fans’ blood. Fans dressed in black and gold wandered downtown, where banners reading, “Our Home. Our Team. Be A Saint,” lined the streets. There was a festive mood rarely seen in the past year.

Some neighborhoods may still be deserted, the recovery is moving slowly and it will be years before the city is fully on its feet again. But on this weekend — and seven others after it — it was like old times in New Orleans again.

“It’s very exciting,” Lambert said. “I’ve been waiting all year for this.”

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posted September 27, 2006 02:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message
ESPN Scores Another Monday Touchdown

If cable and broadcast ratings were combined, ESPN would have been the highest-rated network Monday night as the New Orleans Saints' victory over the Atlanta Falcons drew 14.99 million viewers, slightly less than the 15.6 million NBC attracted for Sunday Night Football a night earlier, according to Nielsen Research. Ratings for cable programs are released at least a day after those for broadcast programs. ESPN can be seen in only 83 percent of U.S. households.

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posted October 02, 2006 09:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message
Former ESPN Commentator: ESPN Is "A Monopoly"

Kansas City Star columnist Jason Whitlock, fired last week as an ESPN commentator after calling fellow ESPN commentator Mike Lupica "an insecure, mean-spirited busybody" and columnist Scoop Jackson "a clown, " refused to back away from his criticism when he appeared on CNN's Reliable Sources on Sunday. "I can't say I did not want to be dumped, but I knew the ramifications and knew what could happen. I'm not that surprised. ESPN is very thin-skinned, " Whitlock said. He then went on to underline his criticism of ESPN itself. "It's a monopoly. It's the most powerful sports entity, I think, in America, but it's not properly covered by the American media because too many of us are in bed with ESPN."

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posted October 11, 2006 01:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message
NFL Football Play One for the (Ratings) Books

The decision to move the NFL's NBC telecasts to Sunday night and its ESPN telecasts to Monday night has resulted in improved ratings all around. Even though the Sunday telecasts are being beaten by some of the competition -- something that rarely occurred in the case of ABC's Monday Night Football -- NBC is drawing significantly larger audiences than MNF did a year ago. Meanwhile, ESPN is often beating the broadcast networks on Monday nights, even though nearly 20 percent of the country is still not hooked up to cable TV. It is currently averaging 12.9 million viewers each week, 36 percent more than the average for its Sunday-night telecasts during the first five weeks of the season last year.

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posted November 01, 2006 02:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH FALL INTERN   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH FALL INTERN     Edit/Delete Message
ESPN Overwhelms Rivals

The top five cable broadcasts during the month of October were all ESPN Monday Night Football telecasts, according to Nielsen Research. The top-rated cable show of the month was the Oct. 23 New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys game, which averaged 16 million viewers in primetime, a record for the network and for cable television as a whole. The NFL games also put ESPN far ahead of its cable competitors with an average of 3.54 million viewers in primetime during the month versus 2.43 million for second-place USA Network.

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posted November 15, 2006 12:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
Why I hate 'Monday Night Football'

Sure, ESPN is enjoying great ratings with MNF. But over-the-top plugs for ABC and annoying 'celebrity' interviews are starting to alienate fans.

By Paul R. La Monica, editor at large

November 15 2006: 1:41 PM EST

NEW YORK ( -- I'm a huge New York Giants fan. Yet, I'm not looking forward to watching their next game.

The fact that the Giants are decimated by injuries partly explains my wary attitude. But the main reason I'm dreading Big Blue's upcoming match-up against the Jacksonville Jaguars is because the game is on Monday night, which means ESPN will broadcast it.

ESPN has taken self-promotion to a ridiculous new extreme this year. And that has raised the ire of many fans.

I'm in a fantasy football league with a bunch of friends. And on Monday nights, we often have more to say on our league's message board about how infuriating the ESPN broadcast is than about the game itself.

We're not alone. One sports blog, Outside the Beltway, has a page called "Monday Night Football on ESPN sucks." And an item on sports blog from last month was titled "Can the JV MNF Crew Start Warming Up in the Pen? Because This is a Debacle." (Since I agree with the comment, I'll forgive the author's mixed sports metaphor here ... using a baseball term to describe action on the gridiron.)

In case you didn't know ... and it would be impossible to remain blissfully ignorant for long when watching ESPN ... the sports network is owned by Walt Disney (Charts), which also owns ABC.

MNF has been guilty of heavy cross-promotions for other ABC shows when MNF actually aired on ABC, which it did up until this season. But this year, it seems to have gotten worse. James Denton, one of the stars of ABC's hit show "Desperate Housewives," was featured in the booth yukking it up with the broadcasters during one game. Pointless.

During the Giants-Dallas Cowboys contest on October 23, Emmitt Smith, the NFL's all-time league-leading rusher, was asked more questions about his fancy footwork on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" (Smith is one of the show's finalists) than he was about his former playing days .... and this was during a game featuring his old team!

ESPN committed an even more egregious penalty earlier in that game. Just as Giants linebacker LaVar Arrington was writhing on the turf due to what turned out to be a season-ending injury, the announcers in the booth were busy chatting with Hank Williams, Jr., who has been singing MNF's grating theme song since 1989.

The announcers were goofing around, laughing at Joe Theismann wearing Hank's cowboy hat instead of talking about how a key player on the Giants just got hurt. Actual news...ignored by ESPN for the sake of "entertainment."

For now, ESPN can point to great ratings for MNF telecasts as evidence that what they are doing is working. The Giants-Cowboys game had an audience of 16 million viewers, a record for cable TV. And viewers are watching telecasts for a longer period of time than they did last year. But how long can that last? Does ESPN risk losing its core audience if it keeps ramming ABC down football viewers' throats?

I'd argue yes. For ESPN to consistently garner good ratings, it needs to make sure that all football fans are interested in the MNF game and not just fans from the two teams' local markets.

But I think ESPN is making it harder and harder to get fans to want to tune into MNF games unless they involve their favorite team. Sure, I'll watch the Giants this coming Monday ... but it's most likely the last MNF game I'll catch this season.

And if more pigskin diehards like me grow tired of the shtick on MNF and start watching "Heroes" on NBC or "CSI: Miami" on CBS (Charts), that's not good news for ESPN and Disney. I highly doubt the same people who watch MNF are likely to switch to ABC's "What about Brian" on Monday nights instead.

ESPN doesn't seem to be worried. In an e-mailed response, ESPN spokesman Bill Hofheimer wrote that the ratings speak for themselves and that there are plenty of people happy with the broadcasts ... they just don't go on blogs to proclaim how satisfied they are.

"While a small fraction of fans have voiced concern with the new approach, when was the last time a customer bought a computer and called Dell to say how much he/she loved the new monitor?" wrote Hofheimer.

Still, who really wants to see "Dancing with the Stars" footage while a game is going on? If ESPN needs to do a soft feature about Emmitt's new career, at least save it for halftime.

The big difference between ESPN and its rivals is that other networks don't allow the corporate shilling to get in the way of the game.

This past Sunday, for example, NBC had Alec Baldwin pop-in to the studio just before kickoff in the guise of his character from NBC's sitcom "30 Rock." This was forced and annoying but at least it was done during the pre-game show.

Fortunately, viewers didn't have to listen to Alec pretend to be a GE (Charts) executive while the Giants and Chicago Bears were actually playing. Once the game started, John Madden and Al Michaels were all business. Baldwin didn't show up in the booth. Nor did Matthew Perry, Howie Mandel, Maria Bartiromo, King Kong or any other NBC Universal "talent."

Other networks seem to realize this too. The Sunday afternoon telecasts on CBS and News Corp.'s (Charts) Fox are, more often than not, highly professional and focus on football first.

Now to be fair, ESPN hasn't only invited people toiling on the House of Mouse's payroll into the MNF booth. Spike Lee appeared during the game against the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints and talked about his Hurricane Katrina documentary, which was co-produced by and aired on HBO, a subsidiary of my parent company Time Warner (Charts).

And actor Christian Slater came on during the November 6 game to talk about his new movie, "Bobby." The delicious irony there is that "Bobby" is being distributed by The Weinstein Company., the studio founded by brothers Harvey and Bob Weinstein after their messy Miramax divorce with Disney. I bet Disney studio honchos in Hollywood weren't pleased.

But this speaks to the bigger problem for Monday Night Football ... even if ESPN isn't pimping ABC or other Disney products, football often seems to be the last thing on the minds of play-by-play man Mike Tirico and commentators Theismann and Tony Kornheiser (or, as I like to refer to them, the unholy trinity).

ESPN's own ombudsman (coolest word ever) even agrees. George Solomon, a former editor at the Washington Post who now writes critiques of the network's coverage on, took ESPN to task for the preponderance of guests in the booth in a recent column.

"Many viewers feel the guests are a distraction from the football game. I agree. It's a football game, not a night-time talk show," Solomon wrote.

Despite this firestorm of criticism, ESPN still doesn't appear to get it. This past Monday, during the game between Carolina and Tampa Bay, NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon was the "celebrity" guest. At least they had an athlete on instead of a movie or TV star. But this segment was still relatively worthless if you're a football fan.

The "highlights" were Gordon and Kornheiser discussing why the NASCAR season should be more like "American Idol" or "Survivor" and Kornheiser giving Gordon a Belgian waffle maker because Gordon's new wife is a model from Belgium. Wow! Make room for an Emmy!

But ESPN's Hofheimer defended the practice of having guests in the booth.

"Guests and celebs are broadening our telecasts and helping to attract more casual fans to the game, which is in the tradition of MNF, and we have had many non-Disney guests. Plus, we are usually talking about 5-6 minutes over the course of a three-hour telecast, and our down to down football coverage and analysis is as strong as it's ever been," Hofheimer wrote.

I don't buy the "casual fan" argument. Does ESPN think someone will choose to watch MNF as opposed to say, "Heroes" on the off chance that the MNF crew might interview their favorite celebrity?

The F in MNF should stand for football, not fun, frivolity or fluff. ESPN needs to learn that you can still have an entertaining telecast without celebrities.

And the network shouldn't be fooled by the ratings. If Monday Night Football remains a Monday Night Fiasco for much longer, I think more hardcore football fans are eventually going to change the channel.

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posted January 02, 2007 09:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH WINTER INTERN   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH WINTER INTERN     Edit/Delete Message
ESPN Scores Top Cable Ratings of All Time

The 17 most-watched television shows on cable in 2006 were the 17 Monday Night Football games televised by ESPN, the cable sports network said Thursday, citing ratings by Nielsen Research. The games averaged 12.33 million viewers, with more than 109 million tuning in at some point during the season, ESPN said. No other series in cable TV history has ever captured such ratings, it concluded.

The top ten shows of last week according to Nielsen Research (delayed because of the holiday): 1. NFL Sunday overrun, CBS, 10.3/24; 2. Deal or No Deal (Monday), NBC, 9.5/15; 3. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 8.4/14; 4. CSI: Miami, CBS, 8.2/14; 5. CSI: NY, CBS, 8.1/14; 6. Identity (Monday), NBC, 7.6/11; 7. Shark, CBS, 7.1/12; 8. NCIS, CBS, 7.0/11; 8. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 7.0/11; 10. 60 Minutes, CBS, 6.8/16.

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posted October 17, 2007 02:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message
Kimmel Cut from 'Monday Night Football'

ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel's career as a color commentator on ESPN's Monday Night Football lasted for only two Mondays. According to the New York Times, Kimmel was relieved of his duties following his second MNF appearance after making a jocular remark about Joe Theismann, who was fired last season, "watching from his living room with steam coming from his ears." The remark was greeted with dead silence by the other MNF broadcasters, Ron Jaworski, Tony Kornheiser, and Mike Tirico. On Tuesday, Monday Night Football producer Jay Rothman called Kimmel's comment "classless and disappointing. It was cheap." He said Kimmel will not return.

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posted December 06, 2007 06:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message
ESPN Sets New Cable Ratings Record

ESPN's Monday Night Football is the new champ of cable TV. Monday night's telecast of the New England Patriots-Baltimore Ravens game averaged a record 17.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. The figure was 300,000 higher than the audience for the previous cable ratings champ, Disney Channel's High School Musical 2, which averaged 17.2 million viewers on August 17. Monday's game peaked in the final half hour with 23.87 million viewers tuning in to see the Patriots win by a score of 27-24. The 1993 debate between Al Gore and Ross Perot carried on CNN's Larry King Live scored higher ratings, but a far smaller audience (11.2 million), since it aired at a time when cable had lower penetration in U.S. households.

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posted December 10, 2007 08:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jpgordo   Click Here to Email jpgordo     Edit/Delete Message
Awesome game tonight. I've been waiting for New Orleans and Atlanta all year.

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