Twenty ways to brighten up the sports media landscape in the new year
The top 20 things that would be appreciated in the sports media for 2020, starting yesterday:
---No further casting aspersions on ESPN’s conflagration of coverage for Monday’s LSU-Clemson college football national championship — more specifically, the 15-prong, 100-camera and 100-mike strong MegaCast. We’ve said our piece.
Instead, a thank-you note. It has cast away the “Monday Night Film Room” and recast the Coaches Film Room on ESPNU, with the acerbic X’s and O’s of Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, TCU’s Gary Patterson, Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason and new Boston College head man and recent Ohio State defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley.
Yet no Nick Saban?
All in all in all, the announcer-less feed on ESPN Classic will bring an organic respite to everything.
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is unbeaten in two seasons in college and he went 41-1 in his last three seasons in high school. That one loss still resonates today.
---An ESPN “30-For-30” on the decaying condition of a mismanaged “Monday Night Football” legacy.
If you please, cancel “Leave It To Booger” with Jolted Joe Tessitore. We endorse a booth refresh that delivers a sparkling bouquet of soon-to-be free agent Tony Romo, best paired with a robust return of the beautifully bland Sean McDonough.
---Fox’s Joe Buck is allowed a half-hour segment on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” after the Super Bowl to read through his “Mean Tweets.”
---No more using Twitter as the sole attempt to quote someone in a breaking-news story. For all the things a phone can do, actually calling someone up and talking to them is its original function.
---HBO’s new drama series in the works based on Jeff Pearlman’s book about the 1980s Lakers called “Showtime” is actually called “Showtime.” Just to confuse those who tune into HBO’s competitor, Showtime. By the way, when you look at the cast (Quincy Isaiah as Magic Johnson?) it‘s lacking a lot of Starz.
---SportsNet L.A. dedicates a daily show to investigate the premise that so many fans in L.A. seem to be down on the Dodgers and no one can really figure out why. This can come before or after SportsNet L.A. becomes available to anyone willing to pay a subscription fee for an online stream.
---NBC’s upcoming Summer Olympics coverage from Tokyo offers an option of the Bill Walton Channel. We give into his wanderlust as he goes to whatever events and venues he picks. And we watch.
---Fox’s not-so-top golf team adds Gary McCord and Peter Kostis. But only if it is interested in improving its USGA credibility.
---No more comparisons of Fox Sports’ first year of the “Big Noon Kickoff” college football pregame show to ESPN’s “College Game Day,” 32 seasons strong and the last 26 years as a live road show. Plus, Fox knows when Urban Meyer flees, they aren’t even in the same mush-mouthed conversation.
---Pat McAfee can’t be allowed near an open mike. Anywhere.
---More airtime for the Sparks’ Chiney Ogwumike, who somehow has time to be a full-time, multi-platform star on ESPN, and Candace Parker, who brings a studious nature to TNT’s NCAA Tournament studio.
--- “Curling Night in America” goes straight into a year-round NBC initiative.
Dave Roberts is a devout Christian, but he wasn’t aware of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ anti-LGBTQ stance before he agreed to speak at an FCA event.
---Some government regulation on how much sports-gambling related programming a network can sell out for.
---As yin to ESPN+, we yang for ESPN-, a streaming app to bring back the best of what has been unceremoniously subtracted from the network’s prior menu. Bring on new episodes of “Flex Appeal” with Kiana Tom, “Reel Classics” with Norman Chad and Jeff Cesario, plus anything involving the Sklar Brothers. And, sure, for unintended comedy, “ESPN Hollywood” with Mario Lopez and Thea Andrews.
---Dick Stockton receives a gold Timex watch and lifetime pass to the Fenway Park minibar, but no more Fox NFL assignments.
---“OK, Boomer” launches as a new morning mini-debate show for TikTok. Hosted by Chris Berman, David Wells, Steve Yeager and Boomer Esiason.
---The Southern California Sports Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame considers the induction of 1970s sports-talk superficial novelty act Ed “Superfan” Bieler.
---ESPN Radio will celebrate the audience penetration of “The Will Cain Show”, but it does no service to covering local, breaking news on the 710 AM affiliate, which the network owns, operates and obfuscates with a desire to load up with as much national nonsense as possible.
Jim Harrick led UCLA to a national championship in basketball in 1995, but the scars of a messy split with the school a year later remain.
---As much time, space and anesthetic as any ESPN Radio affiliate can give Dr. Robert Klapper and his “Weekend Warrior” show.
---Acknowledgement that “Jeopardy! The Greatest Of All Time” will end up as the most compelling TV competition this year. A full seven-match series that crowns Vegas sports gambler James Holzhauer by the end of the week as the GOAT might make us question if game shows really aren’t rigged, but we could accept that possible reality.
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