My visit to Costas NOW
Anyone catch the live broadcast of Costas NOW last night? I was lucky enough to get a few tickets and went to the live taping in Manhattan with my girlfriend. And I really do mean lucky. Not only did we get seated in the front row, but we were seated right in front of all the panelists. Everyone. Joe Buck, Cris Carter, Mitch Albom, Mike Tirico, Michael Wilbon, John McEnroe... the list goes on. And of course, Bob Costas was only a few feet in front of us on stage. For a sports and TV fanatic, it was very impressive. So why am I writing about it? The town hall format of the show covered a lot of hot topics in sports, but there were a couple segments that really stood out because they directly relate to what we're doing here at TV Squad -- blogging and athletes' (or in our case TV celebs, writers, and producers) reactions to the media.
The general consensus? Blogging is ruining the journalistic landscape. Mitch Albom said it was evening out the playing field because anyone, especially those that are not even remotely qualified to comment, can do it. He's right though. Look at me. Ten years ago I would have never been afforded the opportunity to rant about TV the way I do. Sure, I've worked for a few TV shows and consider myself fairly knowledgeable about television, but I'm in no way an authority. I can't walk into Variety or The New York Times and expect to be offered a critic's position - I've got no legit journalistic credentials like a Masters or newspaper experience. To me, that's the beauty of it though.
Albom, Buzz Bissinger, and most of the other panelists felt differently, that blogging erodes the quality and alienates those individuals that are being written about because, more often than not, negativity reigns. So as I was watching and processing all of this, I couldn't help but to think about TV Squad ... and how I was going to blog about it. It's a satisfying feeling, to know that I could do that and quickly voice my opinion. It seemed to me that many of the journalists (whom I obviously respect greatly) felt miffed that it's so easy to get yourself "published" now; like bloggers such as myself have taken a giant short-cut. It was just really interesting to me because it's the first time I've been in a situation where I was being told that blogging is wrong; that blogging is dumbing down the population. But to hear it from writers and sportscasters that as I said, I respect, is what made it powerful. Then I realized that I could say things like Bob Costas looks way older in person or Cris Carter was wearing a ton of cologne and feel confident that none of them were going to read it anyway!
The great thing about what we're doing, and was missed in the show, was that even though blogging is quick and immediate, so is the response. On our site, Joel has frequently engaged with TV writer Ken Levine and I can recall another instance where we got some great praise from one of the producers from NCIS. People in the industry read us. To make the ultimate sports connection here, a few days ago we were linked to by Bill Simmons in one of his ESPN Page 2 posts!
Alright, enough with that. I've spoken my part. Back to the show itself. Actually, let's talk about the set. I really wish I could have taken a few photos, but they were pretty strict with the no-pictures policy. I saw a few people get slaps on the wrist for trying to sneak out their camera phones so I wasn't going to risk pulling out my girlfriend's digital camera and possibly get ejected. There were huge monitors everywhere with the Costas NOW logo and lots of big, transparent posters with all the big names in sports - Kobe, A-Rod, Peyton Manning, etc. It was really cool looking in-person.
The one thing they were supposed to do was take questions from the audience, but that never happened. But I can understand why - with five separate panels, 90 minutes just wasn't enough time. Costas did mention that one of the panels - sports and race - would be brought back later in the year as its own Costas NOW installment.
Some random observations ... I haven't watched it off my DVR yet, so most of this is from memory:
McEnroe had on a ridiculous tie that I'm sure the director hated. It was all black with what looked to be a bedazzled rose in the middle of it. It kept sparkling under the stage lights and I'm sure it was disorienting to look at.
Did anyone else notice that Buzz Bissinger kept stroking, I mean really rubbing, his thigh?
Dan Patrick is a giant in person. Very tall man.
So for anyone that watched this from home, what did everyone think? I'm curious to hear what everyone has to say about the comments about blogging. You're reading this, so that's a good start.