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September 19, 2014

Sports

ESPN Gives Chris Berman a Contract Extension

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 19th 2010 10:07PM
chris_berman_espn_2009Chris Berman is a fixture at ESPN. He's like the Jay Leno of ESPN, and as such, Berman's just gotten an extension to remain with ESPN for ... forever. Or so it seems. Berman's deal has been termed multi-year. Considering that he's going to be 55 on his birthday -- May 10 -- and he claims that he doesn't want to be broadcasting in his 60s, that means he's probably going to be doing the Swami for at least five more years.

Berman has been called the face of ESPN, and that's probably true. He's been there since 1979, just one month after the sports cable giant began as a fledgling idea that many assumed would never make it. An all-sports network? Are you mad? Seems hard to believe that now, but 31 years ago it was a radical notion and Chris Berman was a wannabe sportscaster in Hartford, Connecticut, who took a chance with the cable start up. It paid off big time when ESPN became the worldwide leader in sports broadcasting.

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The NBA Playoffs Tip-Off with Timberlake and Foxx

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 17th 2010 8:21PM
jamie_foxx_justin_timberlake_nbaThe post-season has arrived for the National Basketball Association. The NBA Playoffs are upon us, starting today on ABC and ESPN, and tomorrow night on TNT, and that means the networks are shifting into overdrive to present all the games, all the action, and -- especially -- all the stars to the viewing public. Shaq, Kobe, LeBron, Dwayne, Dirk, Rajon ... if you're a fan, you don't need the last names. That's how big the star power is for NBA elite players.

It's perhaps even bigger than the NFL or any other major league. And that's one reason why the NBA is not the number one sport in America, but it is the number one marketed sport. That's a point illustrated in the new promo for the TNT broadcasts featuring music and movie stars Jamie Foxx and Justin Timberlake extolling the virtues of the NBA playoffs.

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Why Nike Deserves Cursing For Its Tiger Woods Ad

by Danny Gallagher, posted Apr 9th 2010 4:03PM
Nike's Tiger Woods adThe Tiger Woods story has become a beast that cannot be fed, no matter how many bloody human entrails you stuff in its perpetually open maw.

Tiger's never-ending reach for forgiveness and redemption has been more thoroughly covered than my late grandmother's living room couch. It's turned the news into a supermarket tabloid. It's turned 'SportsCenter' into a Lifetime made-for-TV movie.

And now, with Nike's new Tiger ad, it's turned commercials, my one measly break from this love-to-hate lovefest, into another creepy, lurid, sex-soaked look at a superstar's human indiscretions.

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Why Nike Deserves Kudos For Its Tiger Ad

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 8th 2010 2:08PM
Nike is kind of like the Microsoft of the athletic world; often derided and criticized, but wildly successful for reasons no one wants to acknowledge. For instance, I constantly keep buying Nike basketball shoes, even though I know that they're too narrow for my clodhopper feet, because they just look so damned cool.

One of the things they've been able to do so well is put together compelling advertising. And, after the Tiger Woods mess spilled all over the media landscape, there was likely a large segment of those watchers who were wondering what Woods' largest sponsor would do to address the mess. Would they meet it head on or try to avoid the issue?

Well, the met it head on, and in the best way possible. Here is the new Nike ad with Woods, debuting during last night ahead of the Masters:


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Why Are So Many Creeps Drawn to Erin Andrews?

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 5th 2010 7:28PM
Erin Andrews on 'Dancing With The Stars'There are plenty of attractive women on TV. Hundreds, in fact. But it seems that, through no actions of their own, some of those women get more undue attention than others. Currently, Ivanka Trump, Kathryn Erbe and Audrina Patridge are all dealing with their own stalker issues, and I'm sure there are more that we're not hearing about publicly.

But these cases, as scary as they are, feel like small potatoes compared to what's happening with ESPN's Erin Andrews, who is also currently a contestant on 'Dancing With The Stars.' An advanced kind of creep seems to be drawn to her.

Last week, just after the creep who took video of her changing through a hotel peephole last summer was sentenced to two and a half years in prison, we're now hearing that since September, Andrews has been receiving death threats that have been e-mailed into 'The Dan Patrick Show' on DirecTV. The threats were at first sexual in nature, according to the AP, but soon turned threatening. The threats have also mentioned the pervert who got caught for the peephole videos.

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Start the 3D TV Revolution Without Me

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 3rd 2010 9:00AM
3D_TV_watching_glassesTechnology is a marvelous thing, right? No, no, this is not a story about the Apple iPad coming out this weekend or the wonders it promises to bring -- just ask Phil Dunphy. He called it the first day of the rest of your life.

But no, the technology that has me scratching my head is 3D television. That's right, the state-of-the-art, mind-blowing idea that you will be able to watch television in a way you never have before. Bigger than a big screen. Better than high definition. More powerful that a home theater sensurround experience.

Next weekend, if you have invested in a first generation 3D TV for about $2,500, you'll be able to watch the Masters Golf Tournament in 3D. And you had better spend on the glasses, too, because not all sets are sold with the spectacles that make the 3D possible in the first place. Funny, you would think that the glasses were included, but apparently not. It's like some computers that ship without a power cord. Are you kidding me?

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In His Time, Chet Simmons Changed Sports TV

by Allison Waldman, posted Mar 29th 2010 1:02PM
chet_simmons_espn_pioneerChet Simmons was a true television pioneer. The things we watch today and consider essential to our viewing, didn't exist before Simmons created it. You know that little show on ESPN, 'SportsCenter'? That was Chet Simmons. All this is important to appreciate because Simmons died last week in Atlanta at the age of 81. In his passing, it's time to appreciate that Simmons was a visionary television executive who had the gumption and wherewithal to make his visions a reality.

Simmons started in his career at ABC Sports, one of Roone Arledge's right hand men, and part of the team that came up with the 'Wide World of Sports.'

Today, the show is remembered as an Emmy-winning program that literally scanned the world looking but 'Wide World of Sports' was really groundbreaking entertainment. You saw things on that show that were new and different and always filmed brilliantly. Whether it was ski-jumping in Austria or cliff-diving in South America, 'Wide World' was exciting. And Simmons understood that sports fans craved more.

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HBO Chooses New York Jets for 'Hard Knocks'

by Allison Waldman, posted Mar 26th 2010 1:29PM
rex_ryan_new_york_jets_mark_sanchezLast year, the idea of putting the New York Jets on HBO's 'Hard Knocks' documentary series might have seemed a poor choice. They had a rookie head coach, a rookie -- albeit high profile -- starting quarterback, and they were coming off a less than stellar, no-playoffs season.

This year, however, it's a whole 'nother story. The Jets are smokin'. As a Miami Dolphins fan, this pisses me off like you can't imagine. But for HBO, the New York Jets are a great pick for 'Hard Knocks,' the show that takes viewers into the training camp of an NFL team to watch them put it together for season to come.

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Tiger Woods Says Nothing in ESPN, Golf Channel Interviews

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 22nd 2010 10:28AM
Tiger WoodsSo, did you see the interview that Tiger Woods gave to ESPN and The Golf Channel yesterday? It was ... odd. It was one of those interviews that had the appearance of telling us a lot, but after it was over you realize that you learned exactly nothing and your opinion on the matter didn't change one bit.

Woods talked to ESPN's Tom Rinaldi (the interview that I saw) for five minutes and to Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman for five minutes. The rules were he could be asked anything but the interviews had to be held at the Isleworth Country Club in Florida and they had to be held to five minutes.

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TBS Replaces Caray With Three Play-by-Players, Adds Smoltz

by Joel Keller, posted Mar 16th 2010 6:02PM
Ernie Johnson of TNT and TBSAfter the heaping helpings of criticism that got larded onto TBS after their subpar presentation of the 2009 baseball postseason, the network has decided to take no chances with its broadcast teams this season.

According to Richard Sandomir of The New York Times, the network has decided to replace Chip Caray, who they dismissed after the 2009 playoffs, with a three-headed play-by-play rotation. The announcers are all pros: Dick Stockton, Brian Anderson (who announced one of the Division Series for the network in each of the last two years) and Ernie Johnson.

Yes, your eyes saw that last name correctly. Johnson (picutred above) is best known as the studio host for both TNT's NBA coverage, making sure he got words in edgewise between Charles Barkley rants. He's been TBS's studio host for baseball, and has broadcast it in the past. Even with his relative lack of baseball experience, though, he's got to be a step up from Caray, who seemed to miss a good number of plays and liked to use words like "fisted" quite a bit.

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Kia and CBS Sued For Ripping Off Song in Super Bowl Ad

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 15th 2010 2:00PM
CBSI really didn't think we'd still be talking about the Super Bowl commercials more than a month after the game ended, but we are. It seems that every other company that had an ad during the game is being sued in one way or another. The latest defendants are Kia and CBS, who televised the game.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that the two companies (and a few others, including the NFL and the ad agency) are being sued by Drive-In Music Company, who says that the song used in the Kia ad (the one with Muno from 'Yo Gabba Gabba') is very similar to a song by Dyke and the Blazers that they own called "Let A Woman Be A Woman." This commercial is still being shown a lot.

After the jump, the two songs. You be the judge.

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Dodger Great Orel Hershiser Joining ESPN 'Sunday Night Baseball'

by Allison Waldman, posted Mar 5th 2010 9:00AM
orel_hershiser_espn_microphoneIf you look at the picture of Orel Hershiser on the right, you might think he's a pretty unimposing guy. However, the former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher is something of an Einstein when it comes to playing the game of baseball. Therefore, it makes perfect sense and is a brilliant move that he will be joining ESPN's 'Sunday Night Baseball' broadcast as an analyst.

Hershiser should have been put in the booth as soon as he was signed with ESPN, but all good things in their time. Now the former MVP, Cy Young award winner and World Series champ will be lending his expertise to the broadcast anchored by Jon Miller, the play by play guy, and former Cincinnati Reds star Joe Morgan as the lead analyst.

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One Last Note About The Olympics, From Jimmy Fallon

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 4th 2010 11:28AM
Because of The Olympics, 'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon' wasn't on for the past few weeks, which means he couldn't do his regular "Thank You Notes" segment on Friday nights. But he was in Vancouver and sat down with Bob Costas and a studio audience and did an Olympics-themed version of the bit. Costas accompanies him on keyboard.

Funny how Costas mentions Craig Kilborn at the end. I still have a memory of Kilborn doing something like "Thank You Notes" on his CBS show, or am I remembering wrong?

[Watch episodes of 'Late Night' and other shows at SlashControl.]

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Costas Closes Olympics with "the Always Enjoyable Giant Inflatable Beaver"

by Danny Gallagher, posted Mar 1st 2010 8:30PM
Bob Costas is a broadcasting legend and rightfully so. He has a commanding presence and an intellectual curiosity that can never be fed. He has conducted probing and thoughtful interviews with just about everyone who ever meant anything to the news and sports world. But now, he will be forever remembered for uttering a phrase that united the world.



Costas uttered this now immortal phrase during the closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics last night, and it set the Internet afire with its "beaver" and "inflatable" Google keyword alerts. It not only appeared all over Twitter, but it now has its own Facebook page with 1,500 members and growing. Someone out there, a lucky businessman, is putting it on a T-shirt, and the world will become just a little bit better for it.

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If ESPN Gets the Olympics, It Would Ditch Tape Delay

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 26th 2010 4:03PM
ESPNAs we talked about in this week's edition of the TV Squad Podcast, NBC is getting a lot of bad press (again) for their programming decisions for the Olympics. Too much focus on personal drama, too many odd interviews interrupting events, and tape delays. That last one is what irks people the most, and one network says that if they had the Olympics they wouldn't have a tape delay, they'd show everything live.

That network is ESPN. They're going to bid on the 2014 winter games and the 2016 summer games, and if they win, they're going to scrap the whole tape delay thing.

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