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September 1, 2014

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Did the flex schedule boomerang on the NBC football game?

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 7th 2009 4:15PM
tom_brady_nflAbout 18 million or so folks tuned in to NBC's Sunday Night Football Game last night, the Minnesota Vikings versus the Arizona Cardinals. That's a really good number, but it wasn't the boffo bonanza NBC had in mind when they used the NFL flex schedule option to choose Bret Favre over Tom Brady.

When I wrote about the flex schedule last week, a lot of reader comments said that NBC decision made perfect sense because the Vikings-Card game would be a bigger draw than the Patriots-Dolphins.

Well, guess what happened? The Favre game turned out to be a bust. The Cardinals, led by Kurt Warner, shredded the Vikings and won handily 30-17. It wasn't close and the ratings diminished from the second half on.

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Who's the top football broadcaster on TV today?

by Allison Waldman, posted Nov 22nd 2009 1:03PM
gary_danielson_cbsWhat does it say about the state of television broadcasting when the voice of television football is a guy who's voice is indiscernible? Is there really nobody that's filled the void since John Madden stopped acting out in the booth with the booms and the pows and the turducken and horse trailer references? Afraid so. According to Sporting News' list of the Top 25 Football Broadcasters in America, CBS football broadcaster Gary Danielson is number one.

Sporting News used a measuring system based on fan reaction and the input of its reporters and editors (including SportsBusiness Journal/SportsBusiness Daily), and despite the fact that Danielson's voice is pretty much just like Bob Griese's (I always confuse the two), he's considered the best because "he explains it before most of us have seen it." That's on target. He is pretty smart, just unmemorable.

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CBS plans Super Bowl halftime and... what comes on after the game

by Allison Waldman, posted Nov 13th 2009 1:09PM
nfl_logo_cbs"Did you hear who's going to play during the Super Bowl halftime show?"
"No, who?"
"That's what I just said. Who."
"No, seriously. Which is the band that's going to appear?"
"It's Who."
"I'm not talking proper English. Which band will be on CBS's halftime show on February 7 at Landshark Stadium in Miami?"
"The Who -- you know, Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend. 'Tommy, can you hear me?'"
"Oh! Why didn't you just say that!"

Okay, I couldn't resist the nod to Abbott and Costello's Who's On First. But the fact is that Sports Illustrated has spread the word that The Who will star in the Super Bowl big, overblown half-time pageant. This follows the safe pattern the NFL has been employing since the Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake costume malfunction; that is, stick with classic rock stars who are guaranteed to do their hits and not disrobe. That's why we've had Prince, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and now The Who. All superstar acts, no controversy.

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Ladies and gentlemen, 30 Rock and The Office (courtesy of The Kansas City Chiefs)

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 10th 2009 8:06PM
Like most National Football League teams, the Kansas City Chiefs spend their free time creating parodies of NBC Thursday night comedies. So far they've done The Office (below) and 30 Rock (after the jump - warning: it plays automatically).

I don't know how funny these are, but they're well produced and cast. Which one do you think is better?

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Fox to air new Avatar trailer on NFL broadcast Sunday

by John Scott Lewinski, posted Oct 30th 2009 11:28AM
Avatar will replace Tony Romo on this huge screen on November 1.Fox will use football this Sunday to help tall, blue aliens take over our televisions.

On November 1, Fox is shooting for the "world's biggest live trailer viewing" when it airs the new preview of James Cameron's Avatar live on TV and in the Dallas Cowboys' home park on the world's largest video display -- the Cowboy Stadium's Diamond Vision Screen before the Lone Star State's heroes take on the Seattle Seahawks.

A Fox press release explains that the Fox Sports NFL Sunday pregame show will present the new trailer live on the network. Meanwhile, those Cowboy fans still sober enough at noon to enjoy the brief glimpse of the sci-fi epic will take it in on a screen larger than some Far Eastern countries.

Putting the TV network's football viewing figures to work is the kind of bold step Fox needs to take to publicize Cameron's $300 million dollar movie. Though obviously ambitious and technically groundbreaking, special previews of the 3D fantasy flick left some viewers less than thrilled. While the film will be 3D in theaters, the trailer will stick to a simpler 2D TV image for the big event.

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Is Howie Long helping or hurting Chevy with those ads?

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 20th 2009 3:16PM
howie_long_foxChevy must have focus groups and research that tells them that Howie Long is a good spokesperson for their products. As a Fox NFL anaylst, he's fine alongside the likes of Jimmy Johnson and Terry Bradshaw. That said, I can't stand Howie Long in his commercials.

Long is smug and arrogant in all of 60 seconds. He's supposed to be selling the advantages of Chevy products -- while dissing those of Honda in direct jabs at the Japanese company -- but he rubs me the wrong way. Perhaps it's his smile. He just acts like he has no humility. He's all confidence and self-assuredness. Those two qualities should make him an excellent pitchman. That's what Chevy is trying to project.

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NCIS is number one again

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 7th 2009 12:27PM
NCIS_Ziva_Jethro
It's bigger than the NFL. It's drawing more than celebrity dancing. It's the little show that could. In its seventh season on the air, NCIS is the number one show according to the Nielsen ratings. Over 21 million viewers for the week of September 28 put the drama series on the top of the heap, and there's no sign that it was a fluke. This is the second week in a row NCIS was the top show.

The question a lot of people are asking, especially those who don't watch or have never even checked out NCIS is this: how did that happen? It's not normal for a show to get stronger after the five year mark. Some, like a Seinfeld for example, start slowly and nearly are canceled, but then find an audience and remain secure for the rest of it's run. Before Seinfeld, The Dick Van Dyke Show had done the same thing.

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Idol's Ellen DeGeneres decision sounds eerily similar to MNF's Dennis Miller manuever

by Danny Gallagher, posted Sep 10th 2009 2:07PM
Ellen DegeneresNow regular Squad hoppers know I'm no drooling American Idol watcher, so maybe you think my opinions on this show are worth less than the U.S. dollar injected with swine flu.

But this move to bring in Ellen DeGeneres, a talk show host, actress and comedian, screams of another move in the world of TV commentating. A move that seemed well reasoned enough but went down in a glorious ball of blue and orange flames on live television.

Comedian and long time TV fixture Dennis Miller's very short stint as the color commentator for ABC's Monday Night Football screams of similarities louder than that guy in the Edvard Munch painting watching the Orson Welles sex tape. Great, Miller's voice is back in my head again. Thanks cha cha, I mean, Ellen.

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Fox preseason football flops big-time

by Allison Waldman, posted Aug 30th 2009 12:08PM
buck_aikman_foxYou wouldn't know that Fox football was ready for prime time based on the lame broadcast of the Tampa Bay Buccaneer-Miami Dolphin game the other night. The number one team in the booth -- Joe Buck and Troy Aikman -- seemed ill-prepared for the game. It was embarrassing to watch them call the game.

Listen, I know it's only pre-season and everyone -- including the networks -- are working out the kinks, but I expect Buck and Aikman to be on top of their game. They usually are, so I guess I was surprised by the sloppy effort.

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NBC renews deal with the NFL

by Allison Waldman, posted Aug 21st 2009 9:29AM
NFL_Sunday_Night_Football_NBCIf there's one night of television that NBC has a handle on, it's Sunday. At least during football season. Football Night In America works, and you know the old saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." That said, NBC has renewed its NFL deal for two more years. The new deal – the extension – secures that NBC will be broadcasting NFL games through 2013, so there will be plenty of games for all those analysts to yap about.

NBC has nearly enough guys to field a team on the pre-game show: Bob Costas, Dan Patrick, Keith Olbermann, Tony Dungy, Tiki Barber, Rodney Harrison ... with Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth calling the games. Will we notice that John Madden is gone? Probably not, especially if the games are good.

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Will Michael Vick get the real 60 Minutes treatment?

by Allison Waldman, posted Aug 12th 2009 1:02PM
CBS_60_minutes_watchOn Sunday, Michael Vick will be interviewed on 60 Minutes in hopes of showing contrition, making a case for his NFL comeback and generally doing as much PR as possible to rehabilitate his image. The former Atlanta Falcon quarterback and NFL poster boy is pretty desperate to get back into the league -- and the money that comes with it.

Michael Vick, as you probably know, was once the highest paid quarterback in the NFL. He was on the cover of magazines and was considered an unstoppable force on the field. Off the field, however, he was running an illegal dog-fighting business. He spent most of the last two years either in court or in prison for his involvement in a syndicate that promoted gambling and killed dogs.

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Recession and the Real Housewives of Atlanta

by Allison Waldman, posted Aug 11th 2009 10:29AM
bravo_hartwell_real_housewives_of_atlantaA week ago on the hit Bravo reality "thang" Real Housewives of Atlanta, if you tuned in you got to see the ladies who lunch take it outside for a beat down, but you also saw one of the fakiest, mushiest love scenes yet on the Real Housewives' franchise. Former, pro football player Ed Hartwell cooked a special dinner, spread rose petals to spell "I love you," played massage therapist, and finally took a bubble bath with his wife while murmuring the words, "Let's go make some babies."

The ick factor was set on 11 on the Spinal Tap scale. That was then. Ed and Lisa Hartwell have been foreclosed upon and now that bathtub for two is the bank's property.

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The NFL draft expands into primetime

by Allison Waldman, posted Jul 24th 2009 6:00PM
NFL_draft_shieldUnless you're a National Football League fan like me, the idea of watching hours and hours of college players being selected one by one to potentially play for a team, is as boring as watching someone in fishing for bass. Well, it turns out there's an audience for both! No seriously, when ESPN began covering the NFL Draft in 1980, the network could have never anticipated that it would grow into a ratings draw.

Now, the draft has been supersized. In 2010, the NFL Draft will be three days long and in mostly in primetime. The 75th annual National Football League Draft will commence on Thursday, April 22 at 7:30 - 11 p.m.. That'll just cover round one. Rounds two and three continue on Friday, April 23 at 6:30 - 11 p.m., with the final four rounds dominating daytime on Saturday, April 24, from 9 a.m. to whenever it's over.

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The power of the NFL forces the Emmys to move to September 13

by Jason Hughes, posted Jun 2nd 2009 2:04PM
The Emmy AwardsOh my god, now I'm going to have to rearrange my entire schedule. I wanted to make sure and tell you all as soon as possible so you could do the same. Because of a football double-header on Sunday, September 20, CBS is bumping the Emmy's up a week to September 13. I know, madness! I wrote it on my calendar in permanent ink! But I guess in the NFL's world, you shouldn't think of anything as permanent. Look at what they do to the prime-time schedule already.

Hell, the fall edition of The Amazing Race traditionally runs 20 to 40 minutes late every week because of football. There's no DVR adjustments possible for this. They really should schedule a flexible news program in 60 Minutes slot that can be truncated as needed so the rest of the lineup can start on time. And now, out of fear that football will run long, they're bumping the entire Emmy ceremony with only three month's notice. Celebrity desingers are panicking as we speak, and those poor accountants are going to have to count a week faster. It's absolute chaos!

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Ebersol says Madden retirement will stick; Collinsworth named as replacement

by Nick Zaino, posted Apr 16th 2009 2:24PM
John Madden retiresJohn Madden is done. NBC announced today that Madden, perhaps the most famous broadcaster in football history apart from Howard Cosell, is retiring from the booth after covering the NFL for 30 years, winning 16 Emmys and the admiration of football friends everywhere.

Madden addressed listeners this morning on KCBS in San Francisco about the decision, which was obviously not easy for him. "I decided to retire," he said. "Heck I can't even say it. It's tough, not because I'm not sure it's the right time. I really feel strongly this is the right time. I'm just going to miss everything about it because I enjoyed it so much."

Football is in Madden's blood. He's a Hall of Fame coach, winning the Super Bowl with the Raiders in 1977, a college stand-out offensive tackle from California Polytechnic State University, and his Madden NFL is a perennial best-selling video game on multiple platforms. He joined ABC's Monday Night Football crew in 2002, and spent the past three years on NBC's Sunday Night Football.

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