Despite forging a reputation for opinionated sports coverage via TV, radio, and internet, they have issued an edict to their employees to not say anything critical about fellow ESPNers, under threat of suspension or other finger-wagging punishment. Bill Simmons has chafed the most under these regulations, but Tony Kornheiser isn't far behind.
So when Kornheiser opened his radio show last week by criticizing the semi-revealing outfit 'SportsCenter' anchor Hannah Storm wore that morning, you knew something was coming. Sure enough, ESPN has suspended Kornheiser from 'Pardon the Interruption' for an indeterminate period of time, according to FanHouse.
That's an interesting notion because usually when a guy gets into the booth, he doesn't get out. Dick Vermeil is one of the few to jump back and forth; John Madden, who retired from NBC less than a month ago, was one who never returned to the sidelines.
Therefore, it comes as no big shock that on the eve of the election -- Monday, November 3 -- the presidential candidates are going to appear on ESPN's Monday Night Football.
They will be interviewed -- separately on tape -- by half-time anchor Chris "Boomer" Berman. The anticipated time is 10:15 p.m. (ET), but because of the flow of the game, it could be closer to 10:30.
As I was describing (yet again) to my wife how much I love the show, something occurred to me regarding all the other other millions and millions talking-head shows bouncing around my digital cable box: why don't any of them employ a stat boy?
After what he did the other night, don't espect Jimmy Kimmel to pop up on ESPN's Monday Night Football again.
The show has banned the late night talk show host after his appearance two nights ago. During the Giants/Falcons game, Kimmel suddenly said "I'd also like to welcome Joe Theismann, watching from his living room at home with steam coming out of his ears." Theissman was let go from the show before this season started. MNF producer Jay Rothman called what Kimmel said "classless and disappointing."
The video after the jump has the joke about Theismann, but Kimmel also asked if it was Tony Kornheiser who got Theismann fired and joked about Kornheiser and Ron Jaworski betting on games.
The ESPN sports show host (and subject of that lame Jason Alexander sitcom from a couple of years ago, Listen Up) makes his debut tonight on Monday Night Football, a preseason game between the Raiders and the Vikings, and he's a little worried about it. As he says in a not-so-subtle way in this New York Times piece, "I'm going to bomb."
Maybe this is just a way of lowering expectations. He's not going to bomb or be terrible. I mean, Tony, it can't be any worse than Listen Up, can it?
But when I do get around to watching the show, I notice a troubling trend: ESPN has decided to expand the show, delaying the final "Big Finish" segment until about fifteen minutes into the 6:00 SportsCenter.
What gives? I mean, I know why they're doing it; PTI fans will stick with SC until that segment airs, thus boosting the highlight show's ratings. But I still think it's a cheap and manipulative move by ESPN. I no longer watch SC because the anchors there are too worried about creating catchphrases than actually describing sports highlights. To have to sit through 15 minutes of some flunkie going "say 'ello to my little friend!" when someone hits a home run just to see PTI finish just stinks. Guess I won't be watching the "Big Finish" anytime soon. Too bad.
So, what happened with Al Michaels? Wasn't he supposed to be doing MNF next year? Well, considering the fact that a) he has also been removed as ABC's number-one NBA announcer (to be replaced by Mike Breen), and b) there have been rumors floating around that he wanted to break his newly-signed ESPN contract and join John Madden on NBC's new Sunday Night broadcast, chances are good that Super Bowl XL was the last game Michaels called in his thirty-year ABC career. No official announcement has come out yet, but expect to see Michaels on the Peacock Network next fall.
More information can be found in this Reuters article, with actual quotes on Michaels from ESPN executives included.
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