Demise of ‘Crowd Goes Wild’ shows why so hard to develop good sports programming

Really no surprise that Fox Sports 1 is cancelling Crowd Goes Wild. The last show is next week.

The crowd didn’t go wild over the show. Using 82-year old Regis Philbin as a centerpiece was a weird move, and the whole thing seemed doomed from the beginning.

Crowd actually had some decent pieces. Definitely expect to see more of Georgie Thompson elsewhere on Fox Sports 1, and I liked Jason Gay and Trevor Pryce.

However, Crowd was too much of a hodge-poge of segments that didn’t work and too many people on the set.

The demise of Crowd once again shows that producing interesting and compelling sports programming is a difficult endeavor. It isn’t just Crowd. NBCSN couldn’t get it done for two Michelle Beadle vehicles.

ESPN also has had some flops along the way. But they do … Continue Reading

Good retort: Yes ESPN, there is a kid named Fox Sports 1

Fortunately, the trash talking between ESPN and Fox Sports 1 continues. Earlier this week during a Disney investors meeting, Artie Bulgrin, a Senior VP of Analytics for ESPN noted there have been parents who have named their kids ESPN. Beyond weird, but….

“Let’s face it, nobody’s naming their kid ‘Fox Sports One.’” Bulgrin said.

Give credit to Fox Sports 1 for a pretty good comeback. Jay Onrait does the honors.

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Joe Buck, Greg Norman reportedly to lead Fox Sports’ coverage of ’15 U.S. Open; Who will join them? Gus Johnson?

John Ourand has the exclusive on Fox’s new golf team:

Joe Buck and Greg Norman will be Fox Sports’ top on-air voices when the network debuts its golf coverage next year, according to several sources. The two will be set up in the 18th green tower at the ’15 U.S. Open, when the event will be held at Chambers Bay outside Seattle. The decision to tap Buck and Norman comes as somewhat of a surprise, as neither has announced golf on television before.

Actually, it really isn’t much of a surprise. Buck is Fox’s lead voice, and reportedly a good golfer. It was a natural that he would be tabbed for the high profile assignment.

While Norman hasn’t formally worked as an analyst, he has appeared in the booth of golf telecasts of many occasions. He hardly is shy about … Continue Reading

Why Fox went with three in the booth for its A baseball team

Ultimately, Fox decided it would take two men, Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci, to replace Tim McCarver with its A baseball team.

Why the threesome with Joe Buck navigating extra traffic? The principles explained yesterday in a teleconference.

From Richard Deitsch at

Fox Sports management said it has known that Buck, Reynolds and Verducci would be its lead MLB team for a couple of months after the three had a practice broadcast together in St. Louis late last year. Rehearsal games often do not go well in sports broadcasting, but management said it was particularly impressed by the chemistry between the three men. Said Shanks: “The thing you look for in television is, do the guys like each other? Do they respect each other? Do they work hard to make the guy next to them look good? That’s what

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This is different: Fox Sports hires noted analyst to analyze ‘sincerity’ of athletes, coaches

Is this Fox Sports’ answer to Nate Silver?

The network is bringing in Frank Luntz to, get this, to assess “the validity and sincerity of what people say.”

What, coaches and athletes aren’t always sincere? Wish Fox Sports had Luntz for Tiger Woods’ famous “I’m Sorry” confession that aired on national TV.

Another question: Will Luntz analyze the sincerity of Fox’s analysts when they express their views on controversial topics? Are they holding back at criticizing former teammates or coaches? Now that would be interesting.

From the Fox Sports release:

World-renowned communications expert Dr. Frank Luntz, CEO of Luntz Global, an international research powerhouse, joins FOX Sports 1 as its exclusive sports communications analyst, effective immediately.  The announcement was made today by Scott Ackerson, FOX Sports 1’s Executive Vice President, News.

“Frank Luntz is an expert in reading between the

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Breaking news: NFL Today dumps Marino, Sharpe; adds Tony Gonzalez

This is not unexpected. The show needs to be improved to keep up with the competition elsewhere.

CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus told John Ourand of Sports Business Daily:

“We believe (Tony) has all the attributes. He’s got a real passion and enthusiasm for the NFL and has a way to express that passion and enthusiasm. It’s impossible to teach likeability in a TV person. Tony has that.”

McManus also told Ourand that he is close to a deal for another studio analyst.

From CBS Sports:


Former Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons All-Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez joins CBS Sports as an analyst for the CBS Television Network’s NFL pre-game show, THE NFL TODAY, and will contribute across multiple CBS platforms including INSIDE THE NFL on SHOWTIME and CBS Sports Network’s Sunday pre-game show, THAT OTHER PREGAME SHOW … Continue Reading

Newsday: Francesa’s show to air on Fox Sports 1; Will rest of country care about NY show?

The big guy is going national, according to Neil Best of Newsday:

Mike Francesa, whose 12-year simulcast run on the YES Network ended on Super Bowl Sunday, soon will bring his WFAN radio show to Fox Sports 1, a radio industry source with knowledge of the agreement said Sunday.

Terms of the contract could not be determined, nor could a starting date. But Francesa said on the air last week that an official announcement could come early this week, and that he could be back on TV in time for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in March.

It is an interesting move by the new sports network. How much whining about the Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, etc. will a national TV audience tolerate?

Then again, a simulcast of a local radio show will be much cheaper to produce than … Continue Reading

Jeff Pearlman apologizes for Erin Andrews post: She doesn’t deserve this nonsense

Jeff Pearlman said he realized over the weekend that he went too far in a post in which he called Erin Andrews “The Kardashian of sports TV” in the aftermath of her interview with Richard Sherman.

Pearlman writes that he fell into the trap of doing a blog: The dreaded quick post without completely thinking through the post. As a result, Pearlman became a target himself, and what he was trying to say got lost with the Kardashian comparison.

Pearlman writes:

In a word: Awful.

Writers are responsible for their words. They’re supposed to measure what they write, then measure it again and again and again. Sometimes, unfortunately, I fail to measure. An impulse shoots through my brain, and I fire away, press SAVE, then press PUBLISH. I have an idea of what I want to convey, but I don’t

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Fox producer cut Sherman because it was ‘getting dangerous'; supports Andrews

During a conference call today, Fox Sports producer Richie Zyontz explained why he abruptly cut away from the now infamous Richard Sherman interview with Erin Andrews.

“I saw a train coming down the tracks,” Zyontz said. “It was compelling television…It started crossing over a line that I did not want to see us go. Erin handled it very well, but I kind of said, ‘Let’s end this thing.’ He’s a good guy, an intelligent guy, an emotional guy and it was very compelling  to watch. But it started getting a little dangerous for us.”

That’s what I figured. It still is remarkable that Sherman could go off like that and not go on a F-bomb barrage.

However, Zyontz couldn’t be sure the language would stay within the acceptable realm for network TV. If Sherman did start unleashing the naughty words … Continue Reading

Hey, good news on ratings for Fox Sports 1; Baylor-OU leads to big week

Dumping on Fox Sports 1 for its lack of ratings figures to be good sport for quite a while on the media front. So the network will seize on any opportunity to report some good news.

As I have previously written, for all its studio shows and its version of SportsCenter, it is going to take strong live programming to drive viewers to Fox Sports 1. Fans will come for the game, race, or fight and then perhaps stay to sample other items on the network’s menu.

Last week was a perfect example. Here’s the official rundown from Fox Sports 1:


Powered by a record-setting audience for Oklahoma – Baylor, plus major UFC and NASCAR events, FOX Sports 1 posted its most-watched week ever from Nov. 4-10, both in prime time and total day.  The channel averaged 630,000 … Continue Reading