I wonder how things would have been different with The Empire if the Death Star had hired an ombudsman. Darth Vader would not have curtailed his strangling of subordinates, I fear. The ombudsman’s office would have been tiny, probably right next door to the garbage compactor. And speaking of that, Don Ohlmeyer began his reign as ESPN ombudsman today, rolling out his debut column in which he tackled (eventually) the network’s non-coverage of the Ben Roethlisberger sexual assault civil case.
Ohlmeyer, the venerable television director/producer who had legendary stints at NBC and ABC, apparently thinks he’s getting paid by the word; and who knows, he may be. His first column for ESPN is a massive tome, reminiscent of the Russian classics, or my phone book. Eventually, toward the end, he gets to what we all want to read: ESPN’s recent handling of Roethlisberger. After thousands of words laying the groundwork, he gave his verdict.
“Who Wants to be a Millionaire” returns to ABC this summer for an eleven-episode “event”: Regis Philbin will reprise his role as America’s money tease in hopes of attracting eyeballs inexpensively with otherwise mundane content presented breathlessly.
(”… and that’s how I parlayed a ridiculous catchphrase into a house in the Hamptons and a production shingle at Sony. Now go get ‘em, Irish!”)
Of course, ABC smothered the franchise a decade ago by discovering they had a massive hit almost accidentally and then riding Regis like a thoroughbred until the show collapsed from overexposure and shuffled off to syndication while Regis was sent back to his daypart pasture. However, programmers never learn, which is why ABC (via ESPN) and the NFL seem bent on ruining the NFL Draft by expanding it to three days and showing it in prime time.
Remember the 1980s pre-reality era must-see show “Superstars”? You know, the one that pitted celebrities against each other in athletic events that were way over their head, after being half-coached, half-prodded and laughed at by professional athletes turned teammates? Well, thanks to a wildly successful British revival of the program last year, ABC has jumped on board to roll out six new episodes this summer, according to VARIETY.
(Oh Superstars, how we’ve missed you.)
The best part about the new ABC run is its plan to stick to the shows original premise, pitting the celebrities/athletes against each other, not in group-styled teams (think just about every MTV reality show).
There’s no word on which celebrities might take part, but given the current economic climate there’s real potential for terrific theater here. Usain Bolt trying to race a kayak? It could happen. Michael Phelps in a boxing ring? We might even bet on him (after all, he’ll do anything for the cash). Hell, former champions include Bode Miller, Jason Sehorn and Herschel Walker, so you’re probably a lot safer picking a football player, but there’s always a decent shot at an upset when no one knows what the hell they’re doing.
Imagine that. For a monolithic network famous for its perceived inattentiveness to viewer concerns, ESPN/ABC may finally be listening to its audience. Over the years, the Monday Night Football broadcast booth had been host to a steady stream of politicians, musicians, celebrities and assorted individuals unrelated to the product on the field. That’s changing.
Writes the ORLANDO SENTINEL’s Dave Darling: “ESPN says it has listened to viewers and promises the show will be more about football with fewer distractions this year, dropping the booth visits by everyone from presidential candidates to ABC network stars”
It’s those ABC network stars that probably have most people huffed up. Read more…
Some links from all around as I sweat out the California heat wave without A/C:
• PRO FOOTBALL TALK divulges that Adam “Don’t Call Me Pacman” Jones is defaulting on the mortgage on his Tennessee home.
(This bedroom is part of the home that could be yours if you show up at the courtroom auction.)
• Mr. Jones is not alone on the real estate issues front, as THE BIG LEAD writes on the California real-estate company that’s on the down and out after getting investments from jocks like Matt Light, Roy Halladay, and Vladimir Guerrero.
• The IRISH BAND OF BROTHERS discovers Notre Dame is having some issues finding an alum willing to take on its vacant athletic director position. (Duties include keeping Charlie Weis’ chocolate fountain flowing at all times.)
• Gotta love Redskins TE Chris Cooley – via his COOLEY ZONE blog, he lets us in on his upcoming Eastern Motors ad, and is even looking for nicknames to use in the ad, too.
, Boston Celtics
, Boston Red Sox
, Chris Cooley
, Customized Cars
, Dallas Cowboys
, Jelly Wrestling
, New York Knicks
, Pacman Jones
, Paul Pierce
, Real Estate
, Renaldo Balkman
, Washington Redskins
FANHOUSE notes the difficulties of working for a student newspaper covering big-time college sports. (See, kids, it’s not just the adults taking crap!) THE DAILY TEXAN sports writers have taken quite a bit of abuse for reporting student-athlete arrests, receiving veiled and really-not-so-veiled threats from the Athletics Department, students, and boosters.
FANHOUSE also adds this isn’t even the first Big 12 school to take abuse from the local teams, citing Bo Pelini’s snit fit against THE DAILY NEBRASKAN.
Another member of the AOL blogging family has the solution and we’re here to get these crazy kids together. FANHOUSE, meet TV SQUAD. They spotted ABC NEWS putting bureaus on five university campuses for graduate students and upperclassmen to participate in, creating stories for ABC NEWS online and for television. Guess which university is on that list?