New Kilborn Show On Tonight With Hottie Sidekick

Craig Kilborn’s new TV talk show, foreshadowed here a couple months back, launches tonight on seven Fox owned-and-operated stations.

An Expansive Look At The New Craig Kilborn

(More on Kilborn’s “retirement”)

Kilborn talked about his hiatus from show business with Joe Flint of the LOS ANGELES TIMES:

“I enjoyed retirement the right way — linguine con vongole, red wine and plenty of truffle cheese. It was my Orson Welles stage. I feel like a French woman.

“I didn’t leave to do anything else, I left to leave.

“I thought late-night was crowded … the formats repetitive. I achieved my goals, and it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. My job is done here. I’m going to miss my best friends — my cameras.”

Mike Gibbons, head writer on Kilborn’s CBS show: “He was totally bored. He’d much rather do his comedy and not deal with three guests a night promoting their wares.”

Craig Kilborn The Kilborn File Co-Host Christine Lakin

ESPN Executive Editor John Walsh on Kilborn: “He worked real hard, especially in the beginning. He liked sports, but at a certain point and time he was going to move on. … He wanted a career that didn’t necessarily match up with ESPN and ‘Sports Center.’”

Flint reports, “about halfway through his time at ESPN, Kilborn came to Walsh with a script for a sitcom he wanted to pursue.

Where will Kilborn be in 18 months?

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Kilborn on why perhaps he hasn’t gone mainstream: “I don’t do well around the angry, bitter and emotionally fragile among us, which may eliminate 70% of the population. They say comedy comes from a dark place. Maybe 95% of the time it does, but it doesn’t for me. I’m a down-to-earth guy.Read more…

Tiger Drive On #7: Hit It a Little Too Craig Kilborn

Tiger’s tee shot on #7 at The Players yesterday:

Tiger Hits It a Little Too Craig Kilborn On #7

(Screen shot from Weiunderpar.com)

Craig Kilborn on the call:

Craig Kilborn Is Getting Back Into TV (If He’ll Fit)

Bill Carter of the NEW YORK TIMES reports today that former ESPN SportsCenter anchor Craig Kilborn has been tapped to host an “early evening” talk show to be syndicated across owned & operated Fox television stations.

An Expansive Look At The New Craig Kilborn

(Kilborn’s brand-new, expansive look)

Carter notes the “show is likely to get a trial run on local stations owned by Fox this summer.

So if you don’t live in a city where there’s one of those 17 Fox O & Os, you’re SOL. (Good Evening, Ocala!)

Read more…

Mystery Solved: Why ESPN Really Ditched Twitter

Eight days ago, I predicted that pro athletes would soon be banned from taking part in Twitter. And thanks to more than one Twitter-related reprimand during the first week of NFL training camp, some sort of formal embargo appears to be right around the corner.

George Bodenheimer - The Man Who Killed Twitter At ESPN

(’Guys, would you be cool with putting a washing machine on the desk?’)

But the draconian policy ESPN recently dropped on its staff, forbidding them all from Tweeting anything sports-related, surprised even the cynic in me.

But then I remembered 1998.

It was in 1998 that George Bodenheimer, a career ESPN ad sales guy, began overseeing all  programming at Bristol. Not coincidentally, Disney gave Bodenheimer the reins after Fox Sports launched a rival national sports network that same year - the first (and only) true competition ever lodged against ESPN.

Previously, ESPN had exploded in popularity under the guidance of Steve Bornstein, whose background was in programming. So why did Bodenheimer suddenly take over from Bornstein, who to that point had steered ESPN to wild success? Disney saw that Fox Sports Net was coming after ESPN’s advertisers, and wanted to have a salesman running the entire operation in order to best protect profits.

If you’ve ever worked in media, you know of the eternal battle between sales and programming. Sales wants to dumb down content to make it a more palatable commodity for advertisers, while programming wants to produce provocative content that will draw viewers/listeners/readers. I worked at innumerable radio and TV stations doing sports over 16 years, and I saw this fight play out at every single one of my stops.

So what does that all have to do with Twitter? A whole lot. Read more…

Has Bill Simmons Overplayed His Cards At ESPN?

What do Dan Patrick, Chris Myers, and Craig Kilborn all have in common? They were all once leading lights at ESPN, and now are nowhere to be seen in the national media, save the odd playoff game or overcrowded NBC set (as for Kilborn, check Bob Evans’ corner booth at Trader Vic’s.)

Bill Simmons

In short, all three left ESPN and have since seen their media careers go into decline. At least in my estimation. With the news from Daulerio today that Bill Simmons has quit his ESPN podcast, you wonder if he is about to suffer the same fate. Read more…