This particular blog entry pretty much is gonna write itself today. And it starts with a simple blog from yesterday, in fact.
I ran across a blog yesterday talking about a possible FN reality show. The working title was "FN: Survivor", or something like that. Anyway, they threw a reference to "Around the Horn" into this. That got me thinking about George Michael...and I don't mean the singer, either.
(Follow along, people. It's yet another excursion into DCSN's TV Land...)
No, this George Michael is the sportscaster in Washington (and NY before that). You know, the "Sports Machine"?? THAT?? Had to think about that one, right?? OK. On with our story...
We in the D.C. area had the pleasure of seeing George on our TV sets for 28 years on the NBC-owned station in Washington. Before that, he worked @ WABC in New York as the weekend sports guy. By now, you're asking yourselves "Just what the eff does George Michael have to do with 'ATH'??". The answer is, a LOT. Shall we dive into the deep end of our cesspool, everybody?? (Snorkels optional.)
In addition to being the weekday sports anchor, the aforementioned Mr. Michael also hosted various programming on Channel 4 in Washington. Among them, is "Redskins Report"...which during the winter months is called "Full Court Press". (Patience, gang. I gotta lay out a prima facie case here. This'll all make sense, believe me.)
Now, on "RR", there would be a panel made up of Sonny Jurgensen (the former Skins QB great), John Riggins, and two writers from the Washington Post...Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon. So far, so good. As I said before, during the winter the show went by "FCP", and Sonny and Riggo were replaced by David Dupree joining Kornheiser and Wilbon.
Now, this gets good...
One of the segments on "FCP" was called "Beat the Buzzer", where they would go around the panel to discuss a topic. (Around the panel?? "Around the Horn"?? Hmm...) Oh, did I neglect to mention they had 30 seconds to debate the topic?? (Wait a second. A clock?? Sorta like...oh, wait..."Pardon the Interruption"?? Gee, there's a thought...)
Would it be redundant of me to say that "Redskins Report/Full Court Press" has been seen here in Washington since...the mid-to late-'80s?? Kinda predates the "Sports Reporters" on ESPN, doesn't it?? Which leads me to my point, and the reason for this blog.
Since Kornheiser already was working for ESPN Radio in the '90s, the boys in Bristol had a idea: "Let's give Tony a TV show!!!. But, who to get to partner up with him?? How about...Wilbon??". Then they asked, "What do we call this mess??". I think you know the rest of the story...but if you're STILL confused, allow me to un-confuse you.
The very day "PTI" debuted (in October of 2001), I watched. 10 SECONDS into it, I saw the similarities between this and the "Beat the Buzzer" segment of "Full Court Press". The clock, for example. Then, months later, "Around the Horn" debuted on ESPN. AGAIN the similarities were blatant: one topic, debated amongst 4 sportswriters...in a roundtable-style discussion. I'm thinking to myself, "man, George Michael can collect boatloads of moolah from Disney if he'd just file a plagarism lawsuit!!!".
It's been 7 years. Both shows are still on ESPN. (And, "Stat Boy"--Tony Reali--is the host of "ATH". Go figure.)
If you've made it to this point, congratulations. You're braver men (and women) than I am, Gunga Din. Now, I'll sum this up in a nutshell...
The point I'm making is, we have television executives who are so goddamned lazy...that they've lost any sense of original thought when it comes to programming. No one wants to do research, to see if a programming idea is being done at the local level BEFORE you commit billions of dollars to put something on a fricking cable channel. I don't know why George Michael never bothered with a lawsuit, and I guess it's pretty much a moot point now. I don't even care any more.
For the record, I don't even watch either of these shows any more. I stopped years ago. But if any of you watch, now you know the REAL story behind them. I didn't write this to dissuade you from watching these shows; rather, I figured I'd perform a public service and give you the backstory. (After all, I've got to keep my VIP status in the 40/40 Club...can't give up the lap dances, you understand. LMAO)