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|11-24-2009, 03:57 PM||#1|
Join Date: Feb 01, 2008
Location: Brooklyn, NY
TVSquad's Top 10 ESPN Sports Shows
TV Squad Ten: Top Ten ESPN shows from worst to first
Posted Nov 24th 2009
by Allison Waldman
It seems like ESPN has been around forever, doesn't it? Can you even remember a time when there hasn't been an ESPN to turn to for a score or breaking news or updates?
I can't. But along with the news ESPN provides, the ESPN brand has expanded to include a bunch of networks, a magazine, restaurants and lots of tchotchkes. But let's just look at the TV shows, shall we?
One note: SportsCenter is not included because it's more of a daily news show as opposed to the programs that are more talk and game-oriented.
Here's the top ten ESPN created shows, from the worst to the first.
10. SportsNation (July 2009 - present)
This is a relatively new daily show on ESPN with radio talker Colin Cowherd and Michelle Beadle co-hosting.
It's supposedly an interactive program with surveys that include the fans, but all the bells and whistles can't change the fact that Cowherd is an obnoxious know-it-all that dominates the conversation – when they have one.
It's new and shiny, but it's a mess.
9. Stump the Schwab (2004 - 2006)
The Schwab is Howie Schwab. This show isn't in production anymore, but that doesn't stop ESPN from broadcasting it.
Schwab was ESPN's first statistician and a trivia expert. Every game was like David and Goliath. Goliath won practically every time, making for a lousy game show. It was simply too difficult.
8. Jim Rome is Burning (2003-2004, - present)
Jim Rome is a raging egomaniac, and his half-hour daily show is a mirror.
He's got his own favorite phrases, he repeats his bits from radio, and he divides the news into bits and pieces so that nothing gets discussed with any depth.
Rome isn't burning, it's ashes.
7. Mike and Mike in the Morning (1998 - present)
There was a time when I really enjoyed Mike and Mike in the Morning, but it's devolved into a shtick-fest.
Mike Greenberg is Tony Randall and Mike Golic is Oscar Madison. They're a comedy team or they're The Odd Couple.
Occasionally they obsess over sports, but too much time is all about hit-and-run guests, parody songs and quibbling between the stars.
Also, it started as a radio show and still looks like one.
6. First Take (2007 - present)
Once called Cold Pizza, First Take now covers a lot of the stories in SportsCenter, but goes deeper.
They have some talking heads, including the snarky Skip Bayless. He's like Dr. Zachary Smith (Jonathan Harris) on Lost In Space, easy to hate.
The best part is 1st and 10, where specific, current topics of the day are debated.
5. Around the Horn (2002 - present)
Recently, 30 Rock mocked this show, calling it "Sports Shouters".
Around the Horn is a ridiculous contrivance of a show, but it's still fun. The idea of scoring the argument is completely subjective, and in fact, it's all window dressing for what is really a decent debate among professional sports columnists who know the subject matter very well.
If you can get past Woody Paige and Jay Mariotti winning too often – and the volume set to 11 – it's enjoyable.
4. The Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame... (2005 - 2007)
This is one of the programs that only ran a couple of years, like Stump the Schwab.
This one, however, I'd love to see revived. Brian Kenny hosted and the idea was to take a particular subject and present the arguments in an intelligent way.
For instance, the top five reasons you can't blame Bill Buckner for Boston losing the World Series.
Another one took the blame off Bartman. To me, this was a creative, entertaining show. I wish they'd bring it back.
3. Outside the Lines (1990 - present) and E:60 (2007 - present)
These two share a spot as the most comprehensive, serious sports shows on the ESPN nets.
Bob Ley is one of the two original anchors still with ESPN, and he's remained a strong presence with Outside the Lines.
E:60 is the new, magazine style program that tries – and succeeds – in doing 60 Minutes type stories.
2. Pardon the Interruption (2001 - present)
Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser were sports columnists at the Washington Post when PTI began in 2001.
As Wilbon tells it, he and Tony would have these debates about sports in the newsroom and somebody saw them doing it one day and told them it belonged on TV.
They're kind of like Siskel and Ebert, only instead of talking about movies, Wilbon and Kornheiser go over the daily sports headlines. Like Gene and Roger, Mike and Tony are very entertaining just talking to each other.
1. The Sports Reporters (1988 - present)
On Sunday mornings, while CBS, NBC, CNN and ABC are presenting political talk by pundits and news pros, ESPN offers the best sports talk show of the week, The Sports Reporters.
Don't tell me that the columnists on this show are akin to Around the Horn. They're not. Comparing The Sports Reporters to Around the Horn is like comparing Meet the Press to The Hollywood Squares.
John Saunders hosts the civilized, smart discussion, usually with reporters like Mitch Albom, Mike Lupica and Bob Ryan.
Its not flashy or high-tech; it's just very thought-provoking and good television.
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