A few years back, I read Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller’s riveting Live From New York: An Unauthorized History Of Saturday Night Live. Told almost entirely through excerpted interviews, the book is both a fascinating look at all the major players involved and the preeminent history of the greatest sketch comedy show in the history of television. Now its authors are giving the same treatment to SportsCenter, and if early quotes are any indication, the oral history threatens to implode the friendly image ESPN has so carefully cultivated surrounding its flagship brand.
Entitled Those Guys Have All The Fun, the book chronicles the history of SportsCenter told through those who lived it. Nostalgic, bitter, confused and proud, the anchors seem nothing, if not passionate, when recounting their various tenures at Sportscenter in the few segments published today. Perhaps my favorite involves the controversy over Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann’s calling the program “The Big Show”. They were warned repeatedly not to do so in executive meetings; so, apparently, as a big middle finger, Olbermann started saying, “This is SportsCenter.” Of course, that phrase went on to launch arguably the most successful promos in the history of television.
Those Guys Have All The Fun comes out in hardback on May 24th. Head on over to GQ to read the full excerpt. Then take a look at the commercial below and marvel at the goofy message the network is trying to give off…
Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, the NBA and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.
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