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Oct 14th 2006

ESPN’s obsessions: cross-promotion and terrell owens

first, terrell owens. ESPN has become the channel for “all TO, all the time.” thank goodness i tivo sportscenter so i can fast-forward through most of it. their coverage is football-heavy as it is–so much time is devoted to the odd-shaped ball that they have time to give helpful hints to viewers, as if the viewers are coaching the team (“to win against baltimore this week, the saints are going to have to score touchdowns.”). add to this terrell owens’ drama queen behavior of late, and things are even worse.

it’s so ridiculous that my wife has noticed it, and her only exposure to sportscenter is watching me fast-forward through the 60 minute program searching in vain for any NHL highlights. today, while anchors and analysts blathered on for 40 minutes (fortunately, i fast-forwarded) analyzing cowboys receiver terrell owens’ “heated” discussion with the cowboys wide receivers coach, she remarked:

they should rename ESPN “ESPOwens.”

and while i’m in a criticizing mood, i’ll say how sick i am of ESPN’s, ABC’s, and disney’s shameless cross promotion. i can tolerate the occasional out-of-place interview of owen wilson on sportscenter to promote a (cartoon) disney movie. i can accept (i guess) a drawn-out and uncomfortable PTI conversation about why jerry springer should win ABC’s “dancing with the stars” (kornheiser: “because maybe some of the female dancers will get in a fight and rip each other’s shirts off like on his talk show”) and i can stand an interview with the coma guy from ABC’s desperate housewives on ESPN’s monday night football, where the commentators, sounding a little bit like prison inmates, gratuitously fawn over teri hatcher and the other “hot” housewives.

i understand what the ESPN / ABC / disney media family is doing. i’m sure the strategy is very successful for them. i just feel a little insulted that they do this so often and don’t think anyone notices. there is a simple remedy: start and end every cross-promotion segment with a short statement:

the following/preceeding is/was a promotional segment, meant to expose viewers of ESPN to ABC / ABC to ESPN / ESPN to disney / ABC to disney and that is why we are letting tony kornheiser and joe theismann discuss on national television what they want to do to tony parker’s girlfriend. thank you.

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