Kornheiser takes buyout from Washington Post

May 14, 2008

Although he hasn’t written a column for The Post in what seems like forever, Tony Kornheiser made it official today — he’s taking a buyout and leaving the Washington Post. If you’ve paid attention, he’s made several hints at this on PTI over the past several weeks so this doesn’t come totally as a surprise, to me at least.

Nationally, Kornheiser is known obviously for his work on ESPN, particulalry PTI (one of my favorite shows) and Monday Night Football. But, before he became a “brand” he was one of the best columnists in the country who not only wrote about sports, but had a weekly column in the Post’s Style section. Those of us who grew up reading him can vouch to this. When he was in the zone, he could hang with the best of them and he’s combination of style, wit and general good writing made him a must read.

In recent years, he’s written less and less as other opportunities have presented themselves. People have blasted him for this, especially when his wingman, Mike Wilbon still writes somewhat regularly for the Post, but I can’t say I wouldn’t have done the same thing. A lot of the bashing comes from people who tend to have forgotten that TK has been working for the Post for nearly 30 years.

I wish him the best and, it’s not like he’s going anywhere. PTI’sstill going strong, his radio show is great and he still has MNF. But still, in the age of dying newspapers, it’s sad to see one I looked up to leaving. I’ll put his Bandwagon columns up against any series of sports columns past or present.

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Stephen A. debuts at ESPN The Mag

May 9, 2008

In the latest edition of ESPN the Magazine, basketball analyst and political pundit Stephen A. Smith’s new column debuted.  In case you missed it, Smith’s radio show ended a few weeks back and there was wide speculation that we was done at tWWL. But he has a new contract and, among his new roles, he will be a featured columnist on ESPN.com and in The Mag. In a way, aside from his many television roles, Smith is getting back to his roots as a writer. Say what you want about him, but in his hey day, he was a very good reporter and columnist, particularly in Philly. And plus, another black columnist in a major media publication and online entity is a good thing.


Candidate joins ESPN

March 11, 2008

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For all the criticism ESPN garners, whether deserving or not, one of their biggest accomplishments is maintaining a level of diversity. From ESPN.com to their many television entities, theirs is always adequate representation of different race, age and gender. Because of this tWWL provides different “voices” to its fans and accurately reflects the many fans who come to the site, listen to their programming and watch their shows.

But for all the good stuff, I still felt they needed more black female anchors in-studio in Bristol. While Lisa Salters is a recognizable face at various events, prior to last year, there were no black females on any of the network’s flagship shows. It is well-documented that current GMA anchor Robin Roberts was the first black anchor ESPN hired and over the course of her time at ESPN/ABC, she has set the standard for black female sports anchors.

Last year, ESPN hired Sage Steele and since then, Steele has become a familiar on “First Take”, which airs every morning on ESPN2.  While no Roberts, Steele is solid at her job and, in my opinion, is quite fashionable as well.

The newest black female on-air talent at ESPN is Reischea (REE-SHAY) Candidate (pictured). Maybe it’s because I don’t watch ESPNEWS that often, but today was the first time I’d seen her on air. Apparently, she’s been in Bristol for about a month or so. Candidate didn’t have to come far as she was most recently a sports anchor/reporter for WNYW FOX in New York.

It’s good to see ESPN making moves to hire a diverse team, including young, attractive black women. I wish Candidate the best and I hope she does well.

As as, you know, she doesn’t follow in the footsteps of the last black female anchor at ESPNEWS.

**Update: A reader points out that ESPNEWS anchor Cindy Brunson is also a talented minority female anchor. She completely slipped my mind. 


Carter to join ESPN

February 27, 2008

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Somehow, I missed this yesterday, but nevertheless, former Vikings All-Pro wide receiver Cris Carter is joining tWWL as a football analyst for their numerous platforms. I personally think Carter is a good addition and will fit in well, as he is more calm than his boisterous colleagues. Some say this is a reaction to the recent release of Sean Salisbury. Methinks this comes with the thinking that Keyshawn is more serious about returning to the NFL than he’s let on.

 From the ESPN release:

“Cris is a Hall of Fame caliber player and a tremendous analyst, and we are thrilled to welcome him to ESPN where he will give fans a true insider’s perspective on the NFL year-round across our various platforms,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, production.

Added Carter: “I am very excited to be joining ESPN and their talented group of NFL analysts. I have always felt connected to ESPN since they gave me an opportunity to do some television work during my playing career, and even while working at HBO, I have always admired and respected how they do things. I look forward to getting started in April.”


Emmitt likes Sen. Obama…a lot!

February 22, 2008

I came across this yesterday on Awful Announcing and found it rather interesting. Former Cowboy great and current ESPN analyst, Emmitt Smith was in Dallas earlier this week to “endorse” Presidential candidate Barack Obama. Smith, who’s often criticized for his on-air speaking troubles, actually does a good job in his short time on stage.

Enjoy!


Is Keyshawn leaving ESPN?

February 20, 2008

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Who didn’t see this coming?

As soon as Bill Parcells left ESPN to join the Miami Dolphins, the rumors started that Johnson wouldn’t be far behind. Now it appears that perception may soon be reality.

According to Yahoo! Sports, “MeShawn” has been training hard in Southern Cal in hopes of possibly landed with an NFL team this season. At 36, the obvious choice would be the Dolphins, but the Titans, who offered him a contract before he decided to go to ESPN, and Raiders are said to be interested.

Personally, I think Keyshawn has a couple of years left in the tank, but that’s not my concern.

If this pans out, it will be the second straight year ESPN will lose a popular, outspoken “analyst” Say what you will, but Johnson, in my opinion, is one of the best talents ESPN has. He knows his stuff and unlike where many of ex-players fail, he really gives a good sense of the players point of view. And, he’s controversial, which is good for ratings.

He is sort of like a watered down Michael Irvin, who was “let go” by ESPN the year before.

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“The Playmaker” was my favorite analyst by far. He was loud, arrogant, dressed “weird” and had outlandish opinions. To me, I ate it up, but others detested it. His “antics” along with his off the field troubles made some not like him and though it was not official, I believe those troubles where the reason he was let go.

So, for me, this would be a huge loss for tWWL if Keyshawn returns to the gridiron. If so, my early vote goes to Marcellus Wiley to replace him.


Who’s “our” go-to guy?

February 13, 2008

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Whenever there’s “Breakings News” whether in sports or not, there’s always that calm and familiar face and voice that you hope to see and hear in the time of crisis. For me, on the hard news side, I always turned to the late Peter Jennings, He was smooth, never got rattled and was always professional. Perhaps his greatest work occurred during and following Sept. 11, where he was on air seemingly forever.

On the sport side, whenever there’s breaking news or an important live event that’s taking place, ESPN’s Bob Ley is almost always the man for the job. One of the “originals” from the WWL’s early days, Ley’s professionalism sets him apart from his more hip and catch-phrase happy co-workers.  He asks the tough questions, has the endurance for however long the respective event takes place and has the delivery that reaches all age groups.

So that begs the question, from the minority perspetive, who is the go-to on-air personality for sports? Who’s that anchor, that “we” would feel comfortable in getting our information from in a crucial time.

The first name that comes to mind is Bryant Gumbel.  The former Today Show co-host made a name for himself with his smooth delivery on NBC’s pre-game shows and later on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, often called the best sports show on television. Gumbel has the cross-over appeal that works in his favor in appealing to a broad audience, which would, given the situation, make him my choice as the go-to guy for the minority sports media.