ABC: Anything but Conventional

By Shaffer, Jeffrey | The Christian Science Monitor, June 3, 2000 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

ABC: Anything but Conventional


Shaffer, Jeffrey, The Christian Science Monitor


I wouldn't be surprised if the folks at ABC decided to officially change the company name to Anything But Conventional. This is, after all, the network that decided to push the journalistic envelope by having Leonardo DiCaprio interview President Clinton about Earth Day.

And now the sports department has made an end run around standard practices by hiring comedian Dennis Miller for the Monday Night Football broadcast team.

It's hard to step outside these days without bumping into a new media paradigm. ABC Sports president Howard Katz was quoted as saying the changes on Monday night were intended "to remove some of the sameness. We wanted to reinvent a little bit." That's no great revelation. TV viewers have known for years that in sportscasting, the presentation rather than the game is often the real product. Unfortunately for ABC, the presentation of Monday Night Football has been slowly deflating ever since Howard Cosell departed.

My only quibble with Mr. Katz is his use of the terms "reinvent" and "little bit" in the same sentence. There's no reason to open a new door if you're just going to stick one toe across the threshold. Why not take a bolder approach and try to knock the whole barrier into a pile of splinters? That's what "Saturday Night Live" did when it debuted in 1975, and the show ended up transforming the structure of TV comedy.

If ABC wants people talking about Monday Night Football again, I'd suggest a maximalist strategy combined with the voyeuristic aspects of "Survivor." Select a wide range of announcers, each broadcasting directly onto the World Wide Web. Every week, the online audience would vote to pare down the field, with the final winners covering the Super Bowl. Some of the talent on my starting lineup would include:

*Gov. Jesse Ventura and Bobby Knight: Brash, opinionated, and outspoken, both have extensive sports backgrounds and plenty of experience when it comes to shouting into a microphone and tossing chairs around.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

ABC: Anything but Conventional
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?