Monday, July 24, 2006

Crazy Like FOX

You might have seen the adds on FOX promoting a new host for FOX NFL Sunday. With James Brown having moved to CBS to host their pre-game show, FOX is wisely trying to milk the suspense of who his replacement is for all they can. Tired of the suspense, the mainstream media is trying to put an end to that, and all signs point to one person.

The consensus amongst the mainstream media is that Joe Buck will be the replacement. Michael Heistand of USA Today agrees, and notes that Buck could pull double-duty in hosting and calling a game as well. The LA Times notes that Curt Menifee or Chris Myers would handle the half-time show, and likely the in-game updates as well.

I don’t mind Buck as a play-by-play guy, though I feel that he is much better at calling baseball than he is with football. Still, I can’t say the thought of him doing the studio show on top of his weekly game excites me at all. The most positive comment I can muster at this point is ‘he’ll probably be better than Jeanne Zalesko’. With that in mind, here are some other candidates that FOX should consider. In the end though, there's only one realistic choice for the job.

Stuart Scott
Booya! Who doesn’t feel that Stu has earned the shot to be the main studio guy? He’s entertaining, knowledgeable enough to connect with fans of all ages, and has performed well when given the shot on ESPN. Unfortunately for him, he’s blocked at the worldwide leader by the presence of Chris Berman, and Mike Tirico as well – who seems to be getting most of the prime announcing/hosting gigs that Boomer doesn’t. I think he’d be a great choice, and not just because he’d balance out the excessive whiteness of Terry Bradshaw. Unfortunately, I don’t think he’s going anywhere. He’s probably under contract with ESPN/ABC for the next little while.

Robin Roberts
I’m not sure if she’s still with the worldwide leader or not, but back in the day, she did a great job on NFL Primetime; she definitely held her own with Boomer and TJ. She’s knowledgeable and charismatic to pull it off, and if she’s available, would be an excellent choice. It’s also more likely that she could get out of her contract, since Stu plays a bigger role at ESPN than she does.

Chris Myers
As mentioned above, he will probably be involved in some form anyway. He used to host the FOX Sports preview show, and has filled in for JB from time to time. I’m not a huge booster, but he’s solid enough, and would be a decent, if unspectacular choice.

Teri Hatcher
She’s well known due to her comeback on Desperate Housewives, and showed great on-screen chemistry with Howie Long in their Radio Shack commercials from a few weeks back. Her presence as host may also appease women who complain about their husbands/boyfriends watching too much football. On the other hand, without a female ensemble cast around her, they may just complain about guys checking her out for an additional 60 minutes every week. It’s a risk.

Bill O’Reilly
He already works for another division of the company (FOX News), and turning NFL Sunday into a ‘no-spin zone’ would improve the quality of the program. However, he’d also probably be a polarizing choice among viewers. Also, if I wanted to watch someone yell a lot, I’d turn to CBS to listen to Shannon Sharpe.

O.J. Simpson
And you thought O’Reilly would be a controversial choice. But come on; don’t tell me you wouldn’t watch.

Jesse “The Body” Ventura
He has plenty of experience as an announcer, and has the personality to stand out on the show. But I’m not sure how familiar he is with the NFL. I’m kind of surprised he hasn’t surfaced on FOX News, come to think of it.

Jim Ross
Now here’s a wrestling personality who would be a great fit. JR used to call Atlanta Falcons games, so he has some familiarity with the sport. He’s also well known, and by and large well liked. Plus, we’d get to hear his serious voice whenever he conducted a sit-down interview as part of the show. Good god almighty, I think we’ve found a host! The only roadblock I can see is Vince McMahon, who may refuse to let him go, especially if he harbors secret thoughts of resurrecting the XFL.

Seriously now, there's an obvious choice, and he's available. I'm talking about none other than former ESPN anchor, and late night talk show host Craig Kilborn.

During his run on CBS with The Late Late Show, he proved he's as entertaining as almost anyone in the industry. If you disagree, read read these quotes and tell me they're not gold. I never got to observe him on ESPN or The Daily Show, but all the reviews I heard were positive. Also, I think he deserves an audition on the basis of his role in 'Old School' alone.

I don't think FOX will find anyone with the credentials from both the sports world and the entertainment world that Kilborn has. Count me in as a supporter for him as the new host of FOX NFL Sunday. It would motivate me to turn the channel from ESPN Gameday for the first time in years.

Ok. Good talk. I'll see you out there.


At 5:57 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Kilborn would be an awesome choice. I wonder if he would use Brass Bonanza to start every broadcast?


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