David Jones of PennLive.com has a devastatingly accurate take-down of ESPN’s NBA pre-game show. Read the whole thing. But here’s your highlight package.
ESPN is known for overproduction and stifling structure, of course. Look to your right, respond to the lead anchor, look back toward the camera, gesture with your hands to emphasize your point, look back at the lead anchor, summarize. It’s like they stamp their studio shows out on a factory line.
Still, if their NBA game-day show was any stiffer, they’d have to shoot it on Jim Nantz’s patio deck.
TNT’s crew of Ernie, Charles Barkley, Kenny “The Jet” Smith and Shaquille O’Neal is the barbecue, the kegger, the barbershop on Saturday. You’d better be ready and you’d better come with sufficient ammo or you will be shot down. Anything’s game, nothing’s taken too seriously.
But the point is, TNT’s crew has reached a point where they barely seem to realize they’re on TV anymore. That’s a great place to be.
ESPN, on the other hand, is the ultimate corporatized plastic production. Everything Disney touches seems churned out of a Powerpoint presentation and 12 conference calls.
It’s a lineup with no scorers. Where are the points coming from here? Why are these people together? Would they ever be in the same room in real life if not forced by circumstance? Like a stuck elevator, maybe.”
I’m sure ESPN will fall back on the “Hey, it’s only their first season together” excuse. But more time isn’t going to make magic happen with this crew. It’s the fact that ESPN has a terminal case of taking itself way too seriously. Coupled with a morbid fear of ever – even in the slightest way – making any player or team mad by something that is said about them on their airwaves.