Is SportsCenter getting a bit stale? Author of Those Guys Have All The Fun, Jim Miller, seems to think so as he tweeted out some thoughts on ESPN's signature program this week.
Predictable & compelling talent pairings will be key to growing audience, along w/info previously unavailable. Not just highlights.— James Andrew Miller (@ESPNBook) May 17, 2012
Random talent scheduling hurt SC. For starters, get pairings we want to hang with; sked them regularly; let them have personalities.— James Andrew Miller (@ESPNBook) May 17, 2012
Miller would go on to list off some memorable SportsCenter pairings and point out the SportsCenter LA talent (usually Neil Everett and Stan Verrett) seems to fit the bill of "pairings we want to hang with."
If you haven't read Miller's book (which you really should), a good portion of it went into how ESPN makes a concerted effort to keep their on air talent costs down with a lot of that effort being focused on the top tier of SportsCenter anchors.
Having had messy divorces with Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick in addition to a lot of money spent retaining Chris Berman, ESPN has made it a priority to not elevate personalities and pairings to rise above the SportsCenter brand.
Miller also hints that highlights have become so accessible, SportsCenter could use some type of influx of data and info that viewers may not be able to glean from a condensed highlight reel.
On both points, I certainly concur and have for awhile have felt that SportsCenter has become a bit stale.
A full hour with a variety of segments that have no appeal to me whatsoever, I've been slowly weening myself off SportsCenter the past couple of years and I'm not alone.
Over the past couple of months I've heard a lot of people I know admit to DVRing shows like PTI and Around The Horn. I found this a bit odd and pressing for more details, a good chunk of folks told me their motivation for doing so was so that they "Could know what's going on in sports without watching SportsCenter anymore."
Is PTI, a show built on chemistry and personality, cannibalizing SportsCenter's audience?
On the west coast, these shows air while most are working so that wasn't too big of a surprise to me, but I was surprised to hear how many people I knew on the east coast were also using this practice to avoid SportsCenter. I'd be curious to hear how many of you, have been winding down dependency on SportsCenter as well.
My declining interest in the show is a mix of things. Twitter and the web give me a lot of these stories hours before, it's a full hour often with a lot of fluff and hyping of upcoming ESPN games, no host or pairing of hosts really is a "must watch" although I have to admit I think there is a very talented stable already present (and the move to re-sign Scott Van Pelt is possibly a change in course towards using more established personalitites more consistently).
It's like the X-Men, but without Wolverine. I am not going out of my way to see a movie about Rogue.
Most of my viewings of SportsCenter is when I'm dying to see something in particular so I can usually dip out without watching the full hour. It's also a pretty consistent show to watch when nothing is on given how often it airs. That said, unlike SportsCenter, Seinfeld reruns seem to never get old and are on a handful of hours in the day.
What are your thoughts? Is SportsCenter in need of pairings that resonate more with viewers? What can they do to adapt to the times? What anchor if any do you make an effort to watch? What do you DVR on ESPN?