Yesterday The Big Lead uncovered an ad passing out complimentary tickets for a new ESPN debate show taped in Los Angeles. The reaction from you to ESPN airing a new debate show was best described as cataclysmic fury with some even questioning why God hates us.
A quick check of my handy television guide shows no less than 6 debate shows on ESPN throughout the day already, or shows that feature debate like SportsNation and Outside the Lines.
-Numbers Never Lie
-Around the Horn
-Pardon the Interruption
-Outside the Lines
You also have shows that center on people talking about the stories of the day like the radio simulcasts of Mike & Mike, The Herd, and The Scott Van Pelt Show. There's also Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable and the daytime SportsCenters continue to push more towards analysis and discussion over highlights. Oh, and there's the 30 minute replay of FIrst Take, because 4 hours of torturing viewers isn't enough.
With all of those debate and talk shows is there really room for another debate show?
When you're ESPN, the answer is yes. YES!!! YES!!! YES!!! YES!!!!! YEEEEEEEEESSS!!!
So with this mysterious new ESPN debate show existing only as a prototype, perhaps never to even see the light of day, we want to help Bristol make sure this debate show is actually different than their 6,000 other debate shows. We want this new Los Angeles debate show to stand out from the crowd and not be just another half hour or hour that sucks the soul out of the American sports fan and sends us further into the abyss of mindless zombies who watch debate shows like trained seals. We want this debate show to be a success...
Scoring arguments is so passe. (C'mon Around the Horn, give us something fresh and interesting, like a pit of alligators for the losers or something.) What we need to do is put the contracts of the small village of ESPN analysts on the line. It's a simple idea. Take a dozen of ESPN's analysts who don't get the prime spots, the serfs of ESPN's feudal debate pyramid if you will. Guys like Kurt Rambis, Mark Mulder, Eric Mangini, Trevor Matich, Matt Stinchcomb, Lomas Brown, etc. This new show will be reality-based and a new analyst will be eliminated each week, never to see the glorious light of ESPN ever again. In the end, only one will keep his job to fill in the hours on ESPN's several other debate shows. Except, these debates will actually matter because this will be a fight to the finish!
Tebow vs LeBron
ESPN already talks about Tim Tebow and LeBron James ad nauseum in their debate shows, so why not just cut the crap and go all in. Every weekday ESPN analysts will debate the hottest sports stories of the day role playing as Tim Tebow and LeBron James! Finally there will be a legitimate excuse to treat every LeBron James tweet as news...
LEBRON ENDORSES MIGUEL CABRERA FOR MVP!!!! TIM TEBOW, WHY SHOULD MIKE TROUT WIN AL MVP?!?! OH MY GOD, TIM TEBOW ENDORSES MIKE TROUT FOR AL MVP!!!
Dream Job - Debate Redux
Remember the short-lived ESPN reality show Dream Job? Back then, people competed for their dream job of being an ESPN anchor (and the first winner Mike Hall is actually doing well for himself at BTN). No more. Nobody dreams of being a boring old SportsCenter anchor. That's so 1999. This is a new age and people dream of going on national television to troll and scream about nonsensical false realities. Dream Job - Debate Redux brings the old reality show to new life by giving Americans the chance to be the next Stephen A. Smith or Skip Bayless! Finally we'll have something worthwhile for the underbelly of sports fandom that posts their opinions in poorly made home Youtube videos!
ESPN Debating With The Stars
The best SportsCenter segment of the entire year was Mike Hill's trainwreck interview with Irish actor Liam Neeson about the New York Jets and Neeson having no idea what he was talking about. That kind of magic shouldn't be limited to celebrities hawking their movie or television show by going through the Bristol Car Wash. With the new debate show in Los Angeles, celebrities can debate each other about sports EVERY DAY! We all know ESPN loves nothing more than celebrity, and what sports fan alive doesn't want to hear the thoughts of some random actor from the new ABC sitcom premiere! I'd love to hear what the one guy from Modern Family thinks about A-Rod's benching. And for the purposes of crossover synergy, Len Goodman will score the debaters and judge the celebrity winner, because he's the only one I can handle on Dancing With the Stars and his accent is just plain charming.
Debating the Debates
ESPN has several hours of debate shows, but they have no show that covers the debate shows! This is a crime against humanity! ESPN loves to talk about and cover ESPN as much as anything and Around the Horn can't be the only show that scores the argument. We need results from the other debate shows, too. We need winners and losers. Every day. Debating the Debates will take a look at the highlights and lowlights from ESPN's daily arsenal of verbal artillery fire and debate who won the debates each day. Did Hugh Douglas get the best of Jalen Rose? How about the first segment of PTI? I know it sounds like a bit of a meta concept, like whoa man, debating about debates is trippy. But if we take Embrace Debate to its logical conclusion, this concept has to be in our future. Matthew Berry will also be on hand to give Fantasy Debate advice.
Wheel of Debate Destiny
By far the most popular option for ESPN's new debate show is the Wheel of Destiny. It's a simple concept - spin the wheel and let fate play its part in who debates what topics. Not only will we spin the wheel to decide debate topics (with 3/4th of the wheel being Tebow, LeBron, Kobe, and A-Rod), but we'll spin two more wheels to decide the debate participants! More wheels means more fun! What could be more entertaining than seeing ESPN analysts forced to debate sports topics completely outside their field of expertise. Just imagine the possibilities....
@awfulannouncing Lou Holtz and Gruden debating if Kobe is clutch.— The Warden (@hoops_fan) October 18, 2012
@awfulannouncingLee Corso and John Clayton debate who will win the 2013 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest; Kobayashi or Joey Chestnut— scott parrett (@separrett) October 18, 2012
@awfulannouncing Brad Daugherty and Keyshawn Johnson debate the World Series of Poker— Chapman Rackaway (@DocPolitics) October 18, 2012
@awfulannouncing John Kruk vs Marcellus Wiley on the Crossfit Games— John Wheat (@realjwheat) October 18, 2012
@awfulannouncing Dan Lebatard's dad and Skip Bayless on the cricket world cup...— Hayden (@HBoos55) October 18, 2012
@awfulannouncing John Kruk and Herm Edwards breaking down the WNBA draft— Mr. Alabama (@watkins15) October 18, 2012
@awfulannouncing Herm Edwards and Tommy Smyth debating Kobe vs. Lebron.— Matt Lichtenstadter (@JagsFan93) October 18, 2012
Forget the jokes, seriously, let's make the Wheel of Debate Destiny happen!
@awfulannouncing FIRST TAKE is POINTLESS! Skip & Steven A. never make a point & just continue to whine like their TAMPONS ARE IN SIDEWAYS!
@awfulannouncing "I don't watch ESPN studio shows" is the new "I don't watch porn." #alotofpeoplearelying
Some of these suggestions make me think "Bring back Fanarchy!"
At least now we don't have the 4 Downs segment on SportsCenter before Thursday night college football games between Mark May and none other than one Craig James. (Well, there is still a segment called Four Downs, but it's not the same.)
I actually liked that segment, even if it was the precursor to what First Take has become, because May and James actually had fun with the format while Skip and Stephen are so obnoxious it's almost self-parody; even more than ATH, it's the pro wrestling equivalent of these debate shows. PTI is awesome of course, and I actually find OTL First Report really interesting. And you have to admit Around the Horn is far better than the bullcrap on the Deuce; besides First Take, SportsNation can die in a fire, and I have no idea why Numbers Never Lie still exists.
What more can ESPN do for debate shows? The only one of their opinion guys I can think of without their own show is Bill Simmons, and PTI guest appearances aside, I don't see him as a debate show guy. I can't see any of their national radio guys like Ryen Rusillo moving to LA...
By the way, why aren't general news networks so obsessed with these sorts of debate shows??? We could actually use them there! Instead we have all these echo chambers with egotistical hosts! It's like if all the shows on sports networks were variants of Jim Rome's show! Someone hire whatever ESPN producer or bigwig is responsible for all this at CNN or something!
@awfulannouncing you left out the new show on ESPNU called Unite their foray into late night debate Makesme want to bash my head into a wall
.@awfulannouncing Or a best of 7 series of topics with Skip and Stephen A. in dunk tanks. Loser takes a dip.
Don't forget PMI (Pardon *My* Interruption) on what used to be the Doug Gottlieb show, where the hosts take a debate from PTI and then they argue about whether or not they agree with it.
@awfulannouncing call it morbid curiosity but I hope ESPN gives us First Take with SAS, Bayless, Parker & Cowherd, that'd be rock bottom
@awfulannouncing "Where in the World is Ron Mexico" Herm Edwards & Ron Jaworski have to figure out Mike Vick's travel itinerary
@awfulannouncing whoooooa now, I'm trying to get a Fan of Foresight for LHN. I don't need all my ideas out there for the taking.
@AndeWall you better be acting fast then because these ideas are sure to spread like wildfire, i just know it!
@awfulannouncing There is no such thing as NEWS channels anymore. Its all opinion based debate forums.