Friday, 19 December 2003

“Pizza” still leaving me cold

Due to the power of TiVo, and my general laziness clearing out my Season Pass list, I’ve had a Season Pass for ESPN2’s “Cold Pizza” two-hour morning show since it started (set to “Keep At Most: 1” so I only kill two hours of space). That isn’t to say I’ve watched every show, mind you; many days, it goes straight into the digital dustbin. But, I’ve given it a shot, and it’s time to review the “good” and “bad”:

  • Jay Crawford, the male co-host, is moderately competent.
  • Kit Hoover, the female co-host, reminds me of an Ole Miss sorority girl—and a none-too-bright one, at that. (Plus, whatever variant of a southern accent she has is downright painful to listen to.)
  • Leslie Maxey, the newswoman, is stuck with the thankless task of newsdrone. She seems reasonably competent when not reading the equivalent of the “local news digest of the national news” from the teleprompter, though.
  • Thea Andrews, the catch-all person (I think her actual title is “national correspondent”), seems competent enough, plus she has sort of a Lauren Graham thing going on—as Dave Letterman would say, she’s “easy on the eyes”—and (IMHO) did a better job than Hoover when called on to fill in as co-host once.
  • The “guest people do the weather” schtick doesn’t work at any level. Just pay Greg Proops whatever he asks to get him to do the job permanently—or let Andrews do it.
  • Whoever thought this show needed a “sideline reporter” should be thrown in a spider hole in Iraq, along with the guy who does it. Apparently, it’s supposed to be funny to have a Jewish guy as the sideline reporter. Newsflash: it isn’t.
  • Silly question for Disney: if you’re going to do a morning show, wouldn’t it make more sense to have it in ESPN, a.k.a. “The Mothership,” where it’ll get better ratings?
  • Make the frickin’ show more about sports, and less like an obsessively tame version of “The Man Show.”

Frankly, if ESPN wants to do something better in the morning, I think the thing to do is something more like the Saturday and Sunday morning SportsCenter, maybe with a dash of the style of The NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access” (ironically, hosted by Rich Eisen, who was originally interested in the “Cold Pizza” gig): something more casual, but clearly a sports show for the morning viewer rather than a morning show that talks about sports. Put Crawford and Andrews in a casual studio, bring in guests, and have an experienced SportsCenter or ESPNews anchor (Michael Kim?) on hand for sports headlines and highlights at the top and bottom of the hour.