Kevin’s Blog: The English Premier League Review Show

On my Twitter feed Monday I saw a bunch of tweets about a fantastic goal that was scored by Pajtim Kasami during the Fulham at Crystal Palace soccer match. I looked forward to seeing it since I have the English Premier League Review Show set on my DVR. I don’t care if you like soccer or not. If you don’t like the athleticism displayed in the video clip, do me a favor and cease watching sports. After watching the goal last night, I knew I needed to write a post that I’ve wanted to write about this show.

The first order of business is the fact that you never, ever see the announcers. I’d be fine with seeing them as they came in and out of segments but it’s really not necessary. I want to see highlights of the sports that I enjoy. Not Bob Ley. Or Kenny Mayne. Or even a super short skirted Hannah Storm. The EPL Review show delivers by having a voice over guy do the work. He is recognizable and does well transitioning from game to game.

The main point of this article though is the dismal state of highlights show in the US. I used to watch CNN for the highlights at :28 & :58 on the hour. Then I moved on to Sportscenter for a long time. For the last several years, I’ve been looking at recaps online because Sportscenter decided that interviews and behind the scenes pieces were more important. I had some hope that when NBC re-branded Versus into NBCSports that I’d have some luck. I did for about three months when they aired “The ‘Lights” but it hasn’t aired since the Stanley Cup Finals. “The ‘Lights” did employ the unseen host which made me mourn it’s possibly temporary demise. I had some hope earlier this year when Fox Sports 1 was launched. My thought process as always “Let’s give Fox Sports Live” a chance. Unfortunately, they didn’t even give me three months of pleasure.

Hannah Storm

The EPL Review Show fills the void that is left by the sports world in the US. I don’t feel like getting into who’s the blame for this phenomenon, whether it’s the mother ship ESPN (chicken) or the people who clicked out of what I enjoy (egg). So the show doesn’t have a host and shockingly enough, shows highlights for the 46-52 minutes of programming that are left after commercials. I love it. They show highlights of every game in the league that week but they’re smart enough to air less highlights if the game was a snoozfest even if one of the teams is a marquee name like Manchester United. If two teams like Fulham and Crystal Palace, near the bottom (Fulham) or at the bottom (Palace) of the table, end up having a highlight worthy match, they get 10 minutes of match highlights like they did on last night’s show.

I know people might refer me to Red Zone for the NFL as a comparative show but I don’t like just seeing the scoring. These highlights show slick plays that may have resulted in a shanked kick that should have been a goal. Or a good move at midfield that may not have had an impact on the score line at all. I like to think of it in a similar vein as what the Tuesday Morning Quarterback Gregg Easterbrook calls “Hidden Plays” which are “Hidden plays are ones that never make highlight reels, but stop or sustain drives”. Well, some of those plays do make the highlight reels in the EPL Review Show because they dedicate the proper amount of time to the game they are covering, not the people in the game they are covering.

I can praise this show all I want, but I get an odd feeling that TV executives at NBC, ESPN or Fox aren’t going to be listening to my carping. That’s okay because I’m a glass half full guy. What I’ll do is sit down every week and enjoy highlights from the most fantastic soccer league in the world. I’ll also get to see a second highlight goal from Steve Sidwell in Fulham, not long after Kasami’s goal of the year candidate. – Kevin

The Walking Hines Ward

hineswardzombie

Picture from Getty & AMC

Hines Ward was forced into retirement by the Pittsburgh Steelers before this past season. Well, not officially really but seriously? Come on. (Should I put a Super Bowl reference in here just to get some extra hits?) That hasn’t kept him from getting his Cheshire Cat grin more TV time. First it was NBC to do football commentary and then it was on to Rachel vs Guy: Celebrity Cook Off. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he’s going to be a zombie on the second half of season three of The Walking Dead. How did he get this part? Let’s use Ward’s own words?

A former Georgia teammate of mine is one of the stars of the show, and my agent thought it would be something fun and different for me to do

Who is this star you might ask? It’s T-Dog who is famous for, um, well, being a black man and making it to season three of a show that kills off regular characters at a high frequency. They won’t get to act together since The Walking Dead has an unofficial rule where you can only have one black guy at a time so T-Dog got killed off in the first half of season 3. Tyresse will be taking over the reigns in the black character department. I wonder if Hines will get to eat his brains for taking over his friend’s spot? -Kevin

Amy Weber Nude, Iowa vs Michigan, Knee Injury & Hurricane Sandy Aftermath

I couldn’t find the real deal so I borrowed from TMZ permanently.

According to TMZ, Amy Weber has released nude photos because her lap top was stolen. They were from a Playboy shoot that never made it into the sticky pages under my mattress. You might remember her from her role in JBL’s Cabinet. I had to look it up on Wikipedia to make sure one of my Sippy Time Beers hadn’t dislodged a memory of an average WWE Diva.

According to Derrick Bateman’s Twitter (by way of Prowrestling.net) he is out for an undisclosed amount of time because of another knee surgery. I bring him up because he was signed away from then Pro Wrestling Ohio about five years ago. I haven’t seen him much so I won’t critique his work but isn’t five years enough to know if a guy will cut it or not in the WWE? I know it takes a while to learn the ropes but the time frame seems like plenty. If only the WWE had enough TV time to find a spot for him when he got healthy.

Master thief Joel Luke pleaded guilty to fifth degree theft for swiping the TNA Title and thus bringing great shame to the state of Iowa. He will get two years of probation. If only he could have waited for TNA’s next trip through the state for such an opportunity. He could have stolen the new Jeff Hardy Belt and done all wrestling fans around the country a favor. Yes, even those fans that clearly spend money only on Munchos and Cheez Whiz with backpacks full of Faygo but still have enough government assistance left over to drive to Orlando from Michigan just to see that garbage company.

For those of you concerned about your Friday viewing habits because of NBC’s coverage of a Superstorm Sandy benefit concert, don’t worry, be happy. As of now, you can watch replays of one third of Raw and an hour of Smackdown starting at it’s regularly scheduled 8 PM time slot. -Kevin

Stunt Granny Audio #153


Hey kids! Dusty and Eric are back with the second audio of the week. They put in their four collective cents about Matt Hardy, including how his friends are enabling him, his brother is still a much bigger star than he’ll ever be, and how TNA should just implode itself and blame in on the Hardys. They also discuss Todd Grisham leaving WWE for ESPN, Monday Night Raw’s low rating and the factors that may have played a part, and possible story arcs for the new pro wrestling TV drama with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jerry Bruckheimer as executive producers. Wow, it’s a loaded show! And it’s good, too! As good as Kerry Collins is at quarterback!

Stunt Granny Audio Show #153

NBC Buys Dwayne Johnson-Jerry Bruckheimer 1980s Wrestling Drama

We interrupt the Matt Hardy News Network to bring you this press release:

NBC is getting in the ring with a put pilot commitment to a drama about the 1980s professional wrestling boom that is executive produced by one of the biggest ’90s wrestling stars, Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock. The fictional drama set in the world of wrestling in the ’80s hails from Bruckheimer TV, marking a departure from the company’s signature brand of procedurals. It will be written by Brent Fletcher and Seamus Kevin Fahey (Spartacus: Gods of the Arena), who will co-executive produce alongside KristieAnne Reed. Johnson, Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman are executive producing.

The ’80s, often called “the golden age of wrestling”, marked a surge in the popularity of professional wrestling in the U.S. fueled by the growth of cable television and pay-per-view and the efforts of hot-shot promoters like Vince McMahon. During that period, pro wrestling shifted from a system controlled by numerous regional companies to a system dominated by two nationwide companies: Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling and McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation. It featured the launch of WrestleMania and the emergence of wrestling’s first crop of superstars led by Hulk Hugan. The project extends the popularity of period dramas among the broadcast networks, which have two such series, the 1960s-set Pan Am on ABC and The Playboy Club on NBC, premiering this fall. It also expands wrestling’s presence at NBCUniversal. NBC’s sibling network USA carries WWE Raw as well as the revival of WWE Tough Enough. This is the third sale and third put pilot commitment for Bruckheimer TV so far this development season. The company recently set up a Navy SEALs drama at ABC and a procedural about a mom-turned-New York State Trooper at CBS. Fahey previously worked with Bruckheimer TV as a writer on the ABC series The Forgotten.

Hulk Hugan? This is going to be a resounding success. – Dusty

WWE Smackdown to move to SyFy, so it’ll still be on TV, so stop whining

broken tv

Calm down, bucky, Smackdown will still be on the air.

According to the LATimesBlogs.com site (by way of Prowrestling.net), SyFy has bought the rights to air WWE Smackdown and will begin airing the program in October. SyFy (which is owned by NBC Universal, parent company of USA, which airs Monday Night Raw, and NBC, which occasionally airs WWE specials like the Tribute to the Troops and Saturday Night’s Main Event) is reportedly coughing up $30 million for the rights to Smackdown (which will remain on Friday nights). So for those of you armchair watchdogs who fear for WWE when they don’t have a network television presence, stop it, because a) WWE is a business and it just sealed a $30 million deal, and b) its network options were limited and they landed on a cable network that has about as much penetration as MyNetworkTV (yuck). And anyway, c) cable television is way better than network television. Smackdown could have gotten the Jay-Leno-death-knell 10 p.m. ET timeslot, been a terrible lead-in for the 11 o’clock news and then been canceled altogether. Instead, it’s on the same network as “Battlestar Galactica,” one of this past decade’s most revered and touted cable shows (and “Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, the greatest megalodon flick since Godzilla vs. Mothra”). So consider us lucky.

(And according to this Dot Net link, the move spells the end for WWE NXT come the new fall season, which is too bad, since NXT was the most interesting program WWE had created in a while. But it at least forces WWE’s hand and gives them a deadline to figure out how to finish the NXT season. Shit, I’m still wondering who raised the briefcase on Steve Austin at King of the Ring 1999, so some finality here would be nice!) -Eric

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