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maandag 27 augustus 2012

ESPN Journalistic Standards: The Emperor No Longer Wears Clothes

For quite some time, ESPN has been the know-all, tell-all leader in sports media. But times change and companies rise and fall. Because of missteps and competition, it looks like the king might have a rebellion on his hands.

Disney created a beast in ESPN. It grew to incredible heights very quickly and in the process nearly monopolized sports news and entertainment. Look at its accomplishments: it defined the highlights show with “SportsCenter,” created the ESPYs and found a niche for extreme sports with the “X-Games.” Its reach and business decisions helped it determine the fates of many sports and college conferences.

But ESPN isn't what it once was. It's become a bloated bastion of hyperbole. Instead of giving us the highlights and sound bites, the network is shoveling hours of mindless dreck into our TVs. Needless to say the journalistic standards have suffered.

The decline in news quality can be directly attributed to conspicuous conflicts of interest. ESPN covers sports leagues journalistically but also pays them billions of dollars in rights fees to broadcast their games. As ESPN has won the rights to more sports, it has started covering athletes as if they were promotional ideas. By playing things both ways it has become a shell of its former self.

Let’s look at the crimes ESPN has perpetrated against the American sport-loving public:

2005 – Hockey Coverage

After the strike of 2004-05 ESPN decided not to renew its agreement with the NHL. Sports rights change hands all the time, but since its decision ESPN, seems to have made a conscious effort to put hockey coverage on the back burner. The attitude seems to be, "If we don’t have the rights, the sport is not important." And ESPN executives have said as much. Vince Doria, ESPN's senior vice president and director of news, was quoted this year saying that hockey “doesn't translate to television, and it really doesn't transfer as much as a national discussion, which is something that typifies what we do.”

2009 – Ben Roethlisberger Rape Allegations

Like many athletes, the Pittsbugh Steelers quarterback appeared in ESPN's "This is SportsCenter" promos. ESPN soft-shoed coverage of the rape allegations against him, and there was a sense among critics that the network didn't want to offend him.

2010 – “The Decision”

Lebron James' made-for-TV fiasco damaged ESPN’s credibility as a news organization. Although it took James only 12 seconds to announce his decision that he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat, ESPN endlessly hyped and overpackaged the announcement. As David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun wrote, “ESPN led the way in some of the most debased sports coverage I can remember seeing. The hype was shameless, the lack of perspective colossal.”

2010 – The Longhorn Network

ESPN created the Longhorn Network with the University of Texas, giving it $300 million over twenty years to exclusively show Texas sports, including football games.

TV Tonight 27th of August 2012

The daily list in alphabetical order, of all the new episodes airing.

    Adam Buxton's TV Bug S01E08: "Episode 8"
    Adventure Time with Finn and Jake S04E20: "You Made Me!"
    Alphas S02E06: "Alphaville"
    American Pickers S04E26: "Pickers in the Attic"
    Bachelor Pad S03E06: "Season 3, Episode 6"
    Beaver Falls S02E04: "Series 2, Episode 4"
    Beyond Scared Straight S03E02: "Jacksonville, FL (Boys)"
    Big Brother (AU) S09E13: "Season 9, Episode 13"
    Big Brother's Bit on the Side S05E13
    Bizarre Foods S07E16: "The Other Florida"
    Border Wars S04E08: "Tunnel Smoke-out"
    Breaking News med Filip & Fredrik S02E05: "27/8"
    Britain's Next Top Model S08E08: "Series 8, Episode 8"
    Burnistoun S03E03: "Series 3, Episode 3"
    Can Of Worms S02E02: "Season 2, Episode 2"
    Celebrity Big Brother S10E17: "Series 10 - Day 12 Highlights"
    Celebrity Masterchef S07E11: "Series 7, Episode 11"
    Celebrity Wedding Planner S02E02: "Series 2, Episode 2"
    Chelsea Lately S06E135
    Chitose Get You!! S01E09: "Episode 9"
    Citizen Khan S01E01: "Episode 1"
    Conan S02E129: "Dax Shepard, Wendy Williams, Silversun Pickups"
    Coronation Street S53E172: "Mon Aug 27, 2012 [Episode 2]"
    Coronation Street S53E171: "Mon Aug 27, 2012 [Episode 1]"
    Daybreak S02E250: "August 27, 2012"
    Days of our Lives S47E195: "Ep. #11905"
    Deal Or No Deal (UK) S08E13: "Episode 2006"
    Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives S15E04: "Surf 'N' Turf Jackpot"
    EastEnders S28E135: "August 27, 2012"
    Emmerdale S41E201: "August 27, 2012"
    Färjan S04E02: "Bartendern Håkan är tillbaka ombord"
    Frontline Police S01E03: "Episode 3"
    Gallery Girls S01E03: "Wild Child"
    General Hospital (US) S50E104: "#12632"
    Grimm S02E03: "Bad Moon Rising"
    Halv åtta hos mig S09E05: "Stockholm - Pontus"
    Hell's Kitchen (US) S10E18: "4 Chefs Compete"
    Hollyoaks S18E171: "August 27, 2012"
    Hollywood Heights S01E51: "Eddie's Inspired"
    Home and Away (AU) S25E156: "Episode 5591"
    Horizon S51E04: "How Big Is the Universe?"
    Hotel cæsar S29E37: "Season 29, Episode 37"
    Hotel Hell S01E04: "Keating Hotel"
    House Hunters S50E46
    House Hunters International S34E42
    Hunderby S01E01: "Episode 1"
    Hyouka S01E19: "A Person with Idea"
    Intervention S13E04: "Dennis"
    James May's Things You Need to Know S02E03: "about Evolution"
    Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita S01E09: "Season 1, Episode 9"
    Late Show with David Letterman S19E117
    Live with Kelly S29E247
    Lizard Lick Towing S02E25: "Season 2, Episode 25"
    Locked Up Abroad S06E19: "Busted in Bangkok"
    Lorraine's Fast, Fresh & Easy Food S01E03: "Simple Classics"
    Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta S01E11: "Reunion, Part 1"
    Major Crimes S01E03: "Medical Causes"
    Modern Marvels S17E11: "Mega Food Countdown"
    Neighbours S28E166: "Episode 6476"
    New Tricks S09E01: "A Death in the Family"
    Oda Nobuna no Yabou S01E08: "Golden Liberty City: Sakai"
    Only Connect S06E01: "Joinees v Draughtsmen"
    Opening Act S01E07: "Gotham Citi & Nicki Minaj"
    Our War S02E02: "Return To Death Valley"
    Pawn Star$ S05E16: "Say It Ain't So"
    Pawn Star$ S05E15: "Some Like It Not"
    Perception S01E07: "Nemesis"
    Push Girls S01E14: "Breaking Back In"
    Rastamouse S03E06: "Series 3, Episode 6"
    Regular Show S03E39: "Sugar Rush"
    Ridiculousness S02E10: "Tyler and Taco"
    Secret Dealers S03E26: "Series 3, Episode 26"
    Single Ladies S02E14: "Finally"
    Squidbillies S07E06: "From Russia With Stud"
    Stars Earn Stripes S01E04: "Rapid Detonation"
    Stolen Voices, Buried Secrets S03E10: "Out of the Ashes"
    The Annoying Orange S05E10: "The Lords of Fruitbush"
    The Bad Girls Club S09E07: "Stage Bite"
    The Bold and the Beautiful S26E111: "Ep. #6395"
    The Booth at the End S02E04: "Season 2, Episode 4"
    The Inbetweeners (US) S01E02: "Sunshine Mountain"
    The L.A. Complex S02E07: "Half Way"
    The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson S08E127: "Kristen Bell"
    The Project S04E204: "Season 4, Episode 204"
    The Real Housewives of New York City S05E13: "Pirate Booty Call"
    The Restoration Man S02E11: "Gothic Church, Pennines Revisit"
    The Secret Life of the American Teenager S05E11: "Half Over"
    The Shire S01E09: "Episode 9"
    The Tonight Show with Jay Leno S20E139
    The X Factor (AU) S04E04: "Season 4, Auditions 4"
    The Young and the Restless S40E110: "Ep. #9979"
    Thuis S18E01: "Season 18, Episode 1"
    Tia & Tamera S02E11: "Are You Pregnant?"
    Underbelly S05E03: "The Loaded Dog"
    University Challenge (1994) S19E05
    Wake Brothers S01E06: "House Rules"
    Warehouse 13 S04E06: "Fractures"
    Web Therapy S02E09: "The Insanity Offense"
    Wild Justice S02E20: "Shooting Spree"
    WWE Raw S20E35: "Episode 1005"

'X Factor' ratings grow to 8.4 million for episode two

The X Factor last night grew on its substandard premiere audience, pulling in a consolidated audience of around 8.9m viewers.

Rita Ora's stint on the panel in the show's second auditions show, airing between 7.45pm and 9pm, was seen by 8.4m (36.1%) and 475k (2.2%) on ITV1 +1.

Following the main programme, The Xtra Factor soared to 858k (4%) on ITV2, adding 133k (0.8%) on +1. But it was Film 4's Die Hard 4.0 screening that topped the multichannels with 889k (4.7%).

Simon Cowell's other Saturday night entertainment vehicle on ITV1, Red or Black?, also trickled upwards in the ratings - posting 3.42m (18.3%) at 7pm (+1: 106k/0.5%) and 3.7m (16.9%) at 9pm (+1: 177k/0.9%).

However, the increased momentum ended at 9.45pm, when The Jonathan Ross Show logged 2.52m (12.6%) and a further 208k (1.5%) on timeshift - as guests Suranne Jones, Ray Winstone and Jenson Button did not attract as many viewers as last week's lineup.

Meanwhile, BBC One had a fairly mediocre night in comparison, with Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (3.65m/18.9%) at 6.20pm, The National Lottery: Secret Fortune (3.56m/16%) at 8.30pm, Casualty (4.12m/19%) from 9.20pm, and Match of the Day (3.89m/27.5%) at 10.30pm.

BBC Two aired Dad's Army (2.29m/11.3%) and the BBC Proms (955k/4.4%), while Channel 4's 30 Greatest Comedy Shows pulled in 1.11m (5.5%), and Celebrity Big Brother took 1.32m (6.1%) for Channel 5 (+1: 128k/0.7%).

Overall, ITV1 posted a convincing primetime victory of 22.6% (+1: 1.3%) over BBC One's 19.2%. BBC Two claimed third place with 5.8%, ahead of Channel 5's 4.5% (+1: 0.3%), and Channel 4's 3.7% (+1: 0.5%).

Development Update: The 27th of August

BIG CITY (ABC, New!) - Josh Siegal and Dylan Morgan ("30 Rock") have booked a new single-camera comedy at the Alphabet about "a suburban family trapped in the big city." Sony Pictures Television-based FanFare is behind the half-hour, which has a penalty attached, with the company's Jamie Tarses also serving as an executive producer. Siegal and Morgan recently signed a two-year overall deal with the studio. (

THE FARM (NBC) - Matt Jones ("Breaking Bad") has boarded the potential spin-off of "The Office," which follows Rainn Wilson's Dwight living at the Schrute family beet farm/bed and breakfast. He'll play Dwight's mysterious cousin Zeke, joining the previously cast Majandra Delfino and Thomas Middleditch. Wilson and Paul Lieberstein are behind the Universal Television-based project, which will air as a backdoor pilot later this season. (

GUIDE TO DIVORCE (Showtime, New!) - Marti Noxon ("Glee") is finalizing a deal for a semi-autobiographical comedy at the pay channel about "the relief, the emotional minefield, the freedom, the familial complications and the sexual exploration that all come with divorce after a long-term relationship, told from the perspective of four women in their 40's." She'll write and executive produce the half-hour via her Luckypants banner alongside Vicki Iovine, Dawn Olmstead and Meryl Poster. No studio was indicated. (

THE SECRET LIVES OF WIVES (Lifetime) - Salli Richardson-Whitfield ("Eureka") is the first to be cast in the drama pilot, which will explore the unvarnished truth behind the marriages of four different women, breaking down the creative ways each close friend nurtures, maintains and endures what many see as an impossible convention of modern life. She'll play Reed, "the sultry host of a call-in radio show that caters to women's fantasies. But her radio persona is at sad odds with her personal life, as her marriage of 17 years is on the rocks." Lin Pictures and Warner Horizon Television are behind the hour, which is inspired by the book by Iris Krasnow. Jill Gordon penned the script. (

UNTITLED J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI PROJECT (ABC, New!) - "Babylon 5" creator J. Michael Straczynski is developing "a pandemic thriller project" at the Alphabet "described as a blend of procedural and serialized elements." Georgeville Television and Overbrook Entertainment are behind the hour, which is being eyed for a potential straight-to-series order. James Lassiter and Jada Pinkett Smith then will executive produce alongside Straczynski. (

UNTITLED MO MANDEL PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Actor/writer Mo Mandel ("Free Agents") has scored a script order for a semi-autobiographical comedy at the network billed as "a sibling rivalry show in the vein of 'Step Brothers.'" The single-camera project comes from the Sony Pictures Television-based Happy Madison with Doug Robinson executive producing alongside Mandel, who may play one of said characters. (

WRECKING BALL (The CW) - Richard Hatem's 2008 drama, about "a JFK Jr.-type brash young man from a well known political family who teams with an idealistic twenty-something girl volunteer from his failed Congressional campaign to solve underdog cases of the week through their own legal firm," has been given a fresh script order by the netlet. Said hour was originally greenlit to pilot in March of 2008 but the order was ultimately rescinded when a deal couldn't be struck with producer Fox Television Studios. CBS Television Studios has since been tapped to co-produce the project with Ross Fineman executive produce producing alongside Hatem. (

20S VS 30S (ABC, New!) - Cassie Pappas ("Awkward") has snagged a script order from the Alphabet for a single-camera comedy about two sisters, their group of friends and the decade between them. ABC Studios is behind the half-hour, where Pappas had a blind script deal. 3 Arts Entertainment's Tom Lassally and Jonathan Berr also serve as executive producers. (

BETTY & CORETTA (A.K.A. PARALLEL LIVES) (Lifetime) - Angela Bassett, Mary J. Blige and Ruby Dee are set to star in the telefilm, which "tells the dual stories of Coretta Scott King (Bassett) and Dr. Betty Shabazz (Blige) as they carry on as single mothers following the assassinations of their husbands, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X." Dee then "will appear onscreen as a historical witness to narrate the duo's story as someone familiar with the events of both their lives." Yves Simoneau is directing the project from a script by Shem Bitterman and Ron Hutchinson. Larry Sanitsky, Blige, Jaja Johnson and Polly Anthony are the executive producers. Production begins next month. (

CRAZY GENE (ABC, New!) - Andrea Abbate ("Accidentally on Purpose") has snagged a put pilot commitment from the Alphabet for an autobiographical comedy about "a woman who, with her brother behind bars, tries to raise his kids as well as her adopted African American teenage son." The single-camera project is set up at the 20th Century Fox Television-based 21 Laps/Adelstein Productions with Marty Adelstein, Shawn Levy and Becky Clements also serving as executive producers. (

CYRANO (NBC, New!) - Michael Oates Palmer ("Rubicon") has landed a script commitment - with a penalty attached - from the Peacock for a modern take on Edmond Rostand's classic tale about "a less-than-attractive but genius campaign strategist who returns to save the floundering gubernatorial campaign of the handsome but inarticulate Mayor whose career he helped launch. With the candidate being the photogenic, charismatic mouthpiece for the strategist's ideas and rhetoric, the sky's the limit - until both men fall for the same woman, a journalist covering the campaign." Universal Television-based Prospect Park is behind the hour with Palmer (who is also slated to serve as a co-executive producer on NBC's "Crossbones"), Jeff Kwatinetz and Josh Barry executive producing. (

THE FARM (NBC) - Thomas Middleditch ("The Campaign") is the latest to board the Peacock's "The Office" spin-off, which follows Dwight (Rainn Wilson) living at the Schrute family beet farm/bed and breakfast. He'll play Jeb Schrute, his easygoing brother, "who hasn't done well in any previous career paths he's taken - worm breeder and Bigfoot hunter among them - but has found some success with a pot farm and has made an exercise video about things you can do with a knife and a canoe." Majandra Delfino also stars in the Universal Television-based project, from co-creators Wilson and Paul Lieberstein. (

HANNIBAL (NBC) - Hettienne Park has scored a role on the upcoming drama, a contemporary take on the Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) characters from Thomas Harris's novels. She'll play Beverly Katz, "a bright-eyed yet weary crime scene investigator who specializes in working with fibers." Caroline Dhavernas, Lara Jean Chorostecki, Aaron Abrams and Laurence Fishburne also star in the Gaumont International Television-based hour, from writer Bryan Fuller and director David Slade. (

LET THE CHURCH SAY AMEN (BET, New!) - Actress Regina King is set to direct and produce a new telefilm at the cable channel about "the wayward daughter of a charismatic Houston pastor whose family falls apart over the years while he's busy building up his church." She'll work from a script by Crystal Garrett, who adapted ReShonda Tate Billingsley's book of the same name. Production is set to begin next month in Atlanta with Flavor Unit's Queen Latifah, Shakim Compere, Shelby Stone and Roger Bobb executive producing alongside King and her sister, Reina King, via their Royal Ties banner. (

MAKE IT WORK (FOX, New!) - Adam Stein ("I Just Want My Pants Back") has booked a single-camera comedy at the network about "a man who, after proposing to his girlfriend, finds out he has a 7-year-old daughter with his previous girlfriend." Universal Cable Productions-based Hypnotic is behind the half-hour, with Doug Liman and David Bartis also among the executive producers. (

PATIENTS REQUIRED (FOX, New!) - Chris Cox has sold a new single-camera comedy to the network about "an irreverent young pediatrician who joins the practice run by his mother, with whom he has a strained relationship." Sony Pictures Television-based Original Film is behind the half-hour, with the company's Neal Moritz presumably among the executive producers. (

- Vijal Patel ("The Middle") has scored a script commitment from the network for a new comedy about "a young married couple perpetually tormented by the husband's opinionated family of engineers who think they have a solution for every problem in life." The single-camera project is set up at ABC Studios, where he recently signed an overall deal. (

UNTITLED JUSTIN SPITZER PROJECT (NBC, New!) - Justin Spitzer ("The Office") has sold a new comedy to the Peacock about "a group of friends whose lives change on the way to a destination wedding." The presumably single-camera project is set up at the Universal Television-based TBD Productions with the company's Peter Traugott and Rachel Kaplan also among the executive producers. No other details were given. (

Snooki Has a Boy: 6-Pound, 5-Ounce Lorenzo Dominic

Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, the self-proclaimed “Guidette” from MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” is a mom.

The 24-year-old TV star and her fiancé, Jionni LaValle, welcomed a son, 6-pound, 5-ounce Lorenzo Dominic LaValle, into the world at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J. at around 3 a.m. Sunday morning.

Snooki tweeted to her fans Sunday morning: "I am SO IN LOVE with my son Lorenzo Dominic ! I had my little man last night, healthy at 6lbs! HE'S MY WORLD!"

A rep for Polizzi told MTV, "The world just got another Guido!!! Lorenzo Dominic LaValle has entered the world weighing 6lbs, 5oz. Nicole, Jionni & Enzo are doing great!"

MTV issued its own statement: “We couldn't be happier for Nicole and Jionni on the healthy delivery of their baby boy! We look forward to Lorenzo's first trip to the Jersey Shore and can't wait to see his first animal print onesie."