Saturday, March 26, 2011

Monday Night Golf

"The NFL’s national TV partners - ESPN, Fox, CBS and NBC - are not saying much about what they’ll put on the air if there are no NFL games this fall. Maybe they don’t know."

- USA Today, March 14, 2011

It turns out that the networks do know what they’ll be broadcasting if the NFL lockout continues. Here’s a sneak preview of week one’s planned replacement programming:
Sunday, September 11th, 1 P.M. - FOX: "Let’s Call It Football"
For a fraction of the cost of NFL broadcast rights, FOX has chosen to televise English league soccer games. The five-hour time difference between England and the east coast makes a perfect fit with evening games from the old country. "Did you know they call soccer football in England?" said a FOX spokesperson. "We’re hoping many of our longtime fans won’t notice a big difference what with both games having an offsides rule and lots of kicking." The network is tentatively planning a series of pre-season shows to educate North American viewers about the beautiful game. First up is a one-hour instructional video entitled "The ball is round but the field’s still square."
Sunday, September 11th, 4 P.M. - CBS: "Football Movies"
The Tiffany Network is planning to raid Hollywood’s vaults and show every football movie ever made. Starting with the classic pigskin tearjerker "Knute Rockne All American", CBS hopes to hook as many male football fans as it can. Subsequent weeks will feature everything from "Rudy" to "Remember the Titans." With a decided emphasis on heart-tugging, feel-good stories, CBS’s selection is designed to also appeal to a female audience. With any luck, by season’s end, the broadcast of everyone’s favorite football movie "Brian’s Song" will yield buckets of tears and ratings equal to or greater than actual NFL games.
Sunday, September 11th, 8 P.M. - NBC: "Hockey Night In America"
The lockout may be the best thing that ever happened to NBC. For a mere pittance, the network will be able to replace one violent, hard-hitting sport with another, namely hockey. Just like football, it’s got offsides, helmets, padding, fights and concussions. American viewers have traditionally not been interested in hockey but NBC’s test marketing suggests a few minor changes may help turn the tide. Building on the popularity of recent NHL Winter Classics, Sunday night’s televised matches will all be held in outdoor football stadiums complete with a 100-yard ice surface, 20-feet high goal posts and a movable line of scrimmage for the start of each play.
Monday, September 12th, 8:30 P.M. - ESPN: "Monday Night Golf"
ESPN is taking a big gamble and substituting PGA match play for "Monday Night Football." But maybe it’s not such a big gamble when you consider the new twists they’ll be introducing. Every Monday night will feature 18 holes of head-to-head play between two top-20 professional golfers. With an ever-increasing number of aging baby boomers hitting the links, ESPN is hoping they have a winner, particularly with their new nighttime, no-lighting format. Infrared cameras will track the progress of the likes of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson as they blindly navigate some of America’s top golf courses. With errant shots and frequent injuries, no one will be calling golf on TV boring anymore.

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