Tuesday evenings used to be my favorite weeknight. For years,
the good people at the USA network brought Tuesday Night Fights -TNF- ( OK, I know it wasn't ALWAYS on Tuesdays but indulge me here )
from around the country into our living rooms. True, they were often
used as a showcase for an up-and-coming fighter or some veteran attempting to regain prior glory, but at least it was live boxing. And
much more often than not, the shows were quite entertaining. I think
back to the evening that Gaby Canizales and Miguel "Happy"
Lora treated the TNF faithful to one of the most exciting fights ever aired.
Or the first time when Arturo Gatti climbed through the ropes.
Or how about the first Jorge Paez - Calvin Grove fight. The show was so
darn good that it would be impossible to recount all of the great bouts
and great fighters USA treated us hard-core boxing fans to for almost 20 years
But then the EVIL Barry Diller ( the same twit behind the Home Shopping Network ) purchased the USA Network. He decided that the plug needed to
be pulled on TNF, even though it was one of the network's highest-rated
programs, to air even more "original movies". So, after nearly 20 years
of loyal viewing ( not to mention the loyal support of the advertising
community ), Barry decided that boxing fans weren't as important as "Oprah's book of
the month club members" and Tuesday became just another boring weeknight filled with maudlin movies about some especially retarded current event,
like the Buttafuco or Bobbit story. Thanks Barry ! There just
wasn't enough of that crap on the 3 major networks already.
When TNF's run ended, ESPN decided to get back into broadcasting a weekly show. At the time of the announcement, I thought to myself "at
least there'll be live fights on TV again...even if I do have to suffer through Al
Bernstein". What happened next was my worst nightmare : ESPN decided that Friday Nights Fights
would be aired on ESPN2, "The Douche"( and yes, I mean douche !
). All that meant to me was that there STILL weren't any live weekly fights that
I'D be watching anytime soon.
You see friends, I REFUSE to watch ANYTHING on "The Douche", and rarely tune
into the flagship station anymore. "Why ?" you
ask. There are few things in life that annoy me as much or insult my intelligence as much as The Douche's 'blue
line' or ESPN's ¼ hour 'news' updates. Look, I'm IN advertising and I
know an ad when I see one. I'm sure you've noticed corporate logos on the left
hand side of the scores; you think they got there by accident ? Aren't there enough
advertising opportunities BETWEEN rounds or between BOUTS? Not enough for the suits at ESPN !
Now, if all that was shown on screen were a corporate logo next to the scores,
I most likely wouldn't have a problem and would tune into the network
regularly. But some genius ( and I am being VERY sarcastic here ) thought that we the viewers
might not notice the logo & scores by themselves, so the decision was made
to reduce the on-screen programming, what we tuned in to see, to ¾ of its
regular size & surround it with a solid background ! As a result, featherweights
started looking like middleweights. Note to the pin-head at ESPN that thought this was a
good idea :
IT WASN'T !!!!!
As a viewer, I TUNED IN TO WATCH YOUR PROGRAMMING - not to get a running update of the Arena Football game of the week or to find out who
Northern Utah State Poly Tech has named as their Woman's Assistant Field Hockey Coach
!!!!!!!! And I especially don't want to see that 4 times an hour !!!!!!! And I REALLY
don't appreciate you shrinking the screen to ¾ of it original size to do it !!!!! And
PLEASE don't get me started on that insipid 'blue line'. I know that this will come
as a complete surprise to whomever created the 'blue line', but every one of your viewers
ISN'T a compulsive gambler or in need of the current score of every game in
progress. Did it ever occur to you boobs that most of the viewers that might tune
into a boxing show would be interested in ... BOXING ? And more specifically that
particular event ? Of course it didn't !
Which leads me to the real point of this rant : Even the Classic Sports Network - CNS -
has become a pain in my ass. I LOVED that network, that is until the
swine at ESPN purchased it. At first there were little if any changes to the
programming. Sugar Ray's Hit Parade, aired on TUESDAYS, was one of the networks best
programs. But as I tuned in last evening to watch Ali - Quarry II, my blood began to
boil. At 15 minutes past the hour, yet another annoying screen shrinking technique
was employed. This time the image I INTENDED TO WATCH when I turned on the network was reduced to ¾ of its original size to show me events that
happened this week in sports history.
So now I'm feed up and I'm not going to take it anymore !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I will no longer tune into ANY of the ESPN family of networks because
I can be annoyed to hell without their help. Would it be too much to ask
these morons to superimpose the news ( READ : CORPORATE LOGOS ) on the FULL IMAGE, the way it used to be done on sports broadcasts up until the '90's
? Maybe that is too much to expect, but at one point in the Ali - Quarry II
broadcast, before I changed the station in complete disgust, there was over 60% of the screen filled with ESPN's graphics. Why even
bother to run programming ? Why not just run text and other graphics all
day & all night ? And what part of 'classic' don't they understand? This practice of
screen shrinking, or IdiotVision as I'm fond of calling it; the blue line is
is akin to the colorization of classic movies ... It's just plain vulgar and an insult to
the viewer; not CLASSIC in any way shape or form PERIOD!!!
But rather than just ranting on and on getting nothing accomplished, I've
decided on a course of action that may well get even the morons at ESPN's
attention. I plan on starting a nonprofit organization with the express purpose of getting all of these damn
graphics off of the screen. The organization will be called : "Fan's Uprising : Egregious Sponsorship Punished Now" or FU
ESPN ( quite the appropriate acronym, don't you think ? ).
The mission of this organization will be to get everyone who's as annoyed as I
am to contact ESPN, tell them just how much they despise this IdiotVision
practice and get these damn things off of the screen forever.
One woman, some wing-nut in Michigan who found "Married ... With Children"
offensive, almost got the show canceled with A SINGLE LETTER ! If
everyone who shares my views regarding the "updates & news" ( I'm SURE
I'm not alone ) were to write ESPN, or even better DISNEY & ABC, they may actually put an
end to this wretched practice. Also, a carbon copy to all of the program's
advertisers telling them that we're not going to tune in until it stops could be very powerful
too. And to take it a step further, a letter to the bottom-feeding advertisers who
place their logos on the "updates" that clearly spells out a boycott of
their products & services may even destroy the demand for the spots themselves !
And how did this practice ever get started ? I'll tell you how. If
you hated soccer before, just wait until you read the following : When ESPN decided to air
World Cup Soccer matches in the late '80's, they just couldn't cram in enough
commercials in the game due to its nature. So rather than having their
booth "talent" read what would serve as an ad, they decided on
IdiotVision. If it would
have gone away with the World Cup broadcasts I wouldn't have my shorts in such a bunch.
But as I'm sure you've discovered there is little, if any, original thought in
broadcasting. The lemming networks have all employed some form of IdiotVision on their
sports broadcasts ( which really pisses me off - they don't dare use IdiotVision on
any non-sports programming ). It's gotten completely out of control &
must be stopped NOW !!!!
We can't bring back Tuesday Night Fights, but maybe we can save the Classic
Sports Network and at the same time improve ESPN & the Douche. Write the
networks TODAY & DEMAND that they put an end to this practice that offends us to
the core of our being. Send letters or e-mail ( and please mention Fan's
Uprising : Egregious Sponsorship Punished Now ) to :
Bristol, CT 06010
or e-mail them a note at :
And PLEASE remember to use a civil tone in your correspondence. A point
articulated clearly & politely are the ones most often responded to & acted
upon. If we're lucky, maybe we can even claim back Tuesday night
From the cheap seats,
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