Monday, February 7, 2011

Did Fox Broadcast the Super Bowl or was it TMZ?

Yes, like the thousands of others who write for Newspapers and blog sites, we too will give you our take on the...well, let's just call it different, Super Bowl coverage by the network that calls itself FOX.

Are we more qualified than most to talk about it: Yes. The reason, we've spent 20-plus years in TV business. Heck, we've been to Super Bowls. We know how it works and we know the motivation for a lot of the things that are done.


Quite honestly, a large portion of this is unwatchable. Yes, we know, people watch, it's aimed at the casual fan who is watching for the spectacle rather than the game. But....this year was over the top. We fully realize that FOX is all about self-promotion and celebrity, but they took it to a new level this year.

We realize that company's such as Ritz pay lots of money for a segment on the show. (See the overexposed Guy Fieri) And having a Food Network chef cooking food with Ritz crackers along side Jay Glazer..well, that was kinda painful to watch.

Maria Menounos/Courtesy:
But no more painful than the FOX "Red Carpet", where they lined up celebrity/entertainment reporter Maria Menounous to interview celebrities walking into the game. Actually, what might have been worse...having the now Ubiquitous Michael Strahan standing next to her to help.

Anyway, Ms. Menounous and the "Red Carpet" was embarrassing. She, and I know this is going to come out sounding wrong, should be seen, not heard. Do that many people care about talking to celebrities as they walk into the game? Really? Do they?

Pregame show hosts. We can't be too critical here, we've known Curt Menefee since he was the weekend sports guy at WTLV in Jacksonville and he's great at what he does. He does a good job keeping the traffic flowing without getting in the way of Mr's. Bradshaw, Johnson, Long and Strahan. There were some good features, though we have the same question of Bradshaw and/or FOX that everyone else did. If you are going to play up this big acrimonious face-off between Bradshaw and Ben Roethlisberger, then address the elephant in the room. They never did.

Also, downplaying the weather issues and fan-ticket story. A no-no. Sure, we know this is a 12-hour, suck-up to the NFL, but those both were significant stories during the week and game day.

GRADE: While we understand it is now a network obligation to provide day-long programming leading up to the game, this was just plain cheesy. If you are going to do 5-plus hours of pre-game, show more of the season building up to the game. Do people really care that much what Jennifer Anniston and Adam Sandler have to say? And don't sell the entire show to advertisers, it was basically a 5-hour infomercial.

OSG Grade: D. Say what you want, NBC and CBS do this a whole lot better and lower key.


They, for the most part, do this fairly well. While the announce team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman won't step out on a limb with pretty much anything they say, they are solid. Buck in particular did a nice job of not getting in the way or talking over the game. The production values were solid and there was a lot of good camera work. Aikman, while not messing anything up, was not particularly memorable either.

My one issue with FOX is what we discussed earlier: Why the fixation on the celebrities? Really. Why? Does anyone need to see multiple cutaways of a disinterested George W. Bush in the owners suite. Or Cameron Diaz feeding Alex Rodriguez popcorn? No! If you are going to show cutaways, let me see some fans. Or if you insist on showing the celebrities rather than actual real-people, then show me some in the stands trying to interact with humans. I don't want to see people in the owners box during the game multiple times.

Nice job by the director though on the touchdown passes, the replays and slo-mo shots captured things well. Really well. Here are some highlights, at least until they are pulled:

OSG Grade: B-Plus. Only because I don't care what celebrities look like watching the game from the owners box.


We are a little torn here. While the general consensus seems to be that The Black-Eyed Peas sucked, I don't totally agree. No, they weren't great. But they were there for a reason. After last years performance by the Robo-Who, the NFL had to come up with something...or someone different...but in-offensive. And the Peas are these days certainly that.

They didn't do themselves any favors by not having a band accompany them. Nor did the audio engineer who seemed to have trouble getting the right mic potted up at the right time.

There are musical options out there that would put on a better performance. The problem is the NFL is incredibly gun-shy after the Janet Jackson incident. There have been good shows. U2 was awesome and Prince was pretty darn good too.

OSG Grade: C-minus. The technical snafu's were hard to overcome and we could pretty much predict the playlist. Aside from the part with Slash, it wasn't really creative at all. And no, Usher didn't help it either.

We'll continue with the commercials in the next story.....

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