The Year in Sports Television – 2004

By Laura Nachman
Bucks County Courier Times

December 31, 2004

New Word for the Dictionary -“The Super Bowl” introduced the phrase “wardrobe malfunction” to the American lexicon.


ESP-END the Movies, et al. - ESPN’s entertainment arm struck out with “Hustle,” “3,” and the silly reality show “I’d Do Anything.”  One bright spot was “Stump the Schwab,” with Howie Schwab, the Ken Jennings of sports-trivia.


Double Fault – Former tennis star John McEnroe’s talk show on CNBC was canceled and ex-wife Tatum O’Neal published a tell-all book.


“Sports Night” Lives – Stars from old ABC sitcom succeeded, including Felicity Huffman of “Desperate Housewives,” Peter Krause of “Six Feet Under,” and Josh Malina of “The West Wing.”


Bad Year for NY Giant Quarterbacks – What was worse – Eli Manning’s 4-18 performance vs. Baltimore or Jesse Palmer on “The Bachelor?”


Goats – Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Ron Artest, Kobe Bryant, Ricky Williams


Heroes – The Boston Red Sox, led by Curt Schilling


Best Couple – Terrell Owens and Nicolette Sheridan


Worst Couples – Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal and Suzy Kolber and Joe Namath (though their encounter technically occurred at the end of 2003).


Good Decision – Dan Marino still knows how to call the right play by sticking with “The NFL Today” on CBS and not going to the Miami Dolphins, who had a horrible season.


Mini In and Out List

In - Shannon Sharpe                                   Out- Deion Sanders

In - Michele Tafoya                                     Out- Lisa Guererro

In - Al Michaels                                          Out – Brad Nessler

In - Emanuel Steward and Roy Jones Jr.       Out – George Foreman

In - Joe Queenan                                         Out – Wanda Sykes


Sports Films – “Friday Night Lights,” "Wimbledon," "Mr. 3000" 


Sports Television – “Evel Knievel” on TNT, “Clubhouse” and “Listen Up” on CBS, “Hustle” and “3” on ESPN, “The Benefactor” with Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban on ABC.


Trading Announcers: Meet Your New Hubie - Hubie Brown of the Memphis Grizzlies and Mike Fratello of TNT exchange jobs.  Brown goes to ABC, Fratello moves from TNT to coaching (Memphis Grizzlies).


The Next ESPN? – Comcast SportsNet expands to Chicago and New York.


Pat-Trick - Pat Summerall returned to the national scene to sub for Mike Patrick on ESPN.


Best Crossover- ESPN’s Mitch Albom’s  “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” scores high ratings for ABC.