Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Golf Channel Might Get Better...

Comcast, parent of TGC, has hired Mike Weisman as executive producer overseeing telecasts across Comcast's many networks.

First, a bit about Weisman:

In 35 years in television, Mike Weisman has produced baseball for NBC and Fox, has been the executive producer of NBC Sports, and has run Jane Pauley’s ill-fated talk show.

Last year, he overhauled “Football Night in America,” NBC’s Sunday night N.F.L. pregame show. And at the Summer Olympics in Beijing, he will reprise his role as the bench coach to Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports.

That last part is especially a problem. Football Night in America got way worse this year. Keith Olbermann, usually great on his Countdown program on MSNBC, was awful in an attempt to reprise his Big Show days on ESPN. Cris Collinsworth is almost unlistenable at times. And "The Players' Lounge" segments that they had during FNIA were drivel that offered little to no insight or intrigue to the telecast. If any of that - especially the Players' Lounge - is pinned on Weisman, then The Golf Channel may be in trouble.

Still, I will commend TGC for taking a stand on improving their product.

Jeff Shell, president of the Comcast Programming Group, said the move was made because of the growth of the Golf Channel, which last year added the PGA Tour to its coverage, and of Versus, which has made a transition from a hunting and fishing channel to a diverse network.

“We don’t have someone responsible for everything that goes on over the air,” Shell said. “If you look at what goes on over the air, it’s respectable, but not memorable. We want it to be memorable.”

The Golf Channel has a studio program, “Golf Central.” “It’s good, but not good enough,” Shell said.

One issue that Shell said was being worked on was occasionally leaving an early round of a PGA Tour event before it had ended to go to the studio. “It’s a contractual obligation and reasonably easy to fix,” he said.

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