The Wise Guy’s Media Watch: Preseason Doldrums

It was a slow week in the NFL media world, as the excitement of the NFL’s triumphant return has worn off and the realization that “oh yeah, it’s just the preseason” has set in.  If only there was a show that took a behind the scenes look at the training camps and gave us insight into the personalities behind the gridiron warriors and those who pull their strings . . .  Oh well, next year.

There was a smattering of media news, however.

–  ESPN announced that Brad Nessler and Trent Dilfer will call the second MNF game of opening week, a Raiders-Broncos matchup that will start at 10:15 ET.  The NFL Network added Rodney Harrison to its ever-growing lineup of analysts, and he made his first splash by interviewing Lions DT Ndamukong Suh, who was fined $20,000 for another Preseason QB take down, this time on the Bengals’ Andy Dalton.  It is interesting how both Harrison and Nessler are able to straddle duties at both the NFL Network and their mother ship (ESPN for Nessler, NBC for Harrison).  We’ll see how long that lasts.

–  NBC’s first Sunday night game between the Cowboys and Chargers meant that we got our first look at Michele Tafoya, who was brought in to replace Andrea Kremer on the sidelines.  My take was that she was a welcome change.  Tafoya brings just as much gravitas as Kremer, with a little more vibrancy.  Kremer, who fashions herself as a “serious” journalist, likely reached her limit after five years on in the sidelines–which is a weekly exercise in futility in trying to coax something interesting out of an athlete or coach who simply wants to end the interview and play the game.

– If there’s one thing ESPN does well, it’s make commercials.  This spot from the MNF ad wizards epitomizes their subtle dadaism that sets ESPN above the rest.

–  Speaking of ESPN, the network has snatched up Denver-based rising star, Josina Anderson, to become its Chicago correspondent for the NFL and all other sports.  Josina was previously a correspondent on Showtime’s Inside the NFL and has been credited with breaking a number of stories in the Denver area.

To offset this slow news cycle, the Anderson and Tafoya stories got me thinking, “what if I went through all the female NFL broadcasters and rated them?” And then I thought, “I will definitely do that, right after I watch Anchorman for the 576th time.” After which, I thought, “what if I broke down the top fictional female reporters.”  Yeah, that seems like way more fun.

5: April O’Neil: As a seasoned reporter for Channel 6 News in New York, April made a career out of exposing the seedy underbelly of Manhattan.  One night, while covering a string of thefts of high-tech scientific equipment, April came upon a group of street thugs who cornered her in a dark alley and threatened her life.  Then, out of nowhere, four highly sklled, ninja turtles– Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo (cowabunga, dude!)–arose from the sewer to defeat the (far lesser skilled) street thugs and whisk her away to their underground lair.

And so began the greatest story ever told.  While April oftentimes exercised poor judgment in trying to “get the scoop,” requiring the TNMTs to, again and again, save her from trouble, she was a staunch advocate for these half-shelled vigilantes despite a public outcry that they were a menace to society.  Ultimately, her professionalism shined through, the evil Shredder was defeated, and this happened.

4: Lois Lane: Not the Lois Lane from the comic books, or the Christopher Reeves movies (Margot Kidder) who I can take or leave, but the Teri Hatcher version who heated up the small screen opposite Dean Cain in the ABC Series, “Lois and Clark, The New Adventures of Superman.”  Can you say sizzle? Sure, Lois may have consistently missed the story of a lifetime that was constantly under nose (literally from this picture), but is this really any different than what the local beat writers covering the Ohio State Buckeyes and Miami Hurricanes missed?

3: Gail Weathers: Now this is what I’m talking about.  A woman who knows how to handle a firearm.  Besides this, the woman was prolific: every Scream movie was premised on news that Gail broke or a book she had written.  Like April above, Gail Weathers is dogged to a fault: constantly sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong.  But, as this picture shows, Gail is not afraid is not afraid of a little physical altercation.  Serial killers (and their mothers) beware.

2: Inez Sainz: Sorry, my mistake.  I keep forgetting she’s not a fictional character.

2 (revised): Tina Fey: The only thing fictional about Ms. Fey was the “news” she reported on “Weekend Update.”  Tina has obviously gone onto bigger and better things, but always makes a yearly pilgrimage back to her roots on SNL.  So at least SNL is guaranteed one decent episode a year (two if you count JT).     

1: Veronica Coringstone: Was there really any doubt Veronica would hold the #1 spot? She’s simply the gold standard in female fictional news journalism.  Veronica was a trailblazer in the fake news world of the 70’s overcoming rampant sexism, sheer buffoonery, invitations to “pants parties,” odd smells of “Sex Panther” cologne, prank calls from Dr. Chim Richards, and massive erections in the workplace.  Josina, take note.  The next time you’re introduced as “Tits McGee” on SportsCenter, you best be prepared.