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In a discussion of the ups and downs of ESPN’s flagship program, SportsCenter, network executive Norby Williamson reveals that a renewed focus on sports, instead of politics, has led to a resurgence in growth.
ESPN’s Norby Williamson has been tasked with following a company-wide mandate from Disney CEO Bob Iger and recently appointed ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro, to steer SportsCenter away from the left-wing abyss into which former hosts Hill and Michael Smith sent the show plummeting in 2017. Williamson is working to pull SportsCenter back to sports and away from politics.
Years - ESPN - Executives - Cable - Sports
But, after five years of ESPN executives insisting that the cable sports network had not drifted too far into leftist political waters, in a new interview published at the Hartford Courant, Williamson reveals that the political nature of SportsCenter did significant damage to the flagship show’s ratings.
“I think we miscalculated a little bit,” Williamson told the paper. “The perception became that you could just roll a talent out there and it doesn’t matter what he or she is saying — that the content didn’t matter. I just never believed that.”
Hill - Smith - Hosting - Duties - PM
Indeed, since Hill and Smith were deposed from their hosting duties, the 6 PM SportsCenter broadcast has enjoyed “eight straight months of growth,” the paper reported.
The first provable hint that Hill and Smith were destroying SportsCenter is that in the month following their removal, the show’s ratings skyrocketed. If nothing proved that SportsCenter had been mishandled under Hill and Smith, that should have been a big hint.
People - Host - Sage - Steele - Months
“I think we’ve recommitted to what people expect from us,” new host Sage Steele said a few months ago. “Just as I would have watched the ‘CBS Evening News’ show with Dan Rather, I want my information. This is the same thing...
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