Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Crowd Goes Wild

by Bill Holmes

On Saturday, August 17th, Fox Sports 1 (FS1) signed on the air. It takes the place of the SPEED channel on most cable and satellite TV systems. FS1 is a general interest sports network that appears to be Fox's answer to ESPN, CBS Sports and NBC Sports. Fox already had several specialty and regional cable sports channels but no national general interest sports network presence. I have no idea if Fox will become a successful competitor to ESPN but the parent company certainly has deep enough pockets to give it a good try. Maybe as a sign of the new sports landscape, the first prime time live sports event on FS1 was an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) card. That's not my cup of tea but another strong competitor in the TV sports arena is probably good news for sports fans. It should mean even more sports on national TV that were either televised locally, regionally or not at all. You can never have too much sports on TV.

This review is about one particular show on the new FS1 network called Crowd Goes Wild. The name is not The or A Crowd... I guess that's cool. It is a daily sports talk show that airs at 4:00 PM CDT. It's been hyped as the return of Regis Philbin to daily TV. Regis hasn't had a regular TV gig since he left the Regis Lee & Kelly Lee (or Kathie Lee) morning show a couple of years ago. He's also never done a sports show. Too bad he didn't stay semi-retired or at least wait for a better show.

Crowd Goes Wild (CGW) is a typical sports talk show with a panel of talking heads only worse. The panel consist of: Regis, Georgie Thompson, Jason Gay, Michael Kosta, Trevor Pryce and Katie Nolan.

Regis is the ostensible host or moderator and he does open the show. After that he is of very little use. Georgie, an attractive British woman, seems to be the real moderator. She's the one who raises the discussion topics and keeps the show on schedule. Jason Gay, a Wall Street Journal sports columnist, is the nerdy guy that knows a lot about sports. Kosta, a supposed comedian, is the designated clown and comic relief. Trevor, an ex-NFL player, is the token jock. Katie is the now required social media coordinator. So, how many of these folks have you heard of? Regis of course and maybe Trevor if you are a big NFL fan. Who knew the Wall Street Journal even had a sports columnist?                                                                                                                        
Kosta, Nolan, Philbin, Pryce & Gay
I watched the first two shows. I only watched the second one to see if the first one was just a one time disaster. It wasn't. With apologies to a friend of mine who is a train dispatcher I'm going to use this analogy. CGW is a train wreck. It has lame, derivative scripted segments. The supposedly unscripted segments are awkward and look poorly scripted. Georgie and Jason are tolerable but the others are non-factors at best and unwatchable at worst.

Here are some lowlights, there are no highlights, of the show. The show allegedly gave Regis an early surprise birthday present, he'll be 82 on Sunday, of Regis the Horse. The horse is a trotter and they did about 15 minutes on the horse in the stall and on the track. He purportedly ran a race live during the show and amazingly he won. There was a race but they never showed any crowd at the track. Don't start your show with a fake "live" event.

Georgie Thompson
During the panel discussions of the topics Regis may say something of little consequence, Jason tries to give relevant comments, Kosta does a scripted comedy routine and Trevor praises all athletes. Trevor said that Yasiel Puig has changed the game of baseball. Puig is having a good season but he's 22 years old and has been in the big leagues since June 3, 2013. Think we might want to wait a year or two before we anoint Puig as the best ever. On the second show Trevor anointed a soccer player, Mario Balotelli, as the best ever. Mario is 23 years old. He's already found the best ever for two sports and the show is still in its first week.

Another segment was "Pardon the Contradiction", sound familiar ESPN watchers? In this stupid premise a member of the panel is given a topic. They argue one side of the issue until Regis rings a bell then the same person argues the other side of the same issue. Riveting.

Of course they have the now required Twitter poll for some inane question. Don't hold me to that. It may have been a Facebook or Instagram poll. I forgot to note the URL or hashtag or to participate.

There is a separate guest interview with Regis and one other panel member questioning the guest. They go to another area of the studio that has a chair, tables and couch for this segment. The first two guests were Oscar De La Hoya, promoting a NYC fight card, and Terrell Owen, promoting himself. Not exactly premier guests. Kosta also gets to ask the guests "Out of Left Field" questions. Completely lame.

The whole show seems disjointed. People are looking into the wrong cameras. There were a few "what's next" looks. Regis looks lost and has no idea what is going on. After a couple of hundred years in live TV, Regis should know how to do this.

Now here comes the creepiest segment ever. It is called "Reach For The Star". This may be the worst ever TV segment idea, a mystery guest comes out on stage and three blindfolded panel members feel (up) the guest and guess who he/she is. Tuesday's guest was golfer Rickie Fowler. He held a golf club and had golf balls in his pocket. It was disturbing. I have no idea how this will work with a female mystery guest and male feeler (uppers).

I've reached my limit of two shows. I hope my review has spared you a wasted hour. Regis needs to retire for good. FS1 needs to air a real show. Train wrecks are never pretty or a good thing.



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