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Heath
11-16-2006, 11:13 PM
I used to watch this show every Sunday Night after football games. Best. Show. Ever.

Kinda like AM radio and the way its going out....




Signing off
Michael ending 23-year run as Sports Machine host


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sports Machine, the syndicated sports highlight show that rose to popularity before ESPN dominated the airwaves, will go off the air after 23 years when host George Michael steps down in March.

Michael, who began the show in 1980 as a late-night local feature on WRC TV channel 4 in Washington, also is retiring as the station's sports director and weeknight sports anchor.

Michael said he made the decision after NBC, which owns WRC, announced significant layoffs and staff cuts.

"I told them, that if I have to lay anyone off, if I have to get rid of any of my staff, then I'm going to take the first bullet," Michael said.

Sports Machine became nationally syndicated in 1984. It's now shown in 194 U.S. markets and 10 foreign countries. Michael has won more than 40 Emmy awards.

It was trendsetting programming, gaining its footing in the days before cable television and ESPN were widely available. The show was the first to give regular national TV exposure to once obscure sports like NASCAR and professional rodeo.

"He was us before we were us," said SportsCenter anchor Chris McKendry, who was part of Michael's competition in Washington at WJLA TV from 1994-96.

SportsCenter's Scott Van Pelt, who grew up in the Washington suburbs watching Michael, said the current TV sports industry is indebted to the retiring sportscaster.

"We used to have to wait days to watch highlights from some games," he said. "And then George came along and he had all these satellites and all these highlights instantly. If you were a kid who loved sports, it was like Christmas."

Michael helped the TV careers of several national sports personalities. David Aldridge, Bonnie Bernstein, Tony Kornheiser, Joe Theismann and Michael Wilbon are among those who did their first on-air work alongside him.

Theismann, the former Redskins quarterback who is now part of the Monday Night Football broadcast team, said he learned just from watching Michael work.

"George is the kind of guy who doesn't have to say a whole lot to you. You just keep your eyes and ears open," he said. "And you have a good time."

Dom Heffner
11-16-2006, 11:16 PM
I thought this guy also sang for Wham!

No- he was Michael's son on Arrested Development.

Unassisted
11-17-2006, 10:18 AM
I hadn't seen George's Sports Machine in years, but when I did run across it while traveling a few months back, I was very surprised to see how little it had changed since the 80s. It was gimmicky back then and even slick, compared to the ESPN SportsCenter of the era. But considering how the rest of sports broadcasting and sports news broadcasting has changed in the past 2 decades, I'm truly amazed that this show still has enough audience to be carried in 194 markets.

Patpacillosjock
11-17-2006, 11:08 AM
never heard of the show or the guy before.

westofyou
11-17-2006, 11:12 AM
George is also a member of SABR and collects undocumented baseball photos, which he then documents.

MrCinatit
11-17-2006, 11:14 AM
It has been ages upon ages since I have seen George. I always loved that show - you could tell he has a love for sports.
But, I hate to admit this - I did not know it was still on.

Dom Heffner
11-17-2006, 11:32 AM
I"m in the minority: I thought the show was weird. It always seemed like a low budget show that featured highlights from sporting events I couldn't care less about as a kid.

Then again, living in Cincy, we really didn't care about much other than the Reds.

westofyou
11-17-2006, 11:34 AM
I"m in the moniroty: I thought the show was weird. It always seemed like a low budget show that featured highlights from sporting events I couldn't care less about as a kid.

Then again, living in Cincy, we really didn't care about much other than the Reds.

In todays world of sports saturation it seems weak. In the day the conduit was much narrower. Anything was appreciated.

Heath
11-17-2006, 12:10 PM
never heard of the show or the guy before.

Are you younger than 30? If so, that's probably why.

I used to beg my parents on a school night to watch the Sports Machine when I was in Jr. High. All the football games were on in highlights on his show. I never missed one during football season.

BuckWoody
11-18-2006, 11:38 AM
The Sports Machine was 100% must see on Sunday nights while we were in college. We had about 10 guys gathered around the TV every time. I remember when my buddy was first describing ESPN SportsCenter to me, he said that it was like watching the Sports Machine every night! It's sad to see it go.

Man, I'm getting old. :(

Yachtzee
11-18-2006, 01:03 PM
I can remember when my primary means of seeing Reds and Bengals highlights were Sports Machine, TWIB, and Warner Wolf's Plays of the Week.

max venable
11-18-2006, 01:39 PM
Oh c'mon guys, you gotta have Faith. Maybe he should give it One More Try. After all, George was always like a Father Figure to me.

Caveat Emperor
11-18-2006, 02:04 PM
It has been ages upon ages since I have seen George. I always loved that show - you could tell he has a love for sports.
But, I hate to admit this - I did not know it was still on.

I used to see George out and about at events in DC when I lived there a few years back. Amazingly enough, he was probably second banana in that town, as far as sports went, to a guy named Glen Brenner who used to work at the CBS station there in town. Michael might've had the better recognition nationally, but Brenner was the guy everyone watched inside the Beltway. Even after he died, people still talked more about how much they missed him than how much they liked anyone else.

Best story I ever heard about Michael living out there, though, was about his wife. I can't vouch completely for the veracity of this, but I definately heard the same story twice...

Apparently, she worked for him during the 90s as his executive producer at the station and one of her policies that she implemented was to order a lot of different "Sports Machine" appearal (polo shirts, t-shirts, etc.) in lots of different colors. Then, she put out orders to all of the interns, photogs, and staff that when they were at work, they had to be wearing one of the official "Sports Machine" shirts, and that they had to be color coordinated depending on the day of the week. So, you'd go up to Frostburg, MD to see the Redskins training camp, and you'd see 10-15 people running around in identical salmon colored polo shirts and khaki shorts carring equipment, setting up live shot tents, running tape around. Then, the next day, they'd be all in blue. Then red the day after, etc. It all made for an amusing sight.

Although I really never watched his show (I guess I'm just too much of a young'un), it did basically pave the way for the "Sunday Night Sports Shows" that exist today -- so for that, I'm greatful.

Falls City Beer
11-19-2006, 11:12 AM
I won't miss Michael, but I'll miss "The Machine." I mean, who operates that thing?! It's so hi-tech! :)

cincinnati chili
11-19-2006, 01:14 PM
"Let's go to the Videotape!"