Is ESPN's "Who's Now" the most retarded segment ever on television?

Seriously, who thought this shit up? It is the single biggest fucking waste of space i’ve ever seen on television, narrowly beating out psychic detectives and criminal Kevin Trudeau’s infomercials.

Not only is the whole premise of the show—rating sports stars based on their on-field performance and off-field notoriety—completely idiotic, the way in which they go about making the choices, and the choices they make, are also ridiculous.

Poor old Stuart Scott is trotted out to lead the discussion, and is generally accompanied by two or three other people, ranging from sports figures to journalists to movie actors flogging their latest film. Today, it was Adam Sandler and Kevin James whoring their awful-looking flick about straight guys pretending to be gay. The panel then tries to determine who is most “now,” based on an apparently completely random set of criteria loosely related to their sporting performance and their “wow” or “Q” factor (seriously, these terms have been used by the panel). The panel vote is then combined, in some mystical way, with the votes from viewers, to determine which sports personality is more “now.” The loser in each pairing is eliminated; the winner moves on.

As if sports stars’ off-field antics are not dissected enough by the media in general, and ESPN in particular, we now have to put up with large segments of Sports Center devoted to a twelve-year-old level of discussion about which sports star is currently the biggest deal. It really is a competition to see who the biggest sports personality is. In evaluating the “now” factor of Barry Bonds versus Jeff Gordon, Stuart Scott literally asked which one of them would draw the most amazed double-takes if they walked into a party. This is what passes for sports analysis now?

And even if we take the exercise seriously, some of the decisions they reach are mind-blowing. How Barry Bonds was eliminated in the first round is completely beyond me. Like him or not, the fact is that he’s one of the greatest baseball players EVER to step onto the field. Also, you almost literally cannot open a sports section of a newspaper, or a sports-related website, or ESP-fucking-N, without seeing something about Barry Bonds and his chase of Hank Aaron’s home run record, and/or about his possible use of steroids. If being “now” is about being in the public eye even when you’re not on the field, Barry Bonds is surely the definition of “now,” right now. Yet he was beaten out by Jeff Gordon. I know NASCAR is big, but seriously, is Jeff Gordon’s combined on-track performance and off-track exposure at the moment even close to that of Bonds?

Hell, Bonds was only seeded 5th in his section of the pool, behind LeBron James, Derek Jeter, Reggie Bush, and Gordon.

Anyway, maybe this whole rant belongs in the Pit, and if the Mods want to move it there, that’s fine with me. I just wish ESPN would piss off with this bullshit, and actually cover the sports.

Poor? I was thinking that this whole thing is Stu’s pet project. That guy has always grated on my nerves.

Was it just me, or was Sandler absolutely miserable? He was either hung over or he simply realized how fucking stupid the whole segment was and wanted nothing to do with it.

Let’s not even dignify it by discussing the results.

When the Sopranos ended, SportsCenter opened their broadcast with a discussion of the event. The network has gone the way of the cable news networks. It’s not about journalism, it’s about the viewers. At least this is just sports. The irony is, they’re using this segment to fill the lull in a summer that’s suddenly so full of scandal that they probably have to cut back on baseball highlights to fit everything in the broadcast.

Agree 100%, total bullshit, total waste of time- it strikes me as a lame and unnecessary attempt to attract E! network fans. Watching a smart witty guy like Mike Greenberg have to suffer through it is painful.

“Oh, yeah. He’s now. He is so now. One thing I like about Derek Jeter is how now he is. He’s just so frigging now, I can’t believe it. If you asked me, ‘who’s now. . .you know, just really really now’ I’d have to say Derek Jeter. Maybe he’s not as good as A-Rod, but he’s just more now, you know. Like Michael Jordan was now once. He might have been the nowest ever when he was now, but you can’t say he’s now now.”

When that comes on, the feeling comes over me like when you see a comedian totally bombing and you’re embarrassed for him, and you just want it to end.

After seeing the first 10 seconds of the first one I ever caught, I just surf away now. I can’t watch it. I can’t even believe some writer/producer/whatever dreamed this up.

It’s so disgustingly shallow and stupid, even within the universe of sports discussion.

I remember way back when Sportscenter was about sports, and the news about sports. Now its a just a really lame talk show with filler segments that consume the show, like “Who’s Now” and breathless reports from John Clayton about how football team minicamps are going.

Personally, I think all the pre-game “analysis” is ridiculous–whatever the sport. But I don’t watch a lot of sports, so I’m coming from a decidedly biased POV.

You could be right. I’ve never thought of Scott as a great sports presenter, but i’ve always liked his sense of humor. But if this is, indeed, his pet project, then he needs to be clubbed like the rest of them.

I know this segment is just another chapter in the long decline of television programming in general, and ESPN in particular. But it’s just so goddamned awful that it transcends the usual dreck they feed us. It almost makes John Kruk’s baseball analysis seem intelligent, and that’s quite a feat.

Right. And previously, that didn’t worry me too much because if i wanted some bare-bones sports news (results, injuries, highlights, etc.) i could turn to ESPN News. It wasn’t great, but it was good enough. I tended to ignore Sports Center altogether.

But now Comcast, in its infinite wisdom, has removed ESPN News from its basic cable service here in the Baltimore area, so i no longer have that option. Fuckers.

The “Who’s Now” segment is one of the silliest things perpetrated by ESPN, and that is saying something. Even judged by its own rules, the network itself can’t claim to be “now”: Jeff Gordon beat Barry Bonds in the “now” rating, yet ESPN cuts-in live to show every friggin’ AB Bonds has in his pursuit of the HR record, while Gordon setting a milestone in passing Earnhardt’s race-wins total barely gets a mention late in an overnight Sportscenter.

But sadly, I predict more of this rather than less. ESPN has become so brand-conscious that it’s become just too expensive–both for cable operators and smaller sports looking for access on the channel. Thus, many sports leagues are/have developed their own broadcast outlets, and have found it’s a much cheaper way to reach their core audience. Bigger events stay on ESPN, but those are becoming fewer and farther between as the sports world diversifies, so there’s plenty of time for filler like PTI and “Who’s Now”.

Not to hijack, but while that may be true of ESPN, it’s certainly not true of television programming in general. I’d take Sopranos and Lost over the dimwitted fare of the '60s and '70s. TV is going through a golden age right now, and while nostalgia is always silly, it’s particularly silly in regards to television.

That’s just what I wanted to say. The “Hot Seat” and similar segments are gimmicky, who “Who’s Now” is just pointless.

I actually meant television news-and-information type channels and programs (ESPN, CNN, FOXNews, network news and current affairs, etc., etc.) that are turning into ridiculous gimmick-fests.

I agree that there is plenty of good TV programming around.

Ah yes. Apologies. I agree on all counts.

When I first read the thread title, I thought it said “Is ESPN’s “Who’s Now” the most REGARDED segment ever on television?”

I thought, “Jeez! You gotta be kidding me!!”

Hey…I like PTI! I just hate that they tried to somehow incorporate it into Sportscenter. SC should be a sports news show…a little silly at times but for all intents and purposes, it’s reporting news. Last year, there was a segment where Steve Phillips pretended he was the GM of various teams and was answering questions posed to him from a pretend press conference. It was the single most idiotic thing I’ve ever seen…until “Who’s now” cropped up.

If ESPN is so hell-bent on producing stupid programming, go right ahead. I just want them to keep it out of SC, and they don’t seem willing to do that.

Here in New York, SNY’s nightly sports show has recieved critisim for actually trying to be an across-the-board sports news program, as opposed to being a Mets-centric show that mentions other things (the Mets own the network). Right now, in spite of being a regional show, I feel like I’m getting better national coverage from there than from Sportscenter.

In fact, I think I’m ready to own it…Sportscenter, you are dead to me.

When I first saw the segment, I looked at my calendar, yep, summer. You can only recap so much baseball when there’s a show on your own channel called “Baseball Tonight”. Of course TPTB never saw this summer coming!
BTW where’s Vick on the chart? Will he progress to the next round? He’s pretty “Now”.

It’s painfully, embarassingly awful. It’s as trite, inane and shallow as E! News Live, which is saying something.

What’s worse is that it’s so bad it spawned this thread, reviving my repressed memory of Steve Phillips pretending to be a GM in a pretend press conference.


I cannot stand this segment. Admittedly, I don’t watch much SportsCenter these days anyway, because it’s been atrocious, and getting worse for several years now. The anchors have gone from maybe throwing out a cute catch phrase, or making a witty remark, to pumping their own “celebrity”, and trying to make a name for themselves. The same “SportsCenter” culture that has destroyed the jump shot in basketball, is ruining sportscasters.

My friends like this terrible show, and think it’s funny that I try to point out that it’s idiotic. Mike Francessa was going off on it last week. Part of his point was about how ESPN has become so caught up in promoting it’s shows, that SportsCenter is more or less a commercial for other ESPN programs. ESPNews is what SportsCenter used to be, and is gradually turning into what SportsCenter has become.

The excuse that “Summer is a slow sports month” doesn’t hold water. I hardly ever hear sound bites from any of the players after games. Why not let us hear what Alex Rodriguez has to say about approaching 500 home runs, or what someone thinks about possibly being traded? I’m more interested in that, than “ESPN original entertainment” like “The Bronx Is Burning” or “3”. Instead they’ve decided that they’re going to cater to … I have no idea who they’re targeting. They aren’t doing enough to bring in casual fans, and are doing just enough to irritate people that actually care.

The network doesn’t seem to have much direction. Do they want to make these terrible made-for-TV movies, or do they want to show sports. They need to make up their minds.

Maybe they’ll have male athletes determining whose the hottest female athelete next? :rolleyes:

Sorry 'bout that.

I think the fake news conference thing was even worse than this Who’s Now thing. I wish they would just re-show some of those Sports Century segments during the slow months of the year.