R.I.P., George Michael (not the Wham! singer)

For those of you who were sports fans pre-ESPN, George Michael of *George Michael’s Sports Machine * has died.

The Sports Machine was a precursor to SportsCenter. It was really the only show that had out of town sports highlights on a weekly basis. If I remember correctly it aired on Sunday nights after the 10:00 news (at least in the NYC market.) It was a good show.

ETA: in reading the linked article it says his show launched in 1984, which was after ESPN was already in existence. I could have sworn it was earlier, but it seems I was incorrect.

Wow. I know he stopped his show in recent years. Maybe he was sick with something. Either way, it appears he knew.

I had the same recollection, but upon reflection, I realized I watched it while living in Sackatomatoes, CA, in the early 80s. It should be noted that he had actually started the highlight program in Washington, D.C. in 1980, so if you lived in that market, you will have remembered him from pre-ESPN. It was in 1984 that the show was picked-up by NBC for syndication.

ETA: When I lived in Sacramento, we didn’t have cable, yet. Being able to watch the highlights on the local NBC channel on Sunday night was a real bonus.

Yeah, he was the sportscaster on channel 4 in DC for years and had that highlight show going back as long as I remember.

I thought Michael Cera had died for a minute there.

I think you’re right about Sunday nights for his show. We always watched, even the kids. I’m not much of a sports fan and definitely not knowledgeable about sports, but the show was educational and entertaining.

A coodle doodle doo! A coodle doodle doo!!!

Have you ever seen a chicken?

[enters Lindsay]

Calk-ee Calk-ee Calk-ee!!

In addition to sports machine he used to be the sports anchor on our local NBC station in DC. I loved that he would report pro wrestling utterly earnestly, just as if it were any other sport. “This is a great move by Ric Flair. He’s really making a comeback.” The expressions on the other anchors were priceless.


He was a great sports anchor. R.I.P.

I’ll always have good memories of the Sports Machine…since it was on after the local news on Sundays I only got to watch it during the summer months when I was a kid, so he meant summer vacation to me.

“Tonight, through the use of the Sports Machine…”

He was part of growing up in DC.


I wonder how many of the young folk have any idea how cool and important Sports machine was.

The only news source available daily was the evening news. They had about 5 minutes, and 4 minutes and thirty seconds was dedicated to the local teams. Then they just flashed other scores they had time for. If you were a fan of another team you would know how they did maybe once a week. Then you had to read the next days paper for a small blurb, and wait until the weekly Sports Illustrated(if dad payed for it, which mine didn’t, much of my info came months late in the doctor/dentist/repairshop waiting room) for a larger blurb.

But then Sports Machine got synidcated locally and gave a sports fan a good fix on what happened and we actually got to see the key plays :slight_smile:

Of course ESPN and HBO inside the NFL and shows like eclipsed it completely, but for a good 8 year period I never missed Michaels.

Not to mention the fact that, at the time he was doing his thing, a large chunk of the country still did not have cable. I didn’t have cable television until 1987, and went back off cable in 1992, forced to get sattelite TV as a result. So for people without cable, the Sports Machine was the ONLY way to get those highlights, even after ESPN started up.

He left WRC after they told him that he had to fire some of his staff to cut costs. He basically replied, “I’m the expensive one; fire me first, and save these other jobs.” Had to admire him.