Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Minimizing a minimal role

Michael Hiestand's USA Today column discusses comments by NBC's Andrea Kremer about ESPN's decision to marginalize two female MNF sideline reporters. It's unfortunate, agreed. But, as Hiestand points out, CBS has already dropped its sideline reports, so MNF's decision here should not be a surprise. The sideline role has become virtually the only place where women covering big-time sports get face time (which is measured in seconds, not minutes) -- and it has been framed as a dispensable role.
Kremer charges that ESPN's decision "sets back women." I would argue that when it comes to sports TV, they simply couldn't be set back much more than they were before ESPN's announcement. Women have always been on the sidelines in relationship to televised sports -- and that's the bigger problem.


Jason Clinkscales said...

My problem with the decision is beyond the apparent stance viewers may see towards women sideline reporters. It's just that the decision doesn't seem to make much sense to begin with. One, they have all done as asked by the producers and executives and they have done a great service to those of us watching the games. Unless there are overtly sexist viewers who complained about them, they never forced their gender onto the fans, players or coaches.

Of course, the ironic part about David Hill's comments was that while Oliver has proven to be "absolutely necessary", they also keep some eye candy for the pregame show in Jillian Reynolds. Why? Still not sure.

Fat Louie said...

I think the presence of women, plural, on MNF *was* a big deal. Especially since neither of them fit the typical 'blond bimbo' mode. It really seemed to me that it was a step toward parity, with Pam Ward also starting to call some college football. The attempted firing of these women is thus a significant setback. But I do agree that "I've had nothing yet, so I can't take more" or in this case, less, is a realistic general take on women in sports broadcasting.