SBD/Issue 205/Sports Media

ESPN Hires Longtime Producer Don Ohlmeyer As Third Ombudsman

Ohlmeyer Becomes
ESPN Ombudsman
ESPN has hired former sports producer Don Ohlmeyer as its third Ombudsman for an 18-month term that begins in August. Ohlmeyer has served as a producer, director and writer for sports and entertainment programming since '67, including as NBC West Coast President until '99. Ohlmeyer worked for NBC as a producer from '77-82, then returned to the net in '93 as President, where he oversaw all of the company's entertainment-related business. Prior to his work with NBC, Ohlmeyer produced and directed three Olympics for ABC, as well as "MNF" and "Wide World of Sports." He also previously served on ESPN's BOD. Ohlmeyer succeeds former N.Y. Times Sports Editor Le Anne Schreiber as ombudsman, whose term ended in March. Former Washington Post Sports Editor George Solomon was ESPN's first ombudsman from '05-07 (ESPN).

MEDIA REAX: AWFUL ANNOUNCING's Brian Powell writes, "It seems like a great hire on the surface, and while hiring Ohlmeyer is certainly a splash, you can't help but remember some of his more famous hires for Monday Night Football. Namely one, Dennis Miller. ... His credentials are obviously there, and while I would have rather ESPN hire someone who wasn't once on their board, he'll certainly know what he's talking about" (AWFULANNOUNCING.com, 7/14). FANHOUSE.com's Michael David Smith writes Ohlmeyer is "well respected in the sports media world," though he is "known to many as the man who was savaged by Norm MacDonald and David Letterman during a hilarious 'Late Show' interview" in '98 (FANHOUSE.com, 7/14). The Washington Times' Tim Lemke on his Twitter feed writes Ohlmeyer's "most notable accomplishment in broadcasting has to be the hiring of Conan O'Brien in '93" (TWITTER.com, 7/14). PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio notes the ESPN ombudsman "typically posts a monthly column, which sometimes gets lost in the alphabet junkyard known as ESPN.com," but perhaps Ohlmeyer's "reputation and profile will prompt ESPN to publicize his work more aggressively" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 7/14).

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