SBD/May 20, 2011/Media

Reading Room: ESPN Tell-All On Best-Seller List Even Before Book Release

Jim Miller and Tom Shales' upcoming release “Those Guys Have All The Fun: Inside The World at ESPN” has “already cracked the Top 5 best-sellering books on Amazon.com, and it won't be released to the public until Tuesday,” according to Tom Hoffarth of the L.A. DAILY NEWS. Excerpts published “under a cloak of secrecy in GQ and Entertainment Weekly magazines created such a stinging buzz earlier this week, the publishers lifted a media embargo on further paragraph extractions.” Review copies were “rushed out to more reviewers, hoping to keep the salivating chatter going.” Former ESPN anchor and current Dodgers radio announcer Charley Steiner is “one of the 500-plus people who talked to the authors for his take on the company.” Steiner: "I'm absolutely fascinated by the interest, and how many may buy it and what impact it has on anything. It's just mindboggling to me." Dan Patrick, who spent 18 years at ESPN as a host on both TV and radio, said, "I don't think people are going to read the book and come away with what they want. The previous book by Mike Freeman ("ESPN: The Uncensored History" in 2000) had a lot of sexual harassment stories in it. I think that you will find with these writers is they did their homework. And the story after the book is out will be: What wasn't in the book?” (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 5/20). CNBC's Darren Rovell, who worked at ESPN from '00-06, writes the "genius of the book are the little surprises that come at least once every 10 pages." That is largely because Miller and Shales "somehow got ESPN's blessing and got former and current employees to open up about their experiences." Rovell notes he also was "gripped by the most behind the scenes negotiations of TV deals that has ever been compiled from the insiders themselves" (CNBC.com, 5/20).

MANIC MONDAYS
: USA TODAY Friday published an excerpt from the book where ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser said, “The whole time I was on ‘Monday Night Football,’ Chris Berman never mentioned my name. He loathes me, in part because of the stuff I used to write about him.” Berman: “In the mid-90s, somebody said I was in a bar and used a pickup line on a woman wearing a leather bra and she left with me. … Kornheiser, chose to run with it, and the Internet chose to run with it for years. I don’t even know what ‘it’ is, but it’s a very dangerous thing, especially when a colleague piles on and gives credence to it.” Meanwhile, ESPN.com's Bill Simmons said "MNF" play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico “never wanted to work with Tony. He made a decision that he wasn’t going to sell him at all and that he was going to undermine him as subtly as he could” (USA TODAY, 5/20).

SUBTLETY IS A VIRTUE: In the intro to the 6:00pm ET edition of ESPN's "SportsCenter" Thursday, anchor Steve Levy said, "We've got you for the next two hours or so right up until 'Kia NBA Countdown.' That's not to say we're going to let those guys have all the fun preparing for Game Two of the Western Conference Finals" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 5/19).
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