SBD/September 12, 2013/Media

Texas A&M, CBS Discuss School's Concerns Over "Johnny Cam" Following QB Manziel

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CBS' "Johnny Cam" will mostly be looking for Manziel's emotional reactions
Texas A&M Univ. and SEC officials have "reached out to CBS with concerns about 'Johnny Cam,'" the camera that will be solely focused on A&M QB Johnny Manziel during Saturday's game against Alabama, according to Allen Reed of the Bryan-College Station EAGLE. Texas A&M Associate AD/Media Relations Alan Cannon said that he "spoke with representatives from the network" about the camera and added that the conversation "helped soothe some of the university's concerns." Cannon: "We visited with folks at CBS and expressed concern and got more clarification. It's not one camera that if you had DirecTV that you could somehow watch this one camera. It's also not streamed anywhere. That would be a competitive disadvantage. I was assured this is not the case. It is one camera in the mix of 12 or 16. ... There will be a camera trained on Johnny all the time. This one particular camera is looking more for the emotions" (Bryan-College Station EAGLE, 9/12). CBS College Football Coordinating Producer Craig Silver said, "No matter where he is and no matter what part of the game it is, we will have a shot of it. If he is anywhere in sight of that camera, we will catch it." Silver said that he "considered keeping an isolation camera on former Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight when he produced CBS's coverage of Big Ten basketball, and credited CBS Sports executive producer Harold Bryant with the Johnny Cam idea." Meanwhile, Silver said that CBS viewers "should not expect a dissertation on the off-the-field issues surrounding Manziel during the CBS game broadcast." ESPN's "College GameDay" is airing live from College Station Saturday, and Senior Coordinating Producer Lee Fitting said, "I can promise you the show won't turn into 'Manziel Mania' for three hours. Will the viewer get their fill of Manziel? Sure. Will we cover every angle of the game? Yes. But will we go overboard? Absolutely not" (Richard Deitsch, SI.com, 9/8).

THE SINGLE GUY: Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin on Tuesday said, "I just don't understand why there's got to be one guy singled out and put a camera on all the time. That's not what we're about, that's not what we're trying to promote." TIME's Sean Gregory writes, "It's easy to chastise the network for sending the wrong message with the Johnny Cam: that one player is above it all and special and had good reason to have a swollen ego and sense of entitlement." However, it is "pure business." In its attempt to "recoup cost through high ratings and advertising dollars, CBS has every reason to put its cameras anywhere, and everywhere, it needs to." Gregory: "Manziel is a polarizing figure. He draws eyeballs, even those of casual fans" (TIME.com, 9/12).

ALL ATTENTION TO COLLEGE STATION
: Cannon said that Texas A&M is "doing its best to accommodate the unprecedented amount of media requests" for Saturday's game. The EAGLE's Reed reports ESPN will broadcast live from A&M's campus Friday, while "College Football Live" will join "GameDay" in broadcasting live from campus Saturday. CBS' studio show "will relocate" from N.Y. to College Station on Saturday, while ESPN Radio and SiriusXM radio "will air live on Friday and Saturday near the Memorial Student Center." The game will "host its normal press corps" as well as national outlets including the N.Y. Times, USA Today, the Chicago Sun-Times and the AP. Alabama Associate AD/Media Relations Doug Walker said that there were "some parallels in regard to the media attention" from the LSU-Alabama regular-season game two years ago. Walker: "You end up with easily upward of double what your normal requests are. What really ends up taxing you is the amount of specialty programs doing live shots" (Bryan-College Station EAGLE, 9/12).
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