October 18, 2005

The Stephen A. Flypaper Theory

Perhaps I was wrong to lose my faith in the sports-watching public. From Deadspin comes news that, quite frankly, no one is watching Stephen A. Smith's new ESPN2 show. The show was likely the most hyped launch in the history of the Worldwide Leader, yet is averaging a ratings share of .02%, which is even lower than what was running in that time slot before. Deadspin says it best:

The sad part about this is that Smithís show continues to get good guests; this weekís stars included Jim Brown, Rudi Johnson and Ozzie Smith. And itís still doing worse than billiards. Itís almost as if, we dunno, viewers might have a problem, with, say, the host. Just a guess.
In fact, I sort of like the idea that Stephen A. has his own show- this way, rather than popping up on every single show on the network, Stephen is instead confined to an hour per day, which is easy to avoid.

That whole "flypaper" theory of the Iraq war, which states that we're better off fighting the terrorists over there rather than here and elsewhere all over the world, is based on strikingly similar reasoning.

But that doesn't mean Smith hasn't wrecked havoc on the sportswriting profession in other ways: The New York Times points out the disturbing trend that "ESPN Sports Speak" is now being used, largely unconsciously, by sportswriters across the country.

Posted by Stephen Silver at October 18, 2005 01:49 AM
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