Well guys for the next few weeks (two at best quite possibly three) I’ll be inundated with work as I’ve been asked to assist and participate in a multi office task . When there’s a call to arms and money to be made then there’s nothing else to be said ! I will however try to still contribute pieces over the ensuing weeks as and when I can . In the meantime as I such I’ll provide you to links of sites where I’ve found the pieces to be insightful and at times thought provoking . The contributors in question are some of the most interesting bloggers around . They’re informative , funny and irreverent when they need to be but at the same time they can be serious as and when needed. So without much ado simply click on the links provided below to read.
Picture gallery for your perusal and by clicking on a gallery image you can view each frame in its original formatted size.
However if there’s any of my work you’d like to review from my other sites then click on any of the following : All are under the tophatal moniker . So check out the different categories and chime in with a comment as you see fit.
I don’t know whether it’s sheer stupidity on my part or just my love of sports and the fact that I love to exchange thoughts on a wide variety of subjects that are far reaching and that have depth. But sports for me is the one topic I find that the inter change between myself and others within this particular forum can be insightful. Obviously we can’t always agree on any one particular aspect of a subject matter. But as long as there’s a healthy respect between the two parties then it’s all well and good.
Within the wordpress.com forum, I initiated four sites that I actually write within. I was also asked to contribute to another site wherein there was a sister site also. The two sites in question were the basketballoracle.com and the americansportsblog . Both of the proprietors of the sites in question , are rabid sports’ fans . But unfortunately, their naivete’ and a total lack understanding of what it takes to build up a site to respectability and interest in my opinion, has led to their somewhat lack of interest and response from readers this sphere and forum.
Since my departure from the Fox forum and their somewhat archaic values ! I’ve found a ‘new lease of life’ branching out and doing my own stuff, here within wordpress. And along the way it’s been fun to find out that many of my other acquaintances from Fox have gone and branched out themselves. From Moon Dog , to sportschump to , ‘KP’ with his , ‘the wife hate sports’ site ( http://thewifehatessports.com/ – [ highly recommended reading !]) . Well, it’s been fun to find out that these guys now flourishing in their new endeavors and that the content of their work is still, as good as ever !
Along the way also in surfing the ‘net’ and the blog sites devoted to sports, I’ve found the following that I for one thoroughly enjoy. These sites though sports oriented , do cover other off-beat and topical subjects as well as sports. The guys of ‘Too Old For Maxim Too Young For Esquire http://2oldformaxim.wordpress.com have a ‘great site’ that is as funny as they come. Often topical, often upbeat but always very sincere and reverent, with regards to their subject matter. ‘Ronin’, ‘Erik’ and ‘Steve’ make this a fun and topical site, where your comments though not always initially answered are given due respect when they respond. The same too can be said of the guys of ‘doin-work.com’ ( http://doin-work.com) and their site. Chicken soup for the soul shall we say ? Boy, do these guys know how to have fun or what ? Never mind that they’ll blow their own trumpet as with regards to their teams with their unbridled passion for them all. And given the fact that their support for teams such as the ‘Raiders’ and ‘A’s’ is unyielding. I wouldn’t expect any-the-less from this quartet of rabid sports’ fans ! chappy 81, mceezy, dyslecix and cali4dre just seem to have been ‘hittin’ the long ball’out of the ballpark for quite a while now. Kudos to them for the efforts !
Bobbygee , ( http://defutebol.net/ ) the ‘irreverent soccer nut’, simply won’t let the sport go down without an impassioned fight. He gives you updates on all of the major leagues that matter and his insight on the sport is second to none. And even if you aren’t a fan of the game he simply lays it out all to you in layman’s terms. If you’re unable to comprehend then there’s got to be something wrong on your part. Either that , or you find the sport about as interesting as watching paint dry or Rosie O’Donnell disrobe, while trying to prove to you that, she too can be as sexually overt as Angelina Jolie . Heavens forbid but O’Donnell stripping has to be an utterly ghastly sight !
Staying with the sport of soccer in general . There aren’t too many females with a knowledge of the sport , much less a thorough and wide ranging knowledge of sports in general. But here I’ve found a fellow Brit, like myself, who knows a thing or two about the sport. Her in depth look at the Premiership (EPL) and the teams therein, are as factual and insightful as any guy or reputable writer on the sport there is. Vaishali Bhardwaj’s site(http://vaishalibhardwaj.wordpress.com ) is good as they come but as I’ve alluded to before . Unless you’re a keen ‘soccer buff’, then you won’t find the sport or her analysis at all interesting. But make of it what you will.
The quartet of sites that I maintain within the forum are essentially on all on sports. But I have been known to delve outside the genre to cover politics and international affairs as well as business. But that asides, sports is an unbridled passion of mine. Just call me a sport’s geek , as that’s how I like to think of myself. Especially as an avid fans of the Spurs (NBA), Patriots (NFL), Marlins, (MLB) and of ‘both’ Premiership (EPL) soccer teams, Chelsea and Manchester United . What can I say ? I’m literally ‘torn between the two teams’ when it comes to my supporting them both. Four sites , 350 posts, well over 153,000 hits and 2,200 plus responses. So to my mind, there’s to be room for improvement on all fronts, creatively and content wise. I’ll aim to do my best in offering up pieces that you’ll not only find interesting but will also provide you with some room for thought ? So thanks as always for your continued support and comments . For my fellow bloggers out there , just keep up the good work !
‘Bollywood’ actress and movie star Anjanu Sujkhani. Voted one of India’s most beautiful women , she’s also one of her country’s most sought after celebrities , male or female. Though yet to make it big internationally , Sukhani is now beginning to reach a much wider audience internationally as her movies are becoming more widely accepted on the international film arena. She’s quietly building a budding international fan-base.
The More Things Change The More They Remain The Same ………….
The notion that when a new found fad suddenly catches on , it all of a sudden becomes the next ‘big thing’ can often be seen as great. For myself , I just find it somewhat bemusing , merely from the fact that I’m now suppose to be in awe of the sport of ‘free running’. This was something that I was doing years ago, when I was heavily into the martial arts and the various forms of savate, jeet-kun-do and karate. But as as they say……’whatever floats your boat’.
This video is of some ‘free runners’ in the UK display their techniques. Make of it what you will. Enjoy.
And if ever you were unsure as to how good this is as an art form , then take a look at these scenes from the Bond movie ‘Casino Royale’ (2006) , starring Daniel Craig as Agent 007, otherwise known as James Bond of Her Majesty’s Secret Service. In the scene here is Sebastien Foucen,as Bond’s adversary ,the role of which he plays a terrorist by the name of ‘Mollaka’. He’s (Foucen) said to be founder of ‘free running’ as a competitive art form.
Not Wanting To Kick Someone While They’re Still Down But How Much Worse Can It Now Get For NBC …. ?
From the sublime to the ridiculous but it would appear that things are beginning to get markedly worse for the ‘peacock network’, NBC. What with the failed experiment of ‘The Jay Leno Show’ in an earlier primetime slot of 10.00pm(EST) . Now we’ve found out that in order to appease Jay Leno and the make haste the abrupt departure of Conan O’Brien . We now know that O’Brien will be paid $45 million (of which $12 million will go to his production staff of writers and ancillary workers as severance pay). Nice work if you can get it don’t you think ?
And after the hosting of the Vancouver Olympics, of NBC which is the sole distributor for its content here in the country and will serve as a feeder for nations across the globe. The month of February could become an elephant’s graveyard for the network entirely. NBC Sports President Dick Ebersole , who has overseen the division for close to two decades and has grown accustomed to seeing the vast expansiveness of the task that has to be undertaken to make sure that the coverage is the best possible that it can be. One now has to wonder though whether or not this is still a worthwhile endeavor on the part of the network to begin with ?
The deal underscores how the high profit-margin business of cable TV has become the financial backbone of media conglomerates.
By Meg James
In a momentous shift in the balance of power of the entertainment industry, cable television giant Comcast Corp. on Thursday made it official by announcing that it was buying control of NBC Universal from General Electric Co.
The proposed $30-billion transaction is the culmination of the longtime ambition by Comcast’s chief executive, Brian Roberts, to transform his family-controlled Philadelphia company from a passel of distribution pipes into a leading producer of movies and TV shows and owner of prominent cable channels.
The deal underscores how the high profit-margin business of cable TV — not a broadcast network or a Hollywood movie studio — has become the financial backbone of media conglomerates.
“Cable channels are the best part of the media business today; they are really the crown jewels of any entertainment company,” Comcast Chief Operating Officer Steve Burke told analysts in a conference call.
Unlike over-the-air broadcast networks, cable channels have two streams of revenue: subscriber fees and advertising. Roberts said that 82% of the operating income of the new entity would come from cable channels. Five of NBC Universal’s cable networks — USA, Syfy, Bravo, CNBC and MSNBC — generate $200 million a year or more each in operating income.
“We are creating a new company with an absolutely first-class set of cable channels,” Roberts said. “This is the logical evolution of our programming strategy.”
If federal regulators approve, a new joint venture would be created by pooling businesses from both companies. Comcast would provide nearly $14 billion in assets, including $6.5 billion in cash, for 51% ownership of the new entity. Comcast said its cable channels — including E, Versus, the Golf Channel and nine regional sports networks — were worth $7.25 billion. Comcast’s subscription cable TV systems would not be part of the new entity.
As part of the deal, GE would reduce its ownership in NBC Universal to 49% in exchange for $9.1 billion, which the new entity would assume as debt.
The Comcast deal marks the end of an era for NBC, which has been one of the brightest bulbs within GE for nearly a quarter-century. Under GE, NBC became a profit- and hit-making machine, inventing the slogan “must-see TV” and fielding such memorable programs as “Cheers,” “Seinfeld,” “Friends,” “Frasier” and “Law & Order.”
In order to read Meg James’ article in its
entirety just click unto the link provided herein
NBC Universal’s parent company , the vast conglomerate, GE has seen fit to divest itself of the network , its film making division, Universal Studios and its similarly named theme parks’ division, Universal Theme Parks. As to what this suggests as to the network and its now moribund state. Well , it’s clear for those who aren’t as such acutely aware business people , the fact of the matter was that GE could no longer to afford to sink large amounts of money into a seemingly bottomless pit and not see anything tangible in return. The buyer of these assets is none other than cable company, Comcast,the nation’s largest cable provider. And the price tag is believe to be $30 billion for the purchase of the media conglomerate.
PASADENA, Calif. — NBC Universal says it expects to lose money televising the Winter Olympics from Vancouver next month.
NBC Sports chief Dick Ebersol said that while advertising sales were soft for much of last year, they have picked up as the Olympics drew near. The loss comes primarily due to the stiff rights fee NBC paid to broadcast the games, he said.
NBC paid $820 million for the rights to televise the Winter Games. That compares to the $613 million paid for the rights to televise the Olympics in Turin, Italy, in 2006.
Ebersol said it will be the first time NBC has lost money on the games since he began producing the telecasts from Barcelona in 1992.
The head of NBC’s parent company, General Electric’s Jeffrey Immelt, told investors recently that he expected NBC would lose “a couple hundred million bucks” on the games.
NBC won’t cut back on its coverage plans due to the financial problems, the network said.
It remains unclear whether this financial reality will affect negotiations for the U.S. rights to televise the Olympics in 2014 and 2016. The International Olympics Committee is expected to award coverage rights sometime this year.
The bidding for those games has the potential to be a battle of media titans, including Fox’s News Corp. and Disney. Ebersol said he expected the games to be awarded before any federal regulatory approval of Comcast’s agreement to take over NBC Universal.
NBC Universal will televise some 835 hours of Olympics programming next month, starting Feb. 12, on the broadcast network and cable affiliates like CNBC, MSNBC and USA. Because the games are not overseas, NBC will have the advantage of many more prime-time events taking place live.
These Olympics also mark the return of Al Michaels to Olympics coverage. The veteran broadcaster, who called the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” game between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, joined NBC from ABC in 2006. Michaels will be a studio host.
In order to read David Bauder’s article in its entirety
just click unto the link provided herein
Comcast’s Chairman & CEO Brian L. Roberts may well make the decision to divest himself as what he sees as none core assets. So it may well be that he could well see fit to sell the theme parks’ division as a way of recouping part of his original investment. But for the moment will assay the situation and sees what best fits his company’s needs. However, Roberts as the owner in waiting , he can’t be entirely happy with what he has seen going on within the corporate headquarters of NBC and the fallout from this disaster concerning Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien. This isn’t certainly the reason he saw fit to purchase this once venerable network. Over the past decade however it has to be said that NBC has its way, footing , hold and once maniacal grip on the network ratings. It is now longer the term they once used so successfully ‘ ………. the station for must see tv’ . If anything that statement is now mute and no longer merited. The network’s programming has become stale and completely devoid of creativity. But it still it harbors itself under the impression that it is still an important part of the television landscape. About the only place where it can perhaps make such a valid statement or claim is when it comes to the coverage of the evening news. There it remains the number one broadcast network for its coverage of the primetime evening news. And for that it should be thankful to its news’ division and the professionalism shown by news’ anchorman, Brian Williams and his presentation of NBC’s Nightly News.
As I alluded to earlier NBC as the sole provider and the very fact that it also holds the North American rights to the broadcasting not only the Summer Olympics but also the Winter Olympics. Its upcoming coverage of the Vancouver Games will be of a great deal of responsibility to the sports’ division of the network and to Dick Ebersole in particular. The network has a great deal riding on its success and also financially. But if the rumors now circulating are to believed then it has to be said that NBC has to rethink its whole focus and thought process as to whether or not such a large investment in manpower and financial resources is still worth it, if there are to be projected losses in the coverage of the games. It has been widely speculated that the network stands to lose in excess of $300 million in the coverage of the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Hardly what one would believe to be a sound investment. But this nonetheless has been the sort of complacency and lack of foresight shown that has led the network to its present predicament and where its said to be hemorrhaging money that is in many respects why GE felt it was no longer a safe bet as ‘a sure fire producer of profits’ that it could rely on ‘to bump up its bottom line’.
Now not only will NBC Universal have to prove that it’s a viable brand to have within Comcast’s umbrella but also that it’s a soundly managed well organized unit. Certainly when a company of this size and nature can afford to lose $200-$250 million almost at the drop off a hat and then try ‘to chalk it up’ it as just being part of ‘the nature of just doing business’ . Then there has to be something wrong with te mindset and the thinking within the boardroom and the management style of that company altogether. And that has nothing to do with the mere fact that this just happens to be company whose parent happens to laden with a multi billion dollar ‘cash war chest’. Seemingly they’re forgetting that they’re just a small unit of the vast conglomerate that makes GE (‘General Electric’).
The struggles of the company notwithstanding, another problem ahead for NBC appears to be with the downturn ‘ad dollars’, in terms of on air advertising and with an even acuter falloff in the network’s viewership. A question that has to be asked is “……..will anyone afford the time to actually take an interest in watching the ‘Winter Olympics’ ? . The network will be devoting almost 835 hours of coverage over a sixteen day period starting on the 12th February with the culmination of the closing ceremony on 28th February 2010. We know that events such figure skating, snowboarding ,alpine skiing , and hockey will no doubt garner a great deal of attention. But it appears that the network is pinning its hopes and its vast resources in the fact the nation will be taking an interest in the event itself. What little advertising that it has done to promote the event has been around such established stars as Apolo Anton Ohno, Lindsey Vonn, Ted Ligety and whatever ice skating stars who happen to be most noted of the moment. Such is the dilemma of the station that it is hard to see how they can cultivate the excitement need to draw enough of an appeal in terms of a viewership response. Outside of the event itself the names of the individuals mentioned here aren’t that well known to the public on a national basis. And whatever hopes that they might have pinned on the homegrown talent of NHL professionals representing Team USA, might as well be pinned on the tail of a pinata and then struck countless times for all of the good that it might do ! Does anyone actually watch live NHL hockey on television anymore ?
As popular as the Olympics and its ideals appear to be . The Winter Olympics are often seen as mundane and uninteresting to begin with. They at times stir up about as much interest as a political debate between two mono-toned personality challenged candidates. So at this juncture all I have to is ‘………. will you be watching NBC’s coverage of the events and how much time if any will you devote watching an event’ ? With things being what they are now at NBC , you might as well be watching paint dry on a wall for all the interest that it would create !
Click here to see the list of US Winter Olympic team members.
NBC Universal’s problems are synonymous with this now famous O’Jays’ hit from the early seventies ‘For The Love of Money’. There’s nothing wrong in making it but it’s how you go about it and what the end results are, as to how you’ve derived of it that ought to count. Clearly, at NBC that hasn’t been their biggest concern as of late , as they were under the impression that ‘the tap’ wasn’t about to be turned off by GE .
If We’re Unable To First Laugh At Ourselves Then As A Race We Shouldn’t Be Critical Of Others
Perhaps there isn’t a truer statement that can best describe the human race . But given the climate of the bigotry recently shown by Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson . I think the irreverent humor , acerbic wit and insight shown by comedian Dave Chappelle tells us a lot about many of our own self absorbed traits. Maybe this skit from one of his most well received and Emmy winning show sums up what I’m saying .
The now famous ‘Racial Draft’ still sends me to this day into fits of laughter. I think it has to be one of the funniest things done ever for a comedic episode of television. Chappelle to mind was in a class of his own as a comedian ! Far funnier the lillywhite humor of Seinfeld . Have fun and enjoy the skit .
As an added bye-note this may well be the funniest and most irreverent of all the skits done by Chappelle on his hit sketch comedy show. The now oh so infamous black white supremacist Clayton Bigsby skit. I do hope that you enjoy ?
So NBC now becomes the ‘bitch’ that many said they’d become . From a once lofty perch where they reigned supreme in terms of primetime tv programming. The network now looks up from the bottom rung of an all shaky ladder. Broadcast network programming is now so lame and banal that it doesn’t bear thinking about. What real quality and innovative programming that there is, now is being seen on cable television. And we are now witnessing an ever increasing glut of reality television that’s so insipid and tawdry. Primary reason behind it ? It’s cheap and easy to produce and it doesn’t take a great deal of input and thought.
The most watched scripted program on television just happens to be a crime procedural drama on CBS. ‘NCIS’ and its spin-off ‘NCIS Los Angeles’ are ‘big money makers’ for the network. And as the nation’s most watched network, CBS, this merely vindication for what they’ve long felt in appealing to their core group of fans. Albeit, that they still have their fair share of reality shows but that in part doesn’t anywhere paint a clear picture of the network. They’ve pursued a broad base of programming that in essence is built around a broad based demographic. The same cannot be said of Fox, ‘whose only top 10 show’ is ‘American Idol’ . But yet that’s but ‘a one trick pony’ which is now at its zenith , soon to be marked by a steady decline viewership.And with the onset in the departure of Simon Cowell from the show. It can’t be all that long before Fox’s President of network programming , Peter Rice will be looking to see how much more juice they can still squeeze out of the program.
In reality the show itself, has only created three major household stars. Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson and Oscar winning actress and singer, Jennifer Hudson. Now some might say that Clay Aiken and the androgynous persona of Adam Lambert are stars in the making. But that would surmise that Sarah Palin in her new found position as commentator on Fox News, would make for a credible political analyst and pundit. But to each his own as they say.
NBC as a network has proven to me that it became too comfortable and complacent as a program content provider. Never mind the fact that the network hasn’t produced a top ten program in almost a decade. They relied on staples such as ‘Friends’ , ‘Law & Order’ and its spin-offs for far too long. And when it comes to comedy programming it’s so far behind the 8 ball that it doesn’t bear mentioning. OK so they’re now ever more reliant on Tina Fey’s well received show ’30 Rock’ to provide them with credibility. Though it is critically acclaimed , it’s not widely watched and its viewership isn’t enough to guarantee that it even cracks the top in the Nielsens’ ratings.
Leno takes shots at his late night NBC counterpart. As to what this all suggests as to the idiocy of both. In essence it shows how completely out of touch they both are as to the gravity of the situation !
It has to be said that the late night talk show landscape long reigned over by Johnny Carson , until his retirement from show (‘The Tonight Show’) that bore his name , has now become a barren landscape. Please don’t tell me that the likes of Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien are immensely funny. Granted, both appeal to a differing fan base but in reality they are about as funny as having a heart attack. The stupid notion that in moving Leno from his late night slot of 11.30 pm to a primetime evening slot at 10.00 pm, was about to change the face of programming . Well by my way of thinking NBC’s thought that this was meant to be simply innovative. I can only think that NBC was in fact taking lessons from the idiots who ran or should I say almost ruined Chrysler and GM with their lack of forward thinking and innovative creativity ? .
The failed experiment has cost NBC tens of millions of dollars and the network has ran the wrath of its affiliates from the fallout. O’Brien’s initial ratings were something of a success but it had begun to decline. Leno, if anything suffered a far worse fate, as there was scathing criticism from the television critics but even more startling was the decline in viewers for the show. Jay Leno as a host, was never someone who had a knack for interviewing a guest. If anything, Leno’s appeal were his introductory monologues. Beyond that , it is like watching a comatose child succumbing to the inevitability of death.
As reported by an ABC affiliate .
Now NBC has decided that they will pay O’Brien to leave the network and vacate his late night 11.30 pm slot. The rumored $45 million payout ($33 million to the host and $12 million in severance to his staff) to Conan O’Brien is more than an indication of failure on NBC’s part. But it clearly shows how out of touch the network is, when it comes to knowing what the market place desires and wants. And with the network now in the hands of a new parent company. NBC was is now in the midst of being sold by its parent company GE to cable provider, Comcast. The synergy between the two ought to be beneficial for both parties. GE will still retain a minority stake in network but given that profits from the network has been steadily on the decline for the last few years. It could well be that GE will completely divest itself of any remnants in terms of its investment.
Jeff Zucker who oversees NBC/Universal, the film and tv production arm for parent company GE. It was Zucker’s original decision to change the template of the network’s primetime programming . A task which he felt was needed and placed in the hands of network programming executive Jeff Gaspin , Head of NBC Universal Television Entertainment. Two ‘clueless brain dead’ individuals as you’re ever likely to come across !
As to who comes out this all looking bad ? Well let’s just say that Conan O’Brien is all smiles as he is now $33 million richer after his brief soiree as a late night talk show host in the once venerable slot. Leno now marches back to the time slot with his tails between his legs. Now as to what this tells us about the network , it’s clear that one more miscalculation on their part . And it could portend to a calamitous situation for the network. As I’ve stated already the network hasn’t produced a viable or credible top ten program in almost a decade. It’s been a long time coming but the network has now in essence become a stable for the banal, the idiotic , the idiotic and in terms of a fallout it has been nowhere the seismic shift that NBC claimed it would be. Simply put the absurdity that the network has shown is a clear indication how far the network has fallen. It’s now number four in the pecking order behind CBS , ABC and Fox. And if you’re wondering how grave the situation has become for NBC ? Consider this, on a bad day its viewership even becomes lower , that it isn’t even enough to garner it amongst the top ten most watched shows on cable. Never mind, the network is now hoping that we’re all prepared to watch the Winter Olympics, with its live broadcast of the spectacle from Vancouver , Canada. What will you be watching ?
If there’s anything more indicative as to NBC’s present plight then it may well Birdman’s self style ode ‘Money To Blow’ feat’g Drake and ‘Lil’ Wayne.