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11 Questions with Chuck Todd
3. Innovation in Political Media Drive by Sports Media?
Posted On 05.17, 2013

4 of 12

‹‹ 2. What Makes ESPN.com Good? 4. Tempted by a Sports Column? ››

RCS: A few months ago, RealClearSports conducted an interview with Tony Kornheiser in which he described the vision of Pardon The Interruption’s creator Erik Rydholm."[He]’s a genius.  He created everything you see on the screen that’s being borrowed, and I use the word borrowed kindly -- that’s being lifted and stolen by every single network in the world.  Erik Rydholm invented that. PTI is a great TV show…Now every network does it in every show they have. All the sports shows do it. The news shows do it.  Everybody: MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, ABC, NBC, CBS.  They put people on clocks. They try and do games with people. They run a crawl. They run stuff on the screen.  It’s too bad he didn’t patent it. It’s too bad he didn’t get paid for it, because he’d be a zillionaire."

You’re affiliated with three of the stations Kornheiser mentioned. How accurate is his statement? How much of the innovation in political media is driven by innovation in sports media?

Todd: Well I certainly think he’s over-congratulating himself on that front, but I have heard that quite a few times.

I actually think that cable has failed to recreate PTI and what PTI does well. Trust me I know of couple of instances where we tried at MSNBC and it hasn’t worked. I think we could have done some things differently that maybe possibly would have made it work. There is an aspect that, at least in Washington intelligence, would respond well to a political Washington show that is truly modeled after PTI. But I actually think the problem is you haven’t seen, and there actually hasn’t been an exact copy. The fact is we haven’t done it. We’ve tried and failed so we’ve gone another way on that front when it comes to supposedly copying PTI. But I do think what sports media did -- and obviously ESPN -- was create the first successful cable show to figure out how to make money and use business and all this stuff.  So of course anybody worth their salt is going to try to look at ESPN and see what works.

ESPN, on television, has always seemed to be ahead in dealing with society's ADD issue. We’re an ADD society now. We’re entering an age in which there’s no more context. Look at the stuff that’s not working on ESPN. E:60, their version of 60 Minutes. All their long form stuff isn’t quite working. But what worked was when they started ESPNEWS, or when they started PTI, or when they started stuff that moves, adding HD information bars that are all over the place and all over the TV. They’ve been very good at dealing with the ADD issue of television audiences. Which of course is a challenge for all cable news audiences.

In many ways though I think as much as these people may want to say it was CNBC that ripped this stuff, I think they ripped some stuff from CNBC. CNBC had to do it because of statistics. And just the tickers and all that stuff. I think that’s where some of that stuff gets started and some of the news programs do try to borrow a little bit from that.

RCS Interviews Chuck Todd




‹‹ 2. What Makes ESPN.com Good? 4. Tempted by a Sports Column? ››

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