Those Guys Have All The Fun: Inside The World Of Espn

Paperback | December 1, 2011

byJames Andrew Miller, Tom Shales

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It began, in 1979, as a mad idea of starting a cable channel to televise local sporting events throughout the state of Connecticut. Today, ESPN is arguably the most successful network in modern television history, spanning eight channels in the Unites States and around the world. But the inside story of its rise has never been fully told-until now.
Drawing upon over 500 interviews with the greatest names in ESPN's history and an All-Star collection of some of the world's finest athletes, bestselling authors James Miller and Tom Shales take us behind the cameras. Now, in their own words, the men and women who made ESPN great reveal the secrets behind its success-as well as the many scandals, rivalries, off-screen battles and triumphs that have accompanied that ascent. From the unknown producers and business visionaries to the most famous faces on television, it's all here.

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From the Publisher

It began, in 1979, as a mad idea of starting a cable channel to televise local sporting events throughout the state of Connecticut. Today, ESPN is arguably the most successful network in modern television history, spanning eight channels in the Unites States and around the world. But the inside story of its rise has never been fully to...

James Andrew Miller is the author ofRunning in Place: Inside the Senateand coauthor of the national bestsellerLive from New York: An Uncensored History of 'Saturday Night Live.'He has worked in virtually all aspects of journalism-as well as on the entertainment side of television production and development-for more than twenty years.To...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:832 pages, 9.25 × 5.88 × 1.38 inPublished:December 1, 2011Publisher:Little, Brown And CompanyLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:031604301X

ISBN - 13:9780316043014

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Customer Reviews of Those Guys Have All The Fun: Inside The World Of Espn

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Rated 3 out of 5 by from Comprehensive history #plumreview An exhaustive oral-history of the rise of ESPN as the predominant sports network of the United States. Interesting read.
Date published: 2016-11-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from These guys have all the fun This book is great. If you are into sports business this is a must read. The stories told give the reader a great look at events in the history of ESPN and lay out how the company was founded then developed into what it is today. I will say this though, it's not short read.
Date published: 2013-12-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inside ESPN: The Oral History of the Mothership James Miller's--its obvious from the Introduction to the Acknowledgments to the writing itself that the sports-indifferent Tom Shales main contribution was lending his name to the project--THOSE GUYS HAVE ALL THE FUN is an engaging, if overly long, look at what has made ESPN the media and cultural phenomena that it is. Using an oral history format, the narrative runs from ESPN's humble beginnings to its current status of world domination. According to Miller, there were nine steps in ESPN's history that fell perfectly for the company not only to survive, but to rise to the top of its field. 1) Original founders Bill and Scott Rasmussen's decision to buy a transpounder on RCA SATCOM I in 1978. 2) Getty Oil's investment of $15 million in May of 1979. 3) Creating a dual revenue stream in March 1983. 4) Coverage of the America's Cup Challenge in 1987. 5) Getting TV rights to NFL games in 1987. 6) The $400 million, 4-year MLB deal in 1989. 7) The mid-90s generated "THIS IS SPORTSCENTER" advertizing campaign. 8) The acquisition of a full season of NFL games in 1998. 9) The documentary series SPORTSCENTURY. The main players behind the scenes receive as much attention as the talent on screen. The Rasmussens have the idea, and negotiate an incredibly unlikely start, but are almost immediately kicked out the door by Stu Evey, the moneyman from Getty, and Chet Simmons, the legendary NBC producer. By the mid-1980s, Evey and Simmons were replaced by Bill Grimes and Steve Bornstein. By the 2000s, the respected and congenial George Bodenheimer was teamed with talented, but utterly brash Mark Shapiro. What didn't change, however, was Bristol, the little Connecticut village that is as much a character as any. To say that the talent didn't like living in Bristol would be an understatement. Better to work all day than to have an off day in Bristol. Miller, however, realizes that the best copy is always the talent. The main groupings are the professionals (Bob Ley, Robin Roberts, Charlie Steiner, Dan Patrick), the performers (Chris Berman, Craig Kilborn, Stephen A. Smith) and the out-of-control but immensely talented (Keith Olbermann). Smart, quick and insufferable, Olbermann's five years provide material enough for a separate volume. Miller writes, "Have Keith Theodore Olbermann spend a few seasons working at your TV network and see how you feel. Sort of like Kansas after a twister." On a level below Olbermann in talent (in Miller's eyes), but on the same level of being a whinny pain in-the-you-know-what is Bill Simmons. Those whom Miller exposes as being less than what they appear are Mike Tricio, Linda Cohn and Chris Berman. Tricio, rightly or wrongly, refused to give Tony Kornheiser any love in the MNF booth. Cohn's self-absorption tops Olbermann's. Berman is shown to be incapable of not being linked to the NFL. Those whom Miller loves are Kirk Herbstreit and College GameDay ("a show prized as if it were the Golden Fleece and Hope Diamond put together"), Robin Roberts ("an unmistakeable aura of authority, a true pro's unflappability"), and Michelle Beadle ("humble but fearless standout"). Miller's previous connections with WASHINGTON POST alum such as Tony Kornheiser and John Walsh lead to very positive portrayals of their roles. The one glaring editing mistake of the book (apart from spelling Jim Nantz's name Jim Nance), however, is connected with a virtual repeat of the quotes on pages 607-608 and 676-677 dealing with Kornheiser's 3-year run on MNF. It is apparent that Miller takes the same Tricio clip and edits it two ways, and also uses the same John Skipper piece with slightly different editing. For such a professional job throughout, seeing the repetition stuck out like a sore thumb. Surprisingly, some of the more profound statements are found from Rick Reilly, who was beaten to a pulp in Malcolm MacCambridge's history of SI. Reilly points out that ESPN.COM exponentially spreads his column in a way that SI never could. He also recognizes the difference between those who learned the trade with fences (a 800 word column limit) versus those who learned on the internet (Simmons) without fences and battle to retain every word. Dan Patrick is also surprising. Given the light-heartedness of his radio show, he doesn't come off as a family man, but that is the main reason he left ESPN. He wanted more time with his family, sometime that he had abandoned under the regime of Mark Shapiro. When ESPN didn't relent from their demands, he came to the conclusion that ESPN cared mainly about the profit, and not the talent. And, that is the thread that runs through the story of ESPN as a whole. Business comes first. It comes first over the content. It comes first over the talent. It comes first over family. With that paradigm in place, the dream goal of the 1980s was realized in the 2000s--making ESPN a way of life. Welcome to the Mothership.
Date published: 2011-07-30