Once again, I would like to thank Israel for coming aboard and wish everybody in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Bethlehem, and everywhere in between a very Happy New Year. (I would also like to wonder WHY every country except for the Old Red,White and Blue, Israel, and Russia has left the building! I DO and DO and DO for you, Morocco, France, China,the Netherlands, Germany,AND THIS IS THE THANKS I GET?!?!?)
Some of you in the USA may not be aware, but after Rosh Hashanah services in Israel, many people head over to the racetrack or the football field (or pitch, depending on whether it's spelled with "oo" or "u" ) to see some good old-fashioned sports action. Instead of just getting a few "z's" after a big lunch, I decided to head over to the Chelsea Piers to see the latest sports non-event show already gaining in popularity.
But first, some background:Many of you in Israel (and some of you in Russia) may be familiar with SKY Sports, one of Europe's two answers to our ESPN, and,as you may know, one of the most popular channels on the tier is SKY Sports News,which doesn't cover any events per se, but brings its viewers comprehensive non-stop coverage 24/7/365.
ESPN, as you may know, is 80%-owned by The Walt Disney Company and a sister network to ABC, and
the other major American nets have been jealous of ESPN's reach and portfolio of sporting events. As a result, Comcast, the owner of NBC, has rebranded Outdoor Life Network as NBC Sports Network and CBS Corporation has repurposed CBS College Sports (formerly CSTV) as CBS Sports Network. Like SKY, FOX, the network that turned television upside down, is owned by Rupert Murdoch and operated by 21st Century Fox, Inc., formerly the entertainment unit of News Corporation, and has just begun to fight the Worldwide Leader In Sports with a new American version of SKY Sports, FOX Sports 1. Much of the new network's programming originates from the 20th Century Fox studios in Hollywood, but a highlight of the programming is produced right here in New York City, and it stars somebody you wouldn't normally otherwise associate with sports, iconic American entertainer Regis Philbin, well known as Joey Bishop's sidekick, the "work husband" of Kathie Lee Gifford and Kelly Ripa, and best known as the host of the American version of WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE, or, as erstwhile Radio Disney DJ (and my Facebook friend) Kara Edwards once called it, "Which One of You Craves to Have a Dollar Bill with Six Zeroes?"). The program, entitled CROWD GOES WILD airs weekdays on FS1 from 5-6 PM (except on Wednesdays, when the PM programming is handed over to Ultimate Fighting Championship) live from Pier 60 of New York's famous Chelsea Piers and Reege is joined by former SKY Sports presenter Georgie Thompson, Wall Street Journal sports reporter Jason Gay, New York Jet Trevor Pryce, tennis pro-turned-comedian Michael Kosta,and You Tube wisegal Katie Nolan.
I attended Wednesday's broadcast, which welcomed FOX NFL SUNDAY co-anchor Terry Bradshaw in a preview of the upcoming NFL season (STEVIE THE GEEK'S PIGSKIN PREDICTIONS FOR 2013-14:AFC: Pittsburgh NFC:Giants SUPER BOWL: Giants Bank on it!) and 40 other uninhibited audience members to a live discussion of sports, pop culture, and the continuing adventures of Regis' equine namesake, who has been demonstrating his harness racing prowess.
My absolute favorite segment of the new show is "Pardon the Contradiction," a take off on ESPN's popular "Pardon the Interruption," during which Katie and Michael debate themselves about the top issues in the sports world. I believe the original PTI hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon would be flattered, when they're not suing them for this totally humorless rip-off which happens to be side-splittingly funny and a total waste of time as well as the highlight of CGW.
If any of you sports fans from Israel, Russia, and Anyburg, USA are planning to visit Manhattan and want to see a great live show that doesn't set you back a gazillion dollars, CROWD GOES WILD is it. For tickets and show info, go to http://www.foxsports1.com/cgw. Just a few words of warning: GET THERE EARLY,
T-shirts with large logos and ball caps are VERBOTEN,at least ONE member of your party has to be 18 or over and have the papers to prove it, and they reserve the right to deny admission, so lay off the Cosmos at least one hour before you get there! Of course, if you'd rather NOT make the trip all the way to Manhattan, CROWD GOES WILD airs daily from 5 to 6 pm Eastern on FOX Sports 1 (except for special days when UFC fight cards are scheduled) which is available on all major US providers,(Visit the aforementioned site for the channel number in your area.) and on YouTube.
While ESPN is still The Worldwide Leader In Sports, FS1 is a formidable competitor, and CROWD GOES WILD is an impressive weapon in its arsenal, which also includes, among others, FOX SPORTS LIVE, its signature late night news show and FOX FOOTBALL DAILY, which features the announce crew from FOX NFL SUNDAY. Both FS1 and CGW are worth a look, even from avowed sport-o-phobes, and, as Regis used to say once long ago, is my final answer.