ESPN: The Uncensored History

Overview

"Since its first broadcast in 1979, ESPN has grown from one man's pipe dream to a media giant, ruling the sports kingdom with in-depth news coverage, sparkling reporting, and attitude - lots of attitude. Founder Bill Rasmussen believed in his idea of a 24-hour all-sports cable channel, but few could have predicted the network would become as important to sports as the athletes themselves." "In ESPN, The Uncensored History, author and New York Times sportswriter Michael Freeman takes you from the days when Rasmussen chose Bristol, Connecticut, as
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ESPN: The Uncensored History

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Overview

"Since its first broadcast in 1979, ESPN has grown from one man's pipe dream to a media giant, ruling the sports kingdom with in-depth news coverage, sparkling reporting, and attitude - lots of attitude. Founder Bill Rasmussen believed in his idea of a 24-hour all-sports cable channel, but few could have predicted the network would become as important to sports as the athletes themselves." "In ESPN, The Uncensored History, author and New York Times sportswriter Michael Freeman takes you from the days when Rasmussen chose Bristol, Connecticut, as home base because property was so cheap to the network's expansion with ESPN2, ESPN Classic, and ESPNews, as well as ESPN, The Magazine. Along the way, Freeman provides revealing portraits of the sports channel's most compelling personalities and delves into its not-so-public aspects: the real story of its founding, allegations of sexual harassment, charges of racial discrimination, bitter partings with high-profile personnel. Using information gleaned from internal documents, police and court records; and interviews with network employees, on-air talent, producers, and executives, Freeman uncovers the news ESPN doesn't want reported."--BOOK JACKET.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
New York Times sportswriter Freeman has delivered exactly what the title promises: an uncensored history of a media phenomenon of the cable TV era, ESPN. When ESPN was formed 20 years ago, television sports reporting was limited to snippets on local newscasts. ESPN changed that and, in so doing, also changed the way sports was covered, society's viewing habits, and sports itself. Freeman traces the history of the all-sports network from its inception as the brainchild of Bill Rasmussen to its status today as a part of the Disney media group, reaching over 60 million homes. This is really less a sports book than a warts-and-all examination of a media giant. Despite the obstacles placed in Freeman's path, the whole story is here--the struggles between management and its on-air personalities, the anchors' conflicts with one another, and the sexual harassment complaints, racial discrimination allegations, and employee drug and gambling problems that have long plagued the network. Freeman uses network documents, court records, and (often anonymous) interviews with past and current employees to make this a compelling read. Highly recommended for all libraries.--William Scheeren, Hempfield Area H.S. Lib., Greensburg, PA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Sports Illustrated
The tale of ESPN's rise digs deeply...into behind-the-scenes shenanigans...
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
...powerful and entertaining.
Book Page
...a fascinating new book...might make you watch ESPN in a whole new way.
American Way
Michael Freeman tells the story with the same urgency and breathlessness that ESPN brings to its coverage of sports.... a dazzling American success story ....
Sports Collectors Digest
Michael Freeman provides the first book of critical analysis of the original and largest sports network.
Baltimore Sun
Freeman, a skilled and concise writer, does an exceptional job of telling the entire story—warts and all ....
Orlando Sentinel
This story would make a terrific Outside the Lines. Yet ESPN's investigative series ... wouldn't touch the material ... with a 10-foot TelePrompTer.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Michael Freeman has captured the essence of the freewheeling, 24-hour cable network that pioneered not just sports television, but the cable industry itself.
Tampa Tribune
... give[s] the reader a real insight to the early days at ESPN.
Chicago Sun-Times
... stunning ... fascinating ....
Gadflyonline.Com
This is a must-read for ESPN and sports fans alike.
Library Bookwatch
Extensively researched, ESPN: The Uncensored History presents a fascinating, candid, revealing story in clear, unambiguous, and highly evocative language. A singularly memorable and compelling 'tell-all' book, ESPN: The Uncensored History is strongly recommended reading for all sports buffs.
New York Daily News
Network stoolies are buzzing about a...book on ESPN by New York Times sports writer Mike Freeman...sounds real juicy
Philadelphia Daily News
Give Freeman points for diligent research [and] for his no-nonsense history of how the all-sports network evolved.
Daytona News-Journal
... compelling subject matter for any sports fan.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780878332397
  • Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/1/2000
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.52 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Freeman is a sportswriter with The New York Times and has held several positions as a reporter at The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and The Dallas Morning News. He currently covers the National Football League. Freeman was named "Sports Journalist of the Year" in 2000 by The Village Voice. He lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Prologue 23
Pt. 1 7 P.M.
1 One Million Lightbulbs 31
2 ESP-TV 47
3 "This Is The Stupidest Thing I've Ever Heard" 55
4 A Long Night 64
5 NBC North 79
6 "You Have to Be a Son of a Bitch" 91
7 Snake Eyes 100
8 Simmons's Final Roar 111
Pt. 2 Heroes
9 "Men Are Acting Like Animals" 129
10 The Genius and His Army 145
11 Radio Daze 155
12 Crisis 172
13 SportsCenter 195
14 The Mickey Mouse Network 213
Pt. 3 The Gods of Sport
15 "Can't We Cut Your Good-bye from 45 Seconds to 30?" 239
16 Free Pizza 259
Epilogue: What a Story 269
Acknowledgments 273
Index 277
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Good history of ESPN from inception to late 90s.

    Well-written and informative history of ESPN from its beginnings to the late 1990s. Worth reading for anyone interested in sports and the cable industry.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2002

    A Great View From Inside ESPN

    As an avid viewer of ESPN, I found the book amusing and provocative. The author, Michael Freeman, does a great job reporting the history of the station as well as giving insight on its personnel. If you're a regular ESPN viewer, Freeman gives you a closer look at the anchors and reporters you have come to know over the years. However, you don't have to be a regular viewer to enjoy ESPN The Uncensored History because the book is laced with enough power struggles and harassment charges that make it an exciting read. Overall, Freeman gives an indepth look at ESPN and the people who made it one of the most powerful networks on air.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2001

    Informative read for ESPN viewers

    The startup and behind the scenes activities of ESPN kept me interested through out the book. I believe anyone that has a interest in sports and the broadcasting media should give this book a read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2000

    Inside the ESPN Zone

    Freeman's work offers everything you always wanted to know, may have suspected but would never have been able to ask about how a fledgling cable outlet became the sports & media powerhouse that it is today. In fact, Freeman leaves no stoned unturned in exposing fact and fiction about ESPN management, talent and programming. Bottom line: it is a must read, especially since ABC cancelled 'Sports Night'.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2000

    Sports Fans will love it

    Finding out how the whole network began was the most interesting part of the book. I have a deeper respect for the people that were able to stay at this job, mostly behind the scenes people, with the long hours and different problems that has plaqued the network since its' inception. Like has been said before, it is a must read for all sports fans, even those who do not particularly care ESPN. I no longer think that the people who work there have as easy of jobs as I have thought.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2000

    A must read for ESPN fans

    A must read for the history side alone, but it does dwell on the 'frat house' mentality. Eventually getting a little old and tiresome, but the remainder of the book was very interesting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2000

    Anyone who watches ESPN must read this book

    This book is a great look inside the ESPN myth. It praises the network, but also lets us know what really goes on there.

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