The Media Learning Curve: Oct. 30-Nov. 6

It’s more disturbing than ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt, who used to try to convince us to invest in Titleist golf balls, now pimping a website that sells you gold online (and if you act now, you get a “free investor’s kit”). Naw … that’s OK, we’ll just stick our cash under the mattress and take our chances, thanks.

It’s harder to digest than Fox Sports Net West’s Michael Eaves, labeled as “host/reporter,” standing in front of what’s supposed to be his barbecue roasting wieners and spouting off: “Hey sports fans … my job takes me to stadiums all across Southern California …. the one thing they have in common?” Aside from those Farmer John dogs you’re grilling, is it a security guard at the media gate who asks: “What the hell do you do again?”

It’s the latest incarnation of fill-the-gullet food pitchman Chris “Balloonman” Berman, enough to make one want to just stick your finger down your throat and get it over with ASAP.

Not to shoot more fllet-of-fish in a barrel, but how long ago was it that he was shouting to the heavens about his new diet, the Nutrisystem program that allowed him to drop some 40 pounds when he taped the spots:

The biggest loser in deed.

The latest ad campaign, with an even thinner Berman lining his wallet — has him screaming about Applebee’s latest “2 for $20” meals — one appetizer, two entries, 20 bucks, with a pair of tongs straddling a side of grilled cow (and the disclaimer — beverage, tax and gratiuity not included — that goes by the wayside).

He comes on the spots with the nameline Chris “Boomer” Berman” and is “kicking this off” with (actors he’s named) Dan “Wing Master” Wilson and Joe “App-Attacker” Davis — nicknames, apparently, that “Boomer” gave them, but we’re not sure, so we’ll keep the fantasy alive for you — attacking buffalo wings as the pre-meal, then a 7-ounce sirloin and a three-cheese chicken somekinda dish with noodles that looks to be about 4,000 calories.

What’s the mixed message here to those who enjoy a few good meals after 9 p.m. before heading to bed? If someone pays you to lose weight, take it. If someone also pays you to eat stuff that’s a step below Vegas buffet line food-stuff, also take it.
And, in the future, if Bounce fabric softener comes calling, Boomer should also take it. It’s more believeable (linked here).

Other stuff we got taught about while reading and eating a really big sandwich:

== Your Week 10 of L.A. college football TV viewing: Beware of the new ESPN hilariously new family show, “Holtz!” … right before “Griese!” (linked here)

== Your Week 9 of L.A. NFL TV viewing: Those who choose not to play, we thank you (linked here).

== If Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin called the Vikings-Packers game … just thinking out loud (linked here).

== Bill Walton’s legacy doesn’t have to be calling Dkimbe Mutumbo’s footwork horrible for the viewers at home. (linked here).

== Magic and Larry know how to sell a book — gang up on Isiah (linked here).

== Someone who knows someone with a wheelbarrow full of money says the economy seems to be sorta kinda getting better — quick, hit the U.S. networks up for Olympic TV rights (linked here)

== There is a Jim Rome fansite that wil elicit some laughter (linked here)

== More on TVG analyst Paul Lo Duca (linked here)

== More notes from the week to mull over, including news of a new Onion TV show linked to Comedy Central that will likely be a thorn in the side of ESPN (linked here)

== How to follow the Dodger Divorce mess (linked here)

== What to make of the “Colbert Report” supporting the U.S. speed skating team (linked here).


== Why wouldn’t ESPN be interested in someday snatching the NCAA March Madness away from CBS if the network stupidly exercises an early opt-out with their TV deal (linked here), as USA Today reports.
ESPN started the whole thing some 30 years ago. CBS has just refined it, but more, pushed it to more frustration with this in-and-out system of first- and second-round games that now send real fans to the website instead of the real TV experience.
If ESPN has the muscle to recapture this and reformat it so there’d be games simultaneously on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Classic — plus — we endorse it.

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