What’s the biggest boner in NBC decision-making? Leno … oh, and that XFL thing ….


The cover story for the Jan. 29 issue of Entertainment Weekly merits some scanning for old sports news.

It tries to list “TV’s 50 Biggest Bombs Ever!” — a complete list of “flops, blunders & really bad decisions.” OK, we get it.

But will NBC ever get it.

Jay Leno’s 10 p.m. show has superceded everything on this list, coming in at No. 1 — maybe because it’s the most recent act of stupidity.

Actually, as NBC Sports boss Dick Ebersol explained earlier this week on The Dan Patrick Show (KLAC-AM 570 and DirecTV 101), it wasn’t so much putting Leno in that time slot but making a decision five years ago that it would terminate Leno’s deal and put Conan O’Brien in as “The Tonight Show” host. It tried to fix its blunder by hiring Leno back, trying to get best of both TV worlds. Ratings haven’t recorded it to be very successful, and affiliates were rumbling … but they couldn’t have stuck it out a little longer?

Back to the list…..

According to EW (as it likes to call itself), among the decisions by NBC to cancel “Baywatch” in 1990, the decision by NBC to air “Pink Lady and Jeff” in 1980, the decision to NBC to air a remake of “Bionic Woman” in 2007, and the decision by NBC to air “My Mother The Car” in 1965 AND 1966, here’s some other sports-related things you may remember that were blunderfully terrific in TV history (with the magazine’s ranking::

10. The XFL (NBC, 2001):


NBC and the World Wrestling Federation teammed up for something that was going to compete with the NFL as far as …. we’re not sure. It wasn’t quality football. From the league that gave us “He Hate Me” and hot-tubs on the sideline of the L.A. Xtreme games at the Coliseum, the lesson learned here: “Tough-sounding team names don’t matter if the teams are just plain tough to watch.” They’re being too kind here. Only Tommy Maddux seemed to make anything of this. The former UCLA quarterback, who was the MVP of the league with the Xtreme, got a job with the Pittsburgh Steelers after this.


11. Terrible late-night talk shows: The Magic Hour vs. The Chevy Chase Show.


Magic Johnson’s show came and went in 1998. EW: “Magic’s low point came when he allowed Howard Stern’s crew to come spend an entire hour farting into microphones and telling him how horrible his show was.” Look back on all this from our experience: We were at Farmer’s Market in L.A. and someone was giving out tickets to see the Magic Hour being taped nearby at CBS Television City. Again, the tickets were free. Most people checking out the produce looked at the distributors were Hari Krisnas. From our recollection, Magic lasted just a month on the job. The syndicated show on Fox disappeared. Poof. Like Magic.

45. Dennis Miller on Monday Night Football: (ABC, 2000-2002)


EW: “If there’s one thing football fans love, it’s for some know-it-all to club them over the head with obscure referencs that require an encylopedia to decipher.” Really, was that the problem? Or was the audience too dense to get jokes? Nope, it was that Miller, the “Saturday Night Live” star who also tried his own late-night shows, afternoon shows, cable shows and carnival shows, thought he was supposed to be a game analyst and add snarkiness when appropriate. Dan Fouts didn’t butt in enough and Al Michaels wasn’t sure who to turn to. Tony Kornheiser tried to be Dennis Miller Lite for a few seasons, and that wasn’t so bad. It’s just that it wasn’t so good.

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