Versus Gets it Right with Tonight’s Broadcast Team, but not with Skipping a Night

First of all, cheers to Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy for his terrific piece on VERSUS’ reinvention of their website, which we’ve previously commented on.  In that vein, it’s time for a new feature here at Puck the Media, in which we take a look at some of the good and bad VERSUS is ultimately doing in the hockey world.  So we introduce you to the initial version of VERSUS Giveth… VERSUS Taketh Away.


VERSUS Giveth: Tonight’s Devils-Sabres game will feature the extremely literate talents of Mike Emrick and Daryl Reaugh.  For our money, the best play-by-play man on American TV and the best color man on TV, period.  While we like Eddie Olczyk, a man like “Razor” could really add some more fun and zip to what often seems like a dry, listless broadcast with other color men.

VERSUS Taketh Away: Okay, so, you’ve got a decent matchup on Monday night (Devils-Sabres out-rated a Pens-Caps game two years ago) and you want to follow it up on Tuesday with somethin’ to keep the kids attention.  Here’s how we imagine the conversation went in the VERSUS boardroom:

Programming Exec. 1: Alright guys, we have Devils-Sabres on Monday, we have 7 to choose from on Tuesday, whatta’ you like?

Programming Exec. 2: Well, how about a themed rivalry night.  Isles-Rangers and Ducks-Kings.  Call it “The City is at War” night on VERSUS.  Get Cobra Starship to donate that song for some sassy highlight packages.

Programming Exec. 3: I’m confused, which cycling team calls itself the Ducks?

Programming Exec. 1: No, no, no.  This isn’t a cycling meeting, this is hockey.  And we can’t air Kings-Ducks.  The game is a ratings death-zone, and we don’t want to push “Sports Soup” to past midnight so early in it’s run.

Programming Exec. 2: How about just Isles-Rangers.  It helps us make great in-roads in that market.

Programming Exec. 3: I really don’t understand this.  Which is bull is “Islanders”? 

Programming Exec. 1: Once again: hockey.  Not bull riding.

Programming Exec. 3: Oh, really?  Well, who cares about that sport?

Programming Exec. 2: We pay about $70 million a year to air their games.

Programming Exec. 3: Well, that seems like a lot of money.  Why don’t we just go on the cheap and air Wildcats for the 47th time.

Programming Exec. 2: Oh, great!  I can finally see it the whole way through without hockey getting in the way.

Programming Exec. 1: Well, I suppose we could skip one night of hockey.  I’m sure the boys at “Hockey Central” are getting winded earlier, and the hair & makeup budget is getting killed from Engblom’s haircut.  Wildcats it is.

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