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Monday Night Thoughts (Was: Re: Dennis Miller joins MNF)

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to: <notquite@hotmail.com>. Thanks!

I was very surprised that comedian/actor Dennis Miller was going to join
"Monday Night Football". I wasn't surprised that Dan Fouts was joining
MNF because he had done NFL analysis work for CBS in the early 90's
(before they lost the NFL for a few years), and I believe Fouts had been
the analyst on local radio broadcasts of San Diego Chargers' games since

Once I heard the news, my thoughts went back to Fred "The Hammer"
Williamson. Remember him? This former Kansas City Chiefs star took-up
acting in the off-season during his NFL career, then fulltime after he
retired from football, mostly in the "BlaxPloitation" movies that were
popular for a time in the 1970's.

In 1974, "Dandy" Don Meredith briefly (three years) left "MNF", and "The
Hammer" was signed as Meredith's replacement. Williamson, however,
didn't last past the three pre-season games ABC broadcast. Critics
blasted Williamson, the mail was heavy with negative comments, and ABC
was growing disatisfied with him with each passing game.

Williamson got fired right before the start of the 1974 regular-season,
and was replaced by Alex Karras, another ex-NFL star who would soon go
into acting. However, then-NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle would only alow
ABC to hire Karras if Karras agreed to stop writing a weekly column on
football betting that appeared in a number of newspapers. Karras stopped
writing the column, and was in the MNF booth for three years. Karras was
no Meredith (but then again, who could be?), but did prove to be a more
than competent analyst. Karras' contract was not renewed in 1977 since
Meredith returned to MNF that year.

I have not heard anything about what changes (if any) will be made to
the halftime segment. However, were I WCVB general manager Paul
LaCamera, I would ask ABC to turn over nine to ten minutes of each
week's halftime to the local affiliates for a mini-newscast, which would
showcase the affiliates' 11 P.M. News teams. In WCVB's case, this will
be more crucial since Heather Kahn and Anthony Everett will replace
Natalie Jacobson and Chet Curtis on the 11 P.M. news sometime in early
August. I'm sure WCVB would want 9 ot 10 minutes during each week's
halftime to showcase their "new" 11 P.M. anchor team to a viewing
audience (especially for the Pats' MNF games this season) much larger
than the normal 11 P.M. news audience. But I don't know if ABC would
ever go for it.

Joseph Gallant
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