The original corporate home of Monday Night Football is poised to return to the NFL business in a very big way. The Walt Disney Co.’s ABC broadcast network is in an increasingly strong position to score its first live NFL game package in 15 years, sources say. ABC broadcast MNF from 1970 to 2005, blazing the NFL’s path into primetime TV. But sister Disney cable network ESPN took over MNF in 2006, absorbing ABC Sports in the process.
Don Ohlmeyer, a singular force whose creative vision and talents reshaped not only sports broadcasting but the entertainment side as well, has died at the age of 72. He began his career at ABC Sports and as a producer there transformed shows like Wide World of Sports and helped Monday Night Football set a template for big-time primetime productions.
Muhammad Ali and Howard Cosell of ABC Sports were one of TV’s great, yet odd, pairings: two men with distinctly different backgrounds who shared the ability to polarize and captivate the public. (AP photo)
George Bodenheimer will step down as president of ESPN and ABC Sports and co-chair of Disney Media Networks, effective Jan. 1, and will become executive chairman of ESPN. John Skipper, executive vice president-content at ESPN, will succeed him.
ESPN/ABC Sports and TNT stand to lose as much as $1.25 billion in ad sales revenue if the labor dispute negates the entire 2011-12 NBA campaign. Indeed, the NBA audience has become so valuable that the postseason inventory alone accounts for nearly a fifth of the full-season take.