Sorry Jay and Dan, but Fox Sports 1 Imported the Wrong Duo
Is everyone watching Fox Sports 1? You can find it in your channel line-up maybe somewhat near NBC Sports Network, your other favorite not-ESPN thing. FS1 just finished up their first week on the air, and it was perfectly okay. Panel shows, Fantastic Finishes, European soccer and a blue score ticker make it one mixtape-font logo short of being early espn2, but there’s potential here.
The short-term success of FS1 lies in its ability to get eyeballs away from SportsCenter and on to Fox Sports Live, the nightly highlight flagship. To attempt this, they smuggled in Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole, long-time vets of Canada’s TSN and head counselors at Olbermann/Patrick Summer Camp.
This was a great get – Onrait and O’Toole keep it light, make sure nary a teleprompter slip-up goes unrecognized, and never have to intro a My Wish segment. I believe the word here is refreshing. If Live does the right thing soon and axes the panel portion of the show, which is like First Take but somehow more unnecessary, then it’ll clearly be the go-to for nightly highlights. But if FS1 reached a little further, they might have found a team that’s even better:
Here’s the part of the post where I brag about going to New Zealand earlier this month. Now that that’s over with, I will say that the best discovery of the trip was a gem of a nightly sports show called The Crowd Goes Wild (ironically, not to be confused with Fox Sports 1’s own Crowd Goes Wild, which features Regis Philbin and somehow not Tom Arnold). The half hour show feels almost like a sports version of The Daily Show, mixing highlights with a newsy centerpiece, and it’s almost as funny.
Behind the desk for CGW are Andrew Mulligan and Mark Richardson. Like all great sportscasting pairs, Jay and Dan included, it’s never quite clear if these two actually like each other, which makes for fantastic on-screen chemistry.
Richardson is a former test cricketer (trans: he played cricket) whose biggest claim to fame was cramping up violently during a match, much to the delight of Mulligan, who tries to work the clip into nearly every episode.
And if you thought Canadians sports presenters were fun and exotic, they’ve got nothing on Kiwis. I heard O’Toole actually correct the way he pronounced “out” in a highlight, but there would be no stopping the New Zealand accent. Nor would you want to. Half the charm of Mulligan and Richardson is not understanding the words they’re using to describe sports you don’t understand.
Highlights from the week of shows we saw included:
- After an interview with PGA Champ Jason Dufner, cut to Mulligan saying “Don’t take this the wrong way, but is he a bit slow?”
- A chyron that described a rugby coach as a “side talker”
- Continuous and unabashed ripping on Australians that made very little sense but was hilarious in context
- A semi-serious discussion on the ethics of Scandinavian track and field teams recruiting, as Richardson put it, “genetically superior” athletes from other countries, leading to the Mulligan segue “speaking of the New Zealand rugby team”
I say give these guys basic sensitivity training to be fit for American audiences and turn them loose. Fox Sports 1 could always give them the weekend shift, or better yet, let them take over the show of the same name that’s rightfully theirs. The more non-Americans we have giving us our all-American sports scores, the better off we’ll all be. Plus these dudes probably hate Tim Tebow.
They say “dickhead” in this piece: