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Saturday Morning News
NFL Season Gets Set to KickoffAired September 2, 2000 - 8:41 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, this is the season for football fans to kick back and enjoy the game. There's even a new face on "Monday Night Football." But does Dennis Miller have what it takes to draw more viewers? With us to discuss just that, among other things, Julian Rubinstein, a contributor to the "New York Times" magazine, and former sports reporter for the "Washington Post" and "Sports Illustrated."
JULIAN RUBINSTEIN, "NEW YORK TIMES" CONTRIBUTOR: Hi, Kyra. How are you?
PHILLIPS: Good. Thanks for being with us.
RUBINSTEIN: Thank you.
PHILLIPS: All right, let's start with football and do you think it's losing its appeal? I mean when I talk to the sports guys they always say oh, it's the best season yet. But you have a little bit of a different opinion.
RUBINSTEIN: Well, relative to some of the other things going on in television today, it's perhaps not as exciting as it used to be. You can't certainly count on a game to be exciting from start to finish like some of the other programs that we're seeing today that, you know, really draw it out and leave you with one big bang at the end of your two hour special. And I think they're starting to feel the effects. They're certainly losing a lot of the young male demographic that they once used to own and this is the demographic that they really take to the bank, at least have in the past.
PHILLIPS: OK, you touch on a very interesting point because football, baseball, whatever the sports game used to be where we would look for minute by minute action, we didn't know what was going to happen, now you have "Survivor," "Big Brother," these reality based shows. Is that sort of replacing sports?
RUBINSTEIN: Well, it's very interesting, I think, what's going on, and I think all of that definitely is having an effect here. You know, sports used to really be considered the original reality TV, you know, the one formula that never needed reinventing. But today with all this reality out there, it's a lot harder to -- for the real reality to actually sort of match up against that and, you know, it was interesting, I was one of the few journalists who were out in Pulautiga (ph), where "Survivor" was being filmed, and sitting there watching it being filmed it was, you know, it was, all of us were bored, even the contestants were bored. But you know what? They were able to package and produce and edit the show into, you know, this great beautiful and very suspenseful two hour or one hour show and -- that you were going to watch until the very end.
But on a sports show or a football game or even a basketball game, for that matter, it very well could be over in the first quarter or the first half and why watch till the end? You know, viewers now, they love the highlights but to get them to sit through a whole game isn't so easy anymore.
PHILLIPS: OK. So here comes Dennis Miller. What's the game plan with this? Is this going to make a difference, bringing in folks like him?
RUBINSTEIN: Well, that's the big question. I mean it really, for ABC, that they certainly hope he's going to make a difference and obviously he's gotten them a lot of press and publicity and attention. You know, realistically he is probably not going to be able to have much more than a couple tenths of a ratings point of a difference and, you know, is that enough? I don't know, especially given that sports are so expensive these days. The difference or the interesting contrast is that we have another league that's going to come out in, debuting in February, put on by NBC and the WWF, this league called the XFL, and unlike the NFL, they are going to be able to do a lot more innovative things because they don't have a commissioner to answer to, for one.
They can, they're going to have cameras in the huddles, cameras in the locker rooms, microphones in the huddles, all kinds of things that are really going to enable them to ratchet up the level of entertainment for that program.
So unlike what the NFL and "Monday Night Football" face, these guys have all the freedom they want to make the telecast as exciting as possible.
PHILLIPS: Julian Rubinstein, no doubt everybody will be watching now. Thanks for joining us this morning.
RUBINSTEIN: Thank you.
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