Friday, February 26, 2016

Why Isn't HBO Hiring Boxing Journalists For A Show About Boxing?

You don't have to scan the horizon in search of talent

Believe it or not, I don't mind HBOs The Fight Game With Jim Lampley. Although I don't watch every episode, the ones I view are polished and well put together - as, let's face it, is everything HBO produces. Here's the thing, though, HBO is now clearly reaching out to an audience that just ain't interested in boxing by hiring interviewers who just don't seem too interested in boxing themselves.

This isn't to say that Michelle Beadle, who recently left The Fight Game, or Melissa Stark, who is the show's new interviewer, are unaccomplished journalists. Indeed, each has an impressive resume. The problem, of course, is that neither had an extensive background in boxing before being hired. And there's plenty of television journalists out there who do (paging Cristina Poncher).

Look, HBO is trying to reach out to non-boxing fans, I get it. How hiring someone who obviously has no previous - or even current - interest in boxing is going to accomplish that goal, however, is frankly quite puzzling. It's also rather insulting.

HBO may think it's being clever  here, but what it's really doing is telling it's current  audience that it's not all that important. Indeed, the impression here is that HBO feels "real" sports journalists can be brought on to a boxing show in order to reach out to a broader, more appealing, viewership.

Granted, that view of things may seem harsh - but, harsh or not - it's how HBOs decision making here is being perceived. Perhaps it simply doesn't care.

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