Previewing the New ESPN Book: Those Guys Have All the Fun
On May 24th, the highly anticipated new book about ESPN, Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN hits book stores. The subject matter alone would make any new release a highly anticipated book, but add the fact that the publishers Little, Brown are not releasing any advanced copies adds additional mystery and intrigue. (UPDATE: They have now released some advanced copies) The book is co-authored by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales, who previously collaborated on a book about Saturday Night Live called Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, as Told By Its Stars, Writers and Guests.
UPDATE (6/28/2011): You can now check out our full review of Those Guys Have all the Fun.
Who Was Interviewed for the Book?
Some of the ESPN personalities interviewed for the book include: Bob Ley, Chris Berman, Stuart Scott, Dan Patrick, Peter Gammons, Dick Vitale, Robin Roberts, Keith Olbermann, Craig Kilborn, Andrea Kremer, Lesley Visser, and Pam Oliver. There were also some athletes like Peyton Manning, Cal Ripken, Mike Tyson, Landon Donovan, and Jeff Gordon. Executives? Yup. Miller interview every president in ESPN’s history along with a number of other executives and behind the scenes employees. Something in the neighborhood of 550 people were interviewed by Miller and Shales.
According to James (Jim) Andrew Miller’s Twitter account, at least one individual wanted to retract some statements after making them.
Articles and Interviews about “Those Guys Have all the Fun”
With the publisher’s insistence on keeping the book under wraps until it’s release date, very little information has trickled out to the media. Here is the little bit of information that has surfaced so far, including a couple of interviews with author Jim Miller.
Officially released tidbits have been published in this month’s issue of GQ Magazine. The GQ story features excerpts focusing on Keith Olbermann. It discusses the feelings of some other ESPN employees about Olbermann, how he came to part ways with ESPN, his role in the creation of the “This is SportsCenter” marketing campaign, and how he launched ESPN2 by going on the air and saying “Welcome to the end of my career.” Olbermann has since responded to the GQ Story with a handful of Tweets.
The Big Lead reported back in November 2010 that the book will reveal so much dirt on one unnamed ESPN personality that the Worldwide Leader has already decided not to renew his or her contract. Update (5/18/2011): The Big Lead is planning an interview later this week with Jim Miller.
Earlier this month, Deadspin released a snippet from the original manuscript that was cut from the final publication. Back in November 2010, they posted the publishers’ catalogue that previews “Those Guys Have All the Fun.” They also reportedly offered $10,000 for an advanced copy of the book.
Deadspin reports (5/18/2011) that Michelle Beadle admits to watching the Erin Andrews peep-hole video in the book. They also report that 7 pages are dedicated to the Andrews video, which includes quotes from Rachel Nichols, Chris Fowler, Rece Davis, and several others. Also, apparently Chris Berman and Tony Kornheiser hate each other.
SI Writer Jim Deitsch interviewed author Jim Miller in July 2010. Miller says ESPN initially refused (politely) not to participate with the book. Eventually, they acquiesced and let Miller come to the ESPN campus to interview employees and watch some ESPN shows from the set.
In January 2011, USA Today ran this interview with Jim Miller about the new ESPN book. In it, Miller discusses the firing of College Football play by play man Ron Franklin, LeBron James and “The Decision,” and other thoughts on the World Wide Leader.
In the interview Miller says about ESPN:
They’re at their worst when they make sporting events about them instead of about the teams. When the coverage or pregame or whatever becomes narcissistic. Its almost like this three hours is going to be about ESPN. And P.S., there’s going to be two teams on the field.
On May 17th, Entertainment Weekly released a few more snippets from the book. They deal mainly with drugs, sexual harrassment, and other bad behavior that went on behind the scenes at ESPN.
Sexual harassment was an ongoing issue. In the late ’80s the problem got so bad that anchor Karie Ross actually stood up in front of 200 or so people in the cafeteria and demanded that it stop. Her plea didn’t have much impact. “No fewer than fifty cases of sexual harassment were reported by women on the staff to ESPN management in the first half of the 1990s,” the authors write.
Keith Olbermann is hardly the network’s only cranky anchor. “I was introduced to [Chris Berman], and my title was mentioned,” recalls marketing senior VP Lee Ann Daly. “He was like, ‘Oh, goddammit, do we need another vice president?’ And I just said, ‘Nice to meet you, too, Mr. Berman.’ ….there was really no need to be a jerk. But that kind of stuck with me. I noticed that Chris Berman was rarely happy. He was always very difficult to please.”
Jim Miller joins Jimmy Traina and Richard Deitsch on the Hot Clicks Podcasts on SI.com. (5/18/2011) Miller talks about the culture at ESPN and how it has changed over time, feuds between Tony Kornheiser and Chris Berman, and Kornheiser and Mike Tirico, and Bill Simmons and Mike Tirico, how Chris Berman doesn’t use email or the Internet, Jim Gray and “The Decision,” and Deadspin’s coverage of ESPN. Miller also says he is “scheduled” to appear on ESPN’s Mike & Mike in the Morning on Tuesday May 24th.
Deadspin’s A.J. Daulerio writes that ESPN held high level meetings today (5/19/2011) with execs and select talent to discuss how to handle the release of the book. He also hints that publisher Little, Brown is worried that all the excepts finding their way online could hurt book sales. (Last check has it listed as #4 on Amazon’s Bestseller list.)
ESPN Book on Social Media
Those Guys Have All the Fun clocks in at a robust 770+ pages, so this new ESPN book should have no shortage of stories and insight. We will have our own full review shortly after the book is released. Barring some earth-shifting event, this is likely to be the talk of the sports world when it is released on May 24th.
You can pre-order Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN from Amazon.com.by