ESPN at Its Best and Worst in One Hour

Just wondering, when is the last time one television network not only had both the best and worst shows on television - but actually aired them back-to-back?

I was pondering that Monday afternoon as I forced myself to try and sit through the unentertaining scream-fest that is ESPN’s Around The Hornso that I wouldn’t miss the beginning of the wonderful Pardon The Interruption.

I can honestly say for this fan of sports and television, Around The Horn represents all that is wrong with both. Just a lot of yelling and trying to one-up each other by a bunch of sports writers, set in a faux game format to give the show a spine. It’s amazing how the show can take a group of writers whose work I enjoy reading - and transform them into something so utterly unimpressive as a group. Arrogance and irreverence are rewarded, but please leave your brain at the door.On the complete flip side is PTI, which features Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser giving a daily dose of all that is going on in the sports world, and does so in an engaging and informative fashion. These guys go back and forth with a chemistry that is unmatched on television - not just in sports TV — and they prefer making strong points to just going after the cheap sound byte or one-liner. You leave the show ready to head into any sports bar in the country and talk anything from the World Cup to the Stanley Cup. Just don’t steal any of their lines, because chances are everyone else in the bar watches the show, too.As for the scheduling, perhaps ESPN puts its clunky Around The Horn on right before its crown jewel just to make PTI shine that much more. If so, it works.

By Ben Grossman