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Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN [Kindle Edition]

James Andrew Miller , Tom Shales
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)

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Book Description

It began, in 1979, as a mad idea of starting a cable channel to televise local sporting events throughout the state of Connecticut. Today, ESPN is arguably the most successful network in modern television history, spanning eight channels in the Unites States and around the world. But the inside story of its rise has never been fully told-until now.

Drawing upon over 500 interviews with the greatest names in ESPN's history and an All-Star collection of some of the world's finest athletes, bestselling authors James Miller and Tom Shales take us behind the cameras. Now, in their own words, the men and women who made ESPN great reveal the secrets behind its success-as well as the many scandals, rivalries, off-screen battles and triumphs that have accompanied that ascent. From the unknown producers and business visionaries to the most famous faces on television, it's all here.

Editorial Reviews



"Those who work in the business of sport will devour the book...[readers are] granted the kind of behind-the-scenes access that sports media junkies are rarely given..." ( Richard Deitsch )

"Those Guys Have All the Fun is a de rigueur read for sports fans who wonder how a fired hockey announcer used a $9,000 credit card advance to start a broadcasting empire that changed what we think about sports and how we view them." (Denver Post Woody Paige )

"Packed with entertaining stories of unpleasant people and awful behavior....[Those Guys Have All the Fun is] offers a nuanced look at ESPN, does some top-notch TV-biz reporting on the early days of the cable industry, and offers compelling behind-the-scenes stories...[It is] a serious, impressive, piece of work." (Entertainment Weekly Rob Brunner )

"A revelation: what goes onto the TV screen turns out to be just the glossy tip of an iceberg of ugly backstage drama. Miller and Shales must be extraordinarily talented interviewers, because their subjects are surprisingly uninhibited and frank and willing to dish and slag....[They are] good at zeroing in on a debacle and getting everybody involved to weigh the end of the book you're amazed at the disconnect between the chaos behind the scenes and the relatively slick end product." (Time Lev Grossman )

"Fascinating and compulsively readable." (Wall Street Journal Tim Marchman )

"A fascinating little-engine-that-could tale of money, power and the early days of cable television." (Cleveland Plain Dealer Clint O?Connor )

"As highly anticipated by sports junkies as a Chicago Cubs championship, [Those Guys Have All the Fun] provides painstaking details on how a nutty idea concocted by a father-son team developed into a brand worth more than the NHL, MLB and NBA combined...Shales and Miller manage to create a page-turning document about the ultimate dysfunctional workplace" (Minneapolis Star Tribune Neil Justin )

"...Perhaps the most anticipated book in sports media history." (Newsday )

"Those Guys Have All the Fun delivers a hell of a narrative...[and] an outstanding work of journalism. Easing interviewees into such comfort that they said what they did on record is an enormous achievement for Miller and Shales." (Fortune Daniel Roberts )

"This treat for sports fans has a cast of characters that is huge and varied." (New York Times Janet Maslin )

"What a story: larger-than-life personalities, salacious gossip, backstabbing and corporate intrigue set against the backdrop of the rise of cable television as an economic and cultural force....The quotes flow seamlessly, and the voices are fresh and vibrant...The depth and breadth of the interviews make it not only the definitive account of ESPN's first three decades but one of the best books yet on how cable shaped American culture." (Hollywood Reporter Andy Lewis )

"A rollicking glimpse behind the guys and gals who sport around at ESPN, America's sports church. Amen." (Publishers Weekly )

About the Author

Tom Shales won his Pultizer Prize for television criticism in the Washington Post. He is the author of On the Air!, Legends, and Live from New York, and has written for publications such as Esquire, Playboy, Life, Interview, among others. He lives in McLean, Virgina.

James Andrew Miller is the author of Running in Place: Inside the Senate and Live from New York. He has also written for the New York Times, Life, and Newsweek, in addition to numerous projects for television and motion pictures. He lives in Pennsylvania.

Product Details

  • File Size: 6944 KB
  • Print Length: 790 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B009WIE8ZE
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (May 24, 2011)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0047Y177U
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,830 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
103 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inside ESPN: The Oral History of the Mothership May 29, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
James Andrew Miller's--its obvious from the Introduction to the Acknowledgments to the writing itself that the sports-indifferent Tom Shales main contribution was lending his name to the project--THOSE GUYS HAVE ALL THE FUN is an engaging, if overly long, look at what has made ESPN the media and cultural phenomena that it is. Using an oral history format, the narrative runs from ESPN's humble beginnings to its current status of world domination. According to Miller, there were nine steps in ESPN's history that fell perfectly for the company not only to survive, but to rise to the top of its field.

1) Original founders Bill and Scott Rasmussen's decision to buy a transpounder on RCA SATCOM I in 1978.
2) Getty Oil's investment of $15 million in May of 1979.
3) Creating a dual revenue stream in March 1983.
4) Coverage of the America's Cup Challenge in 1987.
5) Getting TV rights to NFL games in 1987.
6) The $400 million, 4-year MLB deal in 1989.
7) The mid-90s generated "THIS IS SPORTSCENTER" advertizing campaign.
8) The acquisition of a full season of NFL games in 1998.
9) The documentary series SPORTSCENTURY.

The main players behind the scenes receive as much attention as the talent on screen. The Rasmussens have the idea, and negotiate an incredibly unlikely start, but are almost immediately kicked out the door by Stu Evey, the moneyman from Getty, and Chet Simmons, the legendary NBC producer. By the mid-1980s, Evey and Simmons were replaced by Bill Grimes and Steve Bornstein. By the 2000s, the respected and congenial George Bodenheimer was teamed with talented, but utterly brash Mark Shapiro. What didn't change, however, was Bristol, the little Connecticut village that is as much a character as any.
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69 of 80 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More hype than anything else June 14, 2011
By K
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I just finished the book yesterday and I must say 748 pages later I was completely disappointed in the end product. I was originally inspired to read the book based on the hype by some of the pundits calling it extremely controversial, etc etc etc. In particular Dan Patrick was the biggest culprit. When he was promoting the book he made you think the majority of the book would be about the rivalries and backstabbing that went on. I should have known better when I received the book and saw how ridiculously thick it was.
To make a long story short it is more of a historical time line of the network rather than an inside peak at the personalities. I'm a huge sports fan so that was what kept me reading. Nothing really "bombshellish" was dropped except for the fact that in the early days Mike Tirico was a pervert and by today's sexual harassment standards he'd be in the unemployment line for life. That was the only revelation that really surprised me. Aside from that, the same arrogance and over inflated egos that are on display regularly on ESPN continually resonate throughout the book.
At the end of the day I let a good marketing and PR campaign bamboozle me into buying this paper weight. You can't really say it's well written because there is no writing. The "authors" (and I use that term loosely) just took quotes from various people about time line based happenings at ESPN, slapped a collage on it and called it a book. Not that I am a stickler for this sort of thing but I found a TON of grammatical errors that I would assume would have been found prior to print seeing as how the authors did nothing more than collect quotes and interject a few lines of back story on every other page.
The only reason it gets a 2 star versus a one star is because it was sports related.
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27 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing June 24, 2011
I've grown up with ESPN so when I heard there was a book coming out based around the network I was beyond excited. Well, i've finished it and all i can say is that i'm disappointed. When I found out it was 700+ pages i thought to myself "great, they must have a TON of juicy, behind the scenes stories to fill the pages." I was incorrect. Don't get me wrong, there are some juicy, behind the scenes stories, just not enough to carry 750 pages. The book could literally be cut in half and I don't think you'd lose much in terms of content. There are some hilarious and interesting portions, but the majority is difficult to get through. Many times I found myself reading stuff I just didn't care about. I'm not saying to completely avoid this book, but you probably don't need to run out and buy it. Wait for a copy at the library or borrow one from a friend. Just don't plan on returning it to your friend for a month. It's looooong.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good In Spots, Very Intermitable In Others July 13, 2011
I actually listened to the unabridged version of this book, which took me 3 weeks for get through (28 hours long). I found the book to be interesting in general, with the most fascinating part to me being the trials and tribulations of the World Wide Leader's early days with attempting to establish itself as a relevant sports entity after years of showing Australian Rules Football, softball and rodeo. I thought that part of the book was very interesting and brought back a lot of memories for me as I actually watched a lot of that stuff in my college days. However, the book does go on way too long about several topics, the most grating being the in-fighting over ESPN's Monday Night Football book between the team of Tirico, Kornheiser and Theisemann (especially the first two, but Joe isn't immune either). I'd say 2 hours of the book is dedicated to this, with Kornheiser never having anything good to say about anything (he's just as miserable off camera as on). Also, a lot of time was spend on the loss of NHL hockey rights to what is now the Versus network and the depression felt in Bristol, CT after that happened. Basically, if a story needed a lot of time to tell, it wasn't really worth listening to in hindsight.

People who come off well in the book: All of the female ESPN personalities (especially Hannah Storm, Robin Roberts and Michelle Beadle), John Saunders, George Bodenheimer (current CEO - although Steve Jobs would disagree if you read the book) and beleive it or not, Jim Rome.

People who come off not so well: Keith Olbermann (but although everybody lambasts him, almost all throw in the word "genius" at some point), Chris Berman (a happy guy on camera, but it sounds like a terror off it), Mark Shapiro (former Boy Wonder higher up - pompous beyond belief) and Bill Simmons.

It's a decent book that probably should have been at least 25% shorter and still been good.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Good Book,,
Published 1 day ago by chris cochran
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for any boy who loves ESPN.
Must be amazing, my boyfriend hasn't put it down. Perfect for any boy who loves ESPN.
Published 4 days ago by Natasha Phoenix
1.0 out of 5 stars Way too long. Oh, and boring too!!!
Way, way, way too long. They could have given you the meat of ESPN in about 300 pages, not every boring detail about everybody who ever walked through the place. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Jpags
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
If you are an espn fan this book is a must read. Basically a must read for any sports fan as we all watch sports center and espn in general. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Gunner
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great Purchase!!
Published 1 month ago by Ilikestuff
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun to read
Really enjoyed reading this as I did his Saturday Night Live Book. Both interesting and entertaining. I would highly recommend.
Published 1 month ago by Stephanie Druley
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read
Terrific look at the most popular tv network in the world. A clear picture of the good and bad of Espn.
Published 1 month ago by mary russ
3.0 out of 5 stars Long and boring unless you love tv inside info
If you work in TV you'll enjoy this. If not a lot of the talk of contracts and satellites will probably bore you. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dallas
2.0 out of 5 stars Bloated and mostly uninteresting
I loved these authors' oral history of SNL, so was excited to read this book about another icon of the Amercian TV landscape: what a disappointment. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Doug Cutchins
5.0 out of 5 stars The oral history of ESPN tells how a station in ...
The oral history of ESPN tells how a station in the middle of a mud pit became the powerhouse that it is today. Read more
Published 2 months ago by laurence evans
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Kindle cost for this book
On the chance the publisher reads these threads...

I understand why you would like the price to be higher than $9.99 (or $11.99, or whatever) on the Kindle since you'll make more money but I came here to buy the book this morning and am leaving without purchasing the book. Not in paperback, not... Read More
May 24, 2011 by GEH |  See all 20 posts
Kindle version 160pgs less then hardbound?
Font? Should be the same.
May 22, 2011 by GLS |  See all 5 posts
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