CSTB’s review copy of “Those Guys Have All The Fun” isn’t supposed to turn up until the weekend, thus ensuring most of the more exciting moments from James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales’ history-of-ESPN volume will have already appeared in Deadspin and other outlets by the time I’ve opened the parcel. Newsday’s Neil Best accosted ESPN executive VP of content, John Skipper (above) yesterday, and was assured, “you take any village of 10,000 people and a few of those people on any given day will act irresponsibly.” And that’s after they’ve received tutoring in how to talk with their hands!
Regardless of the current culture at ESPN, though, won’t the book revisit the looser culture of the past?
“It’s a sweeping history of the company so they’re clearly going to talk about what the culture was like in the early days, which was a different culture than what it is now. I’m not just talking about behavior. The early culture was entrepreneurial, bootstrap. There were different kinds of behavior. Most of you guys lived during the ‘80s. I don’t think ESPN was unique. I worked at Rolling Stone in the ‘80s, you know?
“I think the book is going to be about something different. It’s going to be about the sweep of ESPN over three different periods: The entrepreneurial period, with Bill Rasmussen and Stu Evey, then a middle period which was Steve Bornstein and the building of the rights portfolios.
“And then the third era which is George’s [Bodenheimer] tenure, which is going to be when it kind of paid off and moved into multi-platforms and established the position with fans that we have now. I think that’s generally what the book is about. And it’s about the culture, so some of that’s going to be in.”