Friday, November 17, 2006

The King leaves his throne

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Nov 17, 2006 3:00 AM (3 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 3 of 10,006 articles

WASHINGTON - He is going out on top.

George Michael has turned down a lucrative offer from NBC and will end his career as WRC TV channel 4’s sports director after 26 years.

It is official. The King is ending his run.

“Bob Wright, the president of NBC, has been good to me and to my staff over the years,” Michael said. “He offered me a deal that was very, very generous. But I just could not see working without my team, the writers and producers that have won awards and have made me look good for 26 years. This network-wide budget cut is tough on everyone and Mr. Wright has been good about taking care of all my staff, the ones that will stay and the others that will have to leave.

“So I have no issues with NBC or channel 4. This is a family now and will always be a family to me — and a part of my life.”

That begs the question: What’s next for Michael?

“For now and into 2007, I will continue to do “The Redskins Report”, “The Joe Gibbs Show”, and “Full Court Press”. Also, I will do the Monday live interviews with Sonny Jurgensen so we can give Coach Gibbs and Joe Bugel plenty of grief.

“As for going to another TV station, I have had plenty of offers — one even wanted to build me my own studio — but it is time to end this. Everything has to come to an end some time and I think that this is my time.”

The future of the “The Sports Machine”, Michael’s nationally syndicated sports highlight show that premiered in 1984, is still uncertain. Michael said he is leaning toward shutting that down in March as well, although he did leave the door slightly open.

Like Johnny Carson, Michael is going out on top. His ratings have never been better. Michael will still be on the air doing the Redskins with Sonny and his fans will be able to watch he and Jim Vance have fun.

So it’s not all bad.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.


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