Promised complete autonomy, Brian Lowry, a writer for entertainment industry publication Variety, will pen a sports media column for FoxSports.com. According to Fox Sports, Lowry will be allowed to critique and provide opinion on sports media coverage, no matter which network is airing the event and that includes Fox Sports. We’ll see how this goes.
As far as I know, this is the first time that one of the networks will have a sports media critic on board. ESPN, CBSSports.com, FoxSports.com and NBCSports.com have picked up sports media stories from the Associated Press or run sports media columns from other sources, but I believe this marks the first time that one of the networks has gone out and hired someone to write about sports media for its website.
Lowry will continue writing for Variety. We’ll keep an eye on this and see how it goes. Here’s the press release:
VARIETY’S BRIAN LOWRY TO WRITE SPORTS MEDIA COLUMN FOR FOXSPORTS.COM ON MSNWeekly Column “From the Couch” Debuts TodayFOXSports.com is First TV-Affiliated Web Site to Cover IndustryNEW YORK – Brian Lowry, renowned media columnist for Variety, today joins FOXSports.com on MSN as a sports media critic. Lowry, who retains his position with Variety, now also contributes a weekly column called From the Couch for FOXSports.com, making the site the first affiliated with a TV network to engage in active criticism and analysis of the industry. Lowry’s debut column, focusing on NBA Playoff coverage, is available at http://msn.foxsports.com.“From the Couch” analyzes the state of sports coverage on television and trends in the business, serving as a surrogate for the countless fans who follow their favorite teams from the couch, not the stands. His mandate is to provide his honest opinion, without fear or favor; no matter what network is televising the event.“Adding a reviewer of Brian Lowry’s stature reflects our mission to acquire the best talent possible,” said Stephen Miller, Managing Editor for FOXSports.com. “Sports fans across the country will soon know what TV insiders have realized for years; that Brian Lowry knows the medium and his writing is passionate, fun to read and on point.”“Network-affiliated web sites have long shied away from TV criticism, for a variety of reasons,” said Ed Bunnell, Senior Vice President of Programming for FOX Sports Interactive. “If there’s one thing FOX is not, it’s shy. We expect Brian Lowry to bring attitude to his analysis and criticism of all the major players in the industry, including our own.”Brian Lowry has been a media columnist and TV critic for Variety, a leading entertainment trade publication, since September 2003. Before that, he spent seven years at the Los Angeles Times as a reporter and columnist covering the television industry, which was preceded by a nine-year stint at Variety.“I’m very excited about the opportunity to contribute to FOXSports.com,” said Lowry. “I’ve always been a huge sports fan, and hopefully I can bring something fresh to the view from the couch. Given that most fans experience games on TV, I hope to give them something to think about regarding how the action is covered and presented.”
Lowry has been a contributor to National Public Radio and is the former co-host of “Square Off,” a weekly talk program about the television business on TV Guide Network. He also is the author of two authorized companion guides to the FOX series “The X-Files.”
Lowry was born and raised in Los Angeles, Calif. and graduated from UCLA in 1984 with a B.A. in Communication Studies. He takes great pride in having been in attendance when UCLA won its last NCAA basketball title in 1995. He is married with a new three-month old daughter.
If Lowry can offer opinions without reprisal from Fox, then this will be a good move. If he’s prevented from critiquing Fox’s MLB or NFL coverage, then eyebrows will be raised. We’ll monitor this to see how his pans out.