Posted on January 12, 2011 by


Welcome to SportsDome: Two anchors enter, zero jokes leave.

by Tommy Morgan Jr.

“SportsDome” premiered on Comedy Central on Tuesday, January 11th at 9:30 CST. Unfortunately, it was D.O.A.

Thanks to services like Netflix and Hulu, watching regular broadcast and cable television shows on the Internet is easier than it has ever been. While networks look to gain more viewers by bringing their content online, some producers are doing the opposite by looking to take their online shows to mainstream cable.

Following up Comedy Central‘s hit YouTube variety show“Tosh.0,” satirical media outletThe Onion has exported it’s popular Onion Sports Networkto the comedy channel in the form of “SportsDome.” The first of The Onion‘s two new forays into the world of television (the other, a version of the “Onion News Network” videos, premieres January 21st on IFC), “Onion SportsDome” is a send-up of 24-hour sports coverage. Now, if only it were a good one…

The Onion: Quite possibly America's most respected journalistic outlet.

The Onion successfully brought its humor to the silver screen in the form of The Onion Movie in 2008, but falls dramatically short this time around. Where The Onion Movie had something of a plot to guide the viewer through the many skits and one-off jokes throughout, “SportsDome” has only Matt Walton and Matt Oberg, who play “SportsDome” anchors Alex Resier and Mark Shepard.

The two anchors seem to exist only to move the show from skit to skit, deadpanning weak one-liners along the way. While Walton and Oberg work in the short-form videos online, when the show is extended their shortcomings grow more obvious. Walton and Oberg are drier and far less humorous than the ESPN anchors they parody. Compared to the characters of Reiser and Shepard, the faux-anchoring of a Hootie and the Blowfish-themed “SportsCenter” by Keith Olbermann andDan Patrick in the group’s “Only Wanna Be With You” video is Emmy material.

What works well for “SportsDome” online is its downfall on cable. The pacing of the show is designed for a series of two-minute long web clips, not a 22-minute television episode. “SportsDome” moves so fast that the jokes don’t have much time to sink in before the show moves on. That ends up not being much of a problem, however, because so few of the jokes are actually worth laughing at to begin with.

The show runner about retired NFL players with brain injuries running rampant on the streets traded what little humor there may have been in the midst of all that poor taste (if any at all) for more offensiveness for the sake of offensiveness. The anchors and other guests of “SportsDome” look more like they’re trying to remember their lines than trying to deliver them well. The first episode’s best segment, “St. Louis Gives Cardinals Star Albert Pujols Working Key To The City,” works better on its own – which is good, considering it’s available on the Onion’s website without the rest of “SportsDome” holding it down.

“SportsDome” airs on Comedy Central every Tuesday at 9:30 CST, but hopefully not for much longer. Such a time slot is better reserved for “South Park” reruns. Or dead air.

– Tommy Morgan Jr.

Posted in: MediaSTALK, TubeSTALK