A sports media figure, Paul Finebaum is one of the most important and well-known radio hosts in all of college football. In his 20 years of hosting his own show, Finebaum has been the center of the sports world, particularly in the SEC gaming epicenter. While he just signed a new deal to continue his Charlotte-based show for ESPN, he also recently shared that there is a TV sitcom in the works about his life.
Finebaum graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1978 and moved to Birmingham, Alabama, in 1980, according to ESPN. He became a columnist and reporter for the Birmingham Post-Herald and the Mobile press – Subscribe. The Memphis native also hosted the Paul Finebaum Radio Network from 2001 to 2012, becoming the “Voice of the SEC”.
He joined ESPN in 2013 as the host of The Paul Finebaum show and has helped anchor the network’s college football coverage ever since. In July 2021, he signed a new “multi-year extension” with ESPN.
“The Mouth of the South” is perhaps most famous for a single call on its 2011 radio show. After someone poisoned Auburn’s famous Toomer’s Corner trees, an Alabama fan named Harvey Updyke – using Al de Dadeville’s pseudonym – called Finebaum’s show and admitted to the crime. He capped his admission with “Roll Damn Tide”.
Finebaum’s radio show is also known for a host of regular and colorful callers and college football enthusiasts over the years. This includes Phyllis, who loves Alabama, Jim from Tuscaloosa, Darriel from Columbus, and the late superfan Auburn Tammy.
Finebaum has joined Tony Kornheiser’s Show podcast and shared that a sitcom is in the works based on the college football host. The opportunity arose when Finebaum recorded an episode of his podcast at Kornheiser’s former restaurant, Chatter:
A producer in Hollywood heard the podcast. He called another guy up, and two years later this thing kicks in, and it’s developed like a sitcom. It is sold to ABC. It’s a take off from – just like your show many years ago went to Hollywood, the guy who was going to play me is a younger person, Jason Biggs, the star of the American pie series. And then COVID happened, and it’s all in the air.
Paul Finebaum on his potential sitcom
“They wrote it down as a guy from New York who comes to the South, loosely based in Birmingham,” Finebaum explained in more detail to Alabama.com. “Someone with this mentality who deals with a different culture. This is the concept. One of the ideas was to marry a very southern family. And, just the strife of a New Yorker who was bolder than the norm.
The connection between Kornheiser and the Finebaum sitcom is twofold. In addition to the recording of the podcast that caught the attention of the ABC director at Kornheiser’s studio, the sitcom looks a lot like a short-lived sitcom based on Konrheiser’s life that aired for one season in 2004- 05.
Listen ! was a show that aired on CBS and starring Jason Alexander of Seinfeld as Tony Kleinman (based on Kornheiser) and focused on his family life and work as the host of a sports talk show with his partner Bernie Widmer, a Michael Wilbon-like character played by Malcolm Jamal- Warner’s The Cosby Show Fame.
Sports-based sitcoms have a roller-coaster track record
Sports sitcoms have a successful record on television. Shows on sports media are particularly difficult to succeed. In addition to Listen !, My boys, about a sports reporter looking for love in Chicago, aired for four seasons on TBS with poor ratings. Even Aaron Sorkin is critically acclaimed Sports evening, based on Dan Patrick from the sports center and Keith Olbermann, only made two seasons.
However, several sports-themed sitcoms have been successful over the years. Craig T. Nelson College Football Coach ran for nine seasons, and Mark Curry is focused on high school basketball Hangin ‘with Mr. Cooper went five seasons, both on ABC.
GLOW, about the 80s women’s wrestling league, ran for three seasons on Netflix before COVID-19 issues ended filming for the fourth and final season. In 2021, Ted Lasso, about an american football coach learning english football on Apple TV +, is one of the most popular sitcoms of the year. In recent years, more daring sports sitcoms have aired on television. This group includes the FX The league, IFC Brockmire, and HBO East and down and Ballet flats.
If the Finebaum sitcom ever gets off the ground, it looks like it will fall into the old category of sports media broadcasts that don’t go very far. That said, ABC has a solid history of making these types of shows work, so if Finebaum is successful it won’t be a complete surprise.
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