Almost no one has any idea what the initials ESPN stand for (it's Entertainment & Sports Programming Network), but just about everyone knows what it means -- sports on TV. For that reason, apparently, ABC has decided to drop its own identification with the sports programs that it airs and substitute the ESPN brand beginning Sept. 2. ""We believe that by expanding the ESPN brand to the ABC television network ... we'll be able to serve fans better," ESPN/ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer told the Hollywood Reporter Thursday. Several analysts regarded the move as the destruction of the house that former ABC Chairman Roone Arledge built with Monday Night Football and Wide World of Sports. "My heart just weeps for Roone's legacy," Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports, told today's (Friday) New York Times. Another critic was longtime ABC sportscaster Keith Jackson, who commented to the Times: "A lot of people worked to make ABC what it was, and they deserve more than to have their legacy callously tossed aside." But Frank Gifford, who replaced Jackson on MNF in 1971, remarked, "The tail took over the dog. ... The tail outgrew the dog. The world has changed."




11/08/2006