Soccer Talk Live: Worst Show on TV?
Kyle says, "Hey folks, how do you like my hair?"
In the wake of Fox Soccer Channel’s decision to cancel Fox Football Fone-In, its weekly soccer call-in program (which improved leaps and bounds when the straight-talking Eric Wynalda joined the always-excellent co-host Nick Webster), Fox now offers up something called Soccer Talk Live with host Kyle Martino. The wheat has clearly been separated from the chaff, with the chaff winning. As far as soccer infotainment programs go, Soccer Talk Live is the worst show on TV. In terms of talent, content, set design, and production values it comes up short even when compared to shoe-string budget public access television.
It starts with the host Kyle Martino, who typifies the Fox aesthetic when it comes to its onscreen talent: form over substance. Martino, a 29-year-old mediocre former MLS player (13 goals in 141 appearances for the Columbus Crew and L. A. Galaxy), is an affable, good-looking guy with great (Novak Djokovic-esque) hair, but totally glib; his patter would make good Happy Hour banter, but that's all. But Fox always values looks (and British or Scottish accents whenever possible, as per Fox Soccer Report) over content, a point further hammered home by its embarrassing embracement of Temryss Lane as its would-be "sidekick soccer babe" futbolita.
Temyrss puts the T in T&A
This Latino-Lite Looker (she's actually of Native American-European descent) technically qualifies as a female jockette - she played soccer at Arizona State University and the third-tier pro soccer club Ajax America Women - and is the lone carry-over from the late Fox Football Fone-In show, but continually looks lost the minute she opens her mouth and is asked to do more than strut around in tight-fitting leggings and knee-high boots. Fox has repeatedly tried to come up with things for Temryss to do, from answering e-mails on FFF (she looks like she's never used a laptop!)...
Ms. T says, "Send e-mails suggesting something for me to do"!
...to doing painfully lame road segments and locker room "interviews" - a typical locker room interview had her doing jumping jacks with male players so the cameramen could capture all her baby-fat jiggles and wiggles. She has no gift-for-gab, zero onscreen presence (beyond her outfits, that is) and you can tell by her looking-right-through-you demeanor that she's not really interested in the people she "interviews." But on Fox, image is everything.
"Hey look, Kyle; I can jump up and down some more!"
Don't get me wrong: Kyle Martino seems like a likeable guy, I just think he's in way over his head. Sure, he's an ex-MLSer, but he's still just a young American with little international experience. (For my money, the best American ex-jock soccer analyst is still Christopher Sullivan). Fox should concentrate on getting more Brits (and less know-nothing Scots like Bobby "I Picked English Premiere League Champions Chelsea To Finish 4th Last Year" McMahon) on its soccer shows (like Nick Webster and the Fox Super Sunday Plus team's Christian Miles and Keith Costigan). I mean, the Brits invented the game and know a thing or two about it (except, apparently, how to win international competitions!). Keith Costigan actually has shown up a few times on Soccer Talk Live and even corrected Kyle's mispronunciation of Italian Serie A football club Sampdoria! (Tip to Kyle: If you're gonna be a soccer talk show host, get to know the teams outside the USA!) At least guests like Costigan add some gravitas to the show, which otherwise tends to book all-fluff, no-stuff "celebrity guests" like Kyle's girlfriend Eva Amurri's mom, Susan Sarandon and Elisabeth Shue (I guess because her brother Billy, formerly of Melrose Place, played in college and her current beau is retired L. A. Galaxy and U.S. international Cobi Jones).
Other than that, Soccer Talk Live 's "content" is just a capsulized rehash of Sky Sports News and the British sports tabloids. That is, without the content, insight, or charming accents.