Age and Money Drive Entertainment Divorces

It's a sad day for entertainment business marriages: ESPN won't be airing NHL hockey and Pierce Brosnan won't be acting as James Bond anymore.

The James Bond producers/rights holders relieved Brosnan of his duties -- just as ESPN stopped bidding with Comcast for its $200-million, three-year offer it made to have the NHL run on its now budding sports cable network, OLN.

Brosnan wasn't told much, but the underlying message is understood. James Bond has to be a slightly younger, dashing man. Not necessarily in his 20s, but certainly not 50 or 60. Brosnan did well to star in four Bond films. The first was with "GoldenEye" in 1995 when he was 42. He went on as agent 007 in "Tomorrow Never Dies" (1997), "The World Is Not Enough" (1999), and "Die Another Day" (2002).

Age doesn't define -- nor affect -- ESPN nearly as much. As long as it can maintain super graphics, sharp personalities, and sports news coolness, ESPN won't be relieved of its duties anytime soon. ESPN has other sports to focus on, such as the NBA, NFL, and Major League Baseball.



But the age of TV viewers is a big factor. Younger skewing demos are always in vogue and will probably be the marketing chant of the new NHL rights holder, OLN. OLN started a sharp new look with its Tour de France coverage in July. Decked out in bright yellow and black style graphics, we can be assured of lots of Boston Bruin coverage.

OLN will need to completely shed its other moniker - less used around the network these days -- the Outdoor Life Network. Of course, ESPN did the same thing over two decades ago, when it discarded its original Entertainment and Sports Programming Network. Maybe the NHL will get into the spirit of things.

Brosnan is now open to star in movies far removed from the sleuthing Bond. Perhaps ESPN has a role for him in one of its TV sports movies - as an Irish soccer or hockey coach.

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