George Michael Sports Machine to shut down

When you think of the name George Michael, you usually think of the former pop star who ****** himself in a public restroom some years ago.

Well, even before the Wham! star became famous, there was another George Michael — one who’s a respected sports anchor on Washington D.C. television for 26 years and an institution to that market’s residents.

It was announced yesterday that George Michael would be stepping down from his nightly anchoring duties and the sports director position at NBC-owned WRC-TV in Washington D.C. on March 1. This also means the cancellation of The George Michael Sports Machine, a satellite-delivered program that ran on Sunday Nights in syndication for years. The show had been syndicated by NBC Universal Television Distribution.

The move comes as NBC Universal is cutting jobs and trying to save $750 million annually. Mr. Michael made the decision after he learned that much of his staff would be cut.

George Michael will not leave the station entirely: According to the Washington Post, he’ll continue to host Redskins Report and Full Court Press on WRC, plus he’ll continue to conduct live Monday interviews with the Redskins coaching staff.

Trivia: When Group W merged with CBS in 1995, WRC-produced The George Michael Sports Machine became the first program in history to be syndicated by a company owned by a rival network (CBS’ Eyemark Entertainment). When CBS bought King World in 1999, it absorbed all Eyemark product into that company. Syndication rights reverted back to NBC after it formed its own syndication division.

ITC (original producer of The Muppet Show and Space:1999) started syndicating the show in 1991, and was taken over to Group W in 1994. Before that, NBC offered the program to its affiliates for airing from 1984-91.