Jeremy St. Louis Has Left the Fox Soccer Channel

  Jeremy st louis obituary stillTribute to Jeremy St. Louis during his final appearance on Fox Soccer Report.

 

I only started watching this last year once I got digital cable. Now, I am like a crack whore with this show. I freakin' love it. Mondays are the best when they have Carlos Machado and Jeremy St. Louis along with Bobby McMahon doing the EPL recap. Those dudes are funny and I only understand half of what Bobby says which makes it better. Kinda reminds me of Sportscenter when it first started. Much more informal and the hosts were funny, but not cheesy Stuart Scott funny. As far as I know, it's the only place where you can get highlights of all the major European and South American leagues.-AusTexSoxFan

 

Opinions of Fox Soccer Report (FSR) and its anchors have been strong and divided from the beginning, with a notable negative peak in 2009-2010. By contrast, the only anchor universally praised in the pages is Bobby McMahon who remains the show’s gem. But comments sections and message boards are oddly silent on Jeremy St. Louis whose departure marks the end of an era on the show, according to the tribute he was given on his final appearance.

St. Louis is the only current broadcaster who has been with FSR since its launch and it's easy to see why. His chisled Canadian face is boyish, but his delivery is steady and seasoned. His narrow voice range contains plenty of inflection. He doesn’t risk crafting a unique persona, but neither has he reduced himself to a vessel. He is acutely aware of how much he should impress himself into a show.

Through longevity, he became the network’s guy-in-our-living-room. Subdued and occasionally mischievous, and with a subtle reflective humor, he was firmly installed as lead anchor once rising star Max Bretos left the show. Not an easy feat given Bretos’ only mode of being is an amphetamine-like excitation. As dirtynine said of Bretos:

Also – did anybody hear Max Bretos call the Boca/River match that was replayed over the last few days? Holy cocaine and whiskey. It's like listening to a punch-drunk 17-year old gay Dennis Miller. Again, I fully approve.

St. Louis’ departure is a little death for everyone, hence the whole send-off sounding like a eulogy. But the end of era had already taken place eighteen months earlier when Carlos Machado left. Of all the co-anchor pairings, St. Louis and Machado’s was the best. This does not take McMahon into consideration, who is primarily an analyst although he co-anchors occasionally, nor does it suggest a criticism of Derek Taylor who lacks an edge, but broadcasts fairly well.

FSR remains, after a decade, the only all-soccer sports show on U.S. television. It is indispensable regardless of its flaws.  Oldguyfc put it best:

Monkeys, chimps, wombats, whatever. I come from a time when you got to watch the same EPL game for about 4 weeks in a row (and you would) at 11:00 at night on the local cable sports channel. The alternative was going to a pub at 8:00 in the morning on Saturday, having an Irish breakfast, and paying 5 or 10 bucks for the pleasure.

I don't care if they have dead guys producing and announcing, I love Saturday and Sunday mornings, and at 9:00 at night in Chicago I actually get to find out what the hell is going on in the world of soccer.

For much of FSR’s history, the show was produced for Fox Soccer by the severely debt ridden media company Canwest for a boutique North American audience primarily interested in European leagues. The show’s budget is small, which is fairly apparent. That’s On Point described FSR as:

being produced out of a broom closet and run by some random AV Club in Winnipeg.

Today it remains relatively unpolished and straightforward, with a retro studio look and graphics out of the 1990s. I fully approve.

FSR’s financial restraints give it freedom to produce a substantive sports report. The show has never strayed from delivering the most comprehensive highlight show covering all or parts of at least six leagues in one hour, and when McMahon is featured, includes reliable analysis.

The commitment to delivering maximum content from an unsophisticated production accounts for its charm and appeal. The announcers, all Canadian, are cut from the same patchwork.

Its small staff is incapable of managing thorough editorial and production oversight. Glaring mistakes were common, though less so today. The text graphics would have typos or show incorrect scores. Now and again, they were sent to the screen off cue or appeared over an unrelated segment. 

The writing must also be considered with regard to its production values over and above the cringing it solicits from time to time. The use of cliché and stock phrases can cause viewer twitching, but then again it’s a sports show. Each anchor writes his or her own script, and from the sound of it, without a line or content producer through to the show’s taping. One viewer, who had taken the time to analyze the show, discovered that some mistakes were corrected when primary segments were repeated in the second half hour. Taylor, McMahon, Machado, St. Louis, and Michele Lissel were far less guilty than the anchors featured in 2008-2010.

Terri Leigh joined the in 2008. She lacked telepresence, her diminutive voice had no rhythm and her knowledge of the game was suspect. Like Taylor, who also lacked a deep soccer background, she improved over time and could be considered a Walter Kronkite once Lara Balsesarra and Karim Nabil joined FSR after Machado’s departure in late 2009. All three are no longer with the show.

Baldesarra and Nabil were unbearable to watch. Baldesarra looked to be brought on to the show for her cleavage—an angle definitively missing from the show since inception. In terms of cost, this is a very cheap—and transparent—upgrade. While this appeased the hard up male viewer, far more were upset with her overall presentation. At one point, there was a laurabaldesarrasucks.com. NUhusky13 was less cruel than most:

I'm all about Terri, me and her go together like peas and carrots. See, she actual knows what she is talking about, whereas Lara, while stunning in her own right, sounds like a clueless numpty sometimes.

Baldesarra either lacked a fundamental knowledge of Romance languages or she was completely tone deaf. She threw tildes, accent, and umlauts on any letter or syllable that could take one. She did that thing where she properly pronounced the English words in a sentence, but over-enunciated the foreign words, particularly names. For example, instead of pronouncing croissant “cra-SONT” she would say “CWAA-SON!” The Internet cited numerous examples of mispronunciation: Totten-HAM, Arjen Row-BEN, Carlo An-GEL-oti, Richard DOON, MAY-con, Muh-LAH-guh (Málaga).

She did receive a number of measured remarks that admitted she wasn’t good, but also not that bad, and instead held production and management responsible. She could read the teleprompter, and with coaching, she may have worked things out.

Nabil on the other hand could not get through one of his authored segment introductions. He stumbled through the words and had to restart, sometimes more than once. His contribution to the show was the squirmy embarrassment he stirred in viewers. He shouldn’t be entirely blamed either, since someone hired him in the first place. Baldesarra’s and Nabil’s arrival and departure marked a low period for the show, which has since come out it without making any significant changes.

St. Louis (St. Lew-é! or St. Loowus?) and Machado were the only anchor pairing who could exchange off-script. It was natural banter, similar to a comedy skit, but never taking it completely into parody. It was equally humorous when they failed to pull it off.

The banter since has never reached the heights of St. Louis and Machado, although it’s improved since the early post-Machado period. St Louis soldiered on undisturbed, but never found a partner to replace Machado.

With the exception of St Louis’ tribute, the departures of Machado, Leigh, Baldesarra, and Nabil went almost unnoticed unless one is a follower of the blogs BigSoccer, EPL Talk, and Unprofessional Foul. Baldesarra announced her departure on Twitter. Searching for more information on St. Louis’ departure, the Sportscasters Talent Agency of America came up first, which was an article reprinted from Inside Minnesota Soccer. Adding to the lack of fanfare, St Louis, Leigh, and Baldesarra, didn’t disclose their future plans when asked. They weren’t coming and going, but just going, disappearing from the studio and into the great white north.

One wouldn’t notice for some time that an anchor disappeared. Most weeks, the show has a few days where one didn’t need to watch, making it impossible to know when these faces stopped showing up—it could be weeks, or in the case of Machado, much longer. Months later, people were still asking where he was.

Of all the anchors, St Louis has received the fewest comments, positive or otherwise. He was both FSR and somehow outside of it. Despite being the heart and soul, the show has continued without redesign, as it always has, along with the same problems and the same split opinion on anchors.  It keeps steadily rolling along, and will continue doing so as long as it remains the exclusive English interface of world football in North America.

In light of its resilience, it’s odd that St Louis’ departure was treated like an obituary. One wonders if this signals that the show will become something other than what we’ve always wanted and expected it to be. Red Rooster:

I miss Carlos, and not in a gay way – even if he was a Braga fan. When Jeremy St-Louis leaves, I may just have to stop tuning in completely, as humor and witty banter on the show will cease to exist.

 

3/1/11

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: