ESPN/ABC Sports


Well, we were wondering what we were going to get from iTunes when there are fewer new television shows being broadcast over the summer? We get a dip in the archive, that’s what we get.

Trial By JuryFirst up is the failed fourth installment of the Law & Order franchise, Law & Order: Trial By Jury. Cut down in the prime of its life after only two months of episodes in 2005, Trial By Jury is reborn in iTunes form. It’s so sad when a source television series outlives its spinoff. Anyways, NBC must have decided that it had nothing further left to lose by tossing the 13 produced episodes into iTunes. It is claimed that there is an exclusive episode among the bunch, but alert Law & Order fans will know this is incorrect as the thirteenth episode was never aired on NBC, but the entire series (including the missing episode) were reaired on Court TV.

ESPN Draft PreviewNext up is a quickie from ESPN, their preview of this weekend’s NFL Draft. Although they don’t actually say “NFL Draft” (as the NFL would likely be displeased at this development), we know what they really mean by “Pro Football” and it’s not the USFL. Anyways, if you’re a sports fan and you’re not completely sick to death of all the NFL Draft previews yet, you can purchase another 12-minute preview from ESPN for the usual $1.99.

StellaBut it’s not just NBC dipping into the archive for new material, Comedy Central is doing the same. Up first is the short-lived sketch comedy series Stella which ran briefly in the “Summer of Love,” by which I mean 2005. The series was a cult favorite, but unfortunately, TV execs translate “cult favorite” to “ratings death” and it was not renewed for a second season. However, it continues to live on in iTunes.

Crank YankersFinally, we have a series that I thought was cancelled but perhaps not (although new episodes haven’t been seen since last year). That’s right, season one of Crank Yankers, that absurdist series of crank calls from popular comedians set to puppets, has been added to iTunes. The series has always had a good lineup of comedians to lend their voices to the effort, Jimmy Kimmel, Adam Carolla, Denis Leary, Sarah Silverman, Wanda Sykes, Dane Cook, David Alan Grier, Tracy Morgan and, of course, Super Dave Osborne.

So there you are, more ways to evade the spirit of TV Turnoff Week. Me? I plan on watching twice as much television to pull the extra wait of those slackers not watching TV. Have an interesting week!

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Knight SchoolIs it safe to say yet that the idea of new content Tuesday is dead?

Just added to iTunes is ESPN’s latest reality series, Knight School, which follows several players trying out for one walk-on spot on legendary college basketball coach Bobby Knight’s Texas Tech Red Raiders. The show’s first two episodes are available for download right now. Good to see that ESPN is continuing to add some of their programming to the mix.

Also added, as first noticed by alert reader Bill Huff, is the premiere episode of Bravo’s Top Chef, which is being made available as a free download. NBC Universal continues their efforts to use iTunes as a two-way marketing tool to promote their programming. I’m still waiting for the first of the other networks to really catch on to the fact that their getting their butts kicked in that department.

This Is SportsCenterApparently someone heard all of the complaints about the This Is SportsCenter ads costing $1.99 because checking back again this morning, they are now available as a free download. However, only three of the six initially placed in the iTMS are listed with the other three currently missing in action. But it is nice to see that someone at ESPN and Apple were listening to the complaints.

2006 Winter X GamesESPN wasted no time in adding some new sports content to the iTMS following their first additions on Saturday. Today you can download some of the highlights from the 2006 Winter X Games that are going on right now. This appears to be a similar situation to the BCS bowl games earlier this month and this is the first set of content of actual sporting events added to the iTMS since then.

ESPN/ABC Sports (Just Added)Just discovered in the iTunes Music Store, new programming from ESPN and ABC Sports. The new additions featured include Best of the X Games, featuring highlights from Winter X Games 9 in Aspen, Sports Century Shorts, featuring short clips about Andy Roddick, Andre Agassi, Jeff Gordon and Dan Marino, some of the commercials from ESPN’s “This Is SportsCenter” campaign, and five episodes of Street Ball. This also gives a new home for the four BCS bowl game highlight videos that were added earlier this month.