FOX Has An Unhealthy Obsession With Sports Based Cartoon Characters

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I don't know what we should blame for this trend (Laff-A-Lympics? Pro Stars?), but FOX has made a habit on depending on cheesy cartoons during games. First it was Slider, the goofy baseball with a face that told you about certain pitches. Next it was Cletus, the hip-hop inspired robot. And now it's Digger, the annoying gopher that pops up from the track during races.

Digger first appeared last year during NASCAR coverage, but this year they're giving him a little bit more airtime. To the tune of his own pre-race show! Via Sports Media Watch....

FOX has announced that Digger, an animated gopher that serves as the "alter-ego to FOX’s Gopher Cam," will be the subject of a series of vignettes that will air prior to the network's NASCAR telecasts this season.

The two-minute vignettes will be entitled "The Adventures of Digger & Friends", and will feature Digger, "his girlfriend Annie, best friend Marbles, Gramps and arch-nemesis Lumpy Wheels." The series' theme song will be sung by country star Keith Urban, who says of the theme: "I just hope that Digger likes it."

The series makes its debut during the NASCAR on FOX pre-race show prior to this Sunday's Daytona 500.

Digger and his associates will also "appear throughout NASCAR on FOX broadcasts as animated wipes, billboards and bugs," akin to what the network did with its robots during NHL coverage in the 1990s.

FOX hopes to use Digger & Friends to cultivate future fans. The network notes that "roughly a third of the FOX NASCAR audience" is made up of homes with children.
Are we positive that David Hill of FOX is qualified to run a network? I mean, between the band shots and now the cartoons, I almost picture him as Tom Hanks in "Big". A cartoon about a gopher before a NASCAR race? You think the names they call Jeff Gordon are bad? Wait until a kid down South gets caught watching this by some bully.

'Digger and Friends' to precede NASCAR telecasts (Sports Media Watch)


They might as well have Digger call the race and have Jack Bauer and the guy from Prison Break do the color. That would seem like a FOX move to me.

Better yet, FOX should get a guy in a Digger mascot suit and have him conduct sideline reporting. Or sidetrack. Whatever.

Big Davey said...
Feb 12, 2009, 9:52:00 AM  

Oh my. This is about as Fox as it gets. I'm still waiting for the day when they make House start game 1 of the World Series.

GMoney said...
Feb 12, 2009, 10:58:00 AM  

AA, Like it or not, Fox has borught some great invovations to the world of sports TV. They were the frst netowrk to use a contenious time/score graphics,Microphones on base pads in Baseball, etc. Yes, they have this dopey cartoon chracthers, but hte last time I checked, No pro leauge is turning down Fox's money becasue of those cartoon characthers.

Unknown said...
Feb 12, 2009, 11:07:00 AM  

FOX should get a guy in a Digger mascot suit

With a black-and-white checkered tie and highlighter?

Feb 12, 2009, 11:16:00 AM  

Could someone animate Ted Nugent?

Anonymous said...
Feb 12, 2009, 11:59:00 AM  

I'd love to see Conan do a parody on "Digger" in a similar fashion to the one he did on "Cletus", but with so few first-run shows left before the big move later this year, I don't know if we'll see any possibility of that happening...

Chris Tyner said...
Feb 12, 2009, 12:13:00 PM  

My girlfriend couldn't name a single driver in NASCAR, but she knows who Digger is.

FightingPike said...
Feb 12, 2009, 12:40:00 PM  

You guys didn't see the Budweiser Shootout or pole qualifying. Digger now has the use of his own top-down car for commerical intros.

Feb 12, 2009, 1:05:00 PM  

FOX should remember that the NFL made it what it is today. It has nothing to do with cheesy cartoon characters or their stupid gimmicks. I can honestly say that with the advent of American Karaoke as well, the NFL is the only thing I ever watch FOX for.

Brad James said...
Feb 12, 2009, 1:23:00 PM  

To slightly defend FOX, the point made about the time/graphics on the NFL broadcasts is dead on... but I'm not sure it's worth the 55 other craptastic things they've done to justify the one good thing.

Rob in WI said...
Feb 12, 2009, 3:46:00 PM  

A mascot costume of a cartoon character?

*imitates those Guinness guys* BRILLIANT!

JamesCraven said...
Feb 12, 2009, 6:19:00 PM  

FOX.... what are they thinking?

Digger is just awful. They're trying to attract kids with this?

What is "little digger" going to tell the kids when he catches a crash in which a driver is killed?

FOX sports is unbeleivably bad and run by idiots. It is sad!

Jim said...
Feb 16, 2009, 12:17:00 PM  

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