George Michael of Sports Machine Fame Dead at 70

DC legend pioneered use of game highlights
By M. Morris,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2009 3:21 PM CST
Sportscaster George Michael, a mainstay on the Washington, DC, sports TV scene who reached a national audience with "The George Michael Sports Machine" highlights show, has died at 70.   (AP Photo/ WRC/NBC4, Bryan Blanken)

(Newser) – George Michael, whose syndicated Sports Machine show helped introduce viewers to the magic of game highlights years before ESPN made it obsolete, died today in Washington. He was 70 and suffering from leukemia. At WRC in Washington from 1980 to 2008, Michael became a legend during the heyday of the local sports anchor, but it was in national syndication that he really made his mark, the Washington Post reports.

"George wasn't the first to make videotape the king—Warner Wolf did it before him—but his rise at Channel 4 coincided with better technology to provide the highlights, the greatest sports boom in US history and a profitable local news operation willing to spend time and money on its sports segments," said sports-TV expert Norman Chad. Writes Post columnist Mike Wise: "George was not so much in search of great athletic achievement as he was authentic human majesty."

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