New Book on Howard Cosell Says He Had a Problem That Was His Downfall — Including Triggering a Fight With Al Michaels in the Broadcast Booth

Nov 18, 2011  •  Post A Comment

A new book claims that TV personality Howard Cosell had a personal problem that was his undoing, including costing him his ABC job, reports the New York Post.

Cosell, who died in 1995, is the focus of “Howard Cosell: The Man, the Myth, and the Transformation of American Sport." The book says Cosell’s drinking problem led to his downfall, the story reports.

According to the book, Cosell and his partner, Al Michaels, got into a fight over baseball strategy during a 1984 American League Championship game, although viewers didn’t know that "Cosell had been drinking during the game," author Mark Ribowsky writes. Michaels told Cosell, "You’re drunk,” adding that he was "ruining the f—ing telecast," the story notes.

Michaels complained to ABC, and within a year the network was growing tired of Cosell’s behavior, which was also bothering baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth, who had veto power over announcers, the story says.

Cosell was pulled off the air, and two months later he quit ABC, the story says, citing the book.

2 Comments

  1. Howard Cosell? Drinking problem? Anybody who listened to him on the radio or watched him on TV “back in the day” in the 70′s knew he had a problem with alcohol. Why is this news? OH, Christmas is coming and somebody is trying to sell books. Go to Museums of Broadcasting where Cosell’s broadcasts are archived and you can just hear the story.

  2. Cosell was an obnoxious, non=telegenic alcoholic and the best thing that ever happened to ABC (and possibly televised sports in general). He was the character viewers loved to hate and as such brought more viewers to watch events that they might not have tuned into otherwise. I don’t think it’s possible to over emphasize his career’s contribution to sports broadcasting in this country.

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