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Howard Cosell

From Academic Kids

Howard Cosell, born Howard William Cohen (March 25, 1918April 23, 1995), was a well-known sports journalist on American television. His abrasive personality made him, according to one poll, both the most-liked and most-hated TV reporter in the country.

Cosell rose to prominence covering boxer Muhammad Ali, starting when he still fought under his birth name, Cassius Clay. The two seemed to be friends despite their very different personalities, and complimented each other in broadcasts.

In 1970, ABC executive Roone Arledge hired Cosell to be a commentator for Monday Night Football, the first time that football was broadcast in prime time. Cosell was accompanied most of the time by ex-football players Frank Gifford and Don Meredith.

Cosell's national fame was boosted in the fall of 1975 when Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell aired late Saturday nights on ABC. The show was similar in many ways to a show NBC had launched, Saturday Night Live. Despite bringing a young comedian, Billy Crystal, to national prominence, the show was cancelled after three months.

Cosell denounced professional boxing in 1982 after a brutal, one-sided fight between Larry Holmes and Randall Cobb, and drew criticism during one Monday Night Football telecast in September, 1983, for calling a wide receiver for the Washington Redskins, Alvin Garrett, a "little monkey." Cosell left Monday Night Football shortly before the start of the 1984 NFL season, claiming that the NFL had "become a stagnant bore." His duties were greatly reduced to just baseball, horse racing, and a sports news program called Sportsbeat.

After writing the book I Never Played The Game, which chronicled his disenchantment with fellow commentators on Monday Night Football, among other things, he was taken off scheduled announcing duties for the 1985 World Series and was released by ABC television shortly thereafter.

In his latter years, Cosell briefly hosted his own television talk show, Speaking of Everything, authored his last book What's Wrong With Sports, and continued to appear on radio and television, becoming more outspoken about his criticisms of sports in general. After his wife of many years, Emmy, died in the fall of 1990, Cosell appeared in public less and less until his passing.

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