CNBC ‘Tempting Fate’ With ‘Money Talks’: NFL Could Force Network’s Hand

Written by:
Alejandro Botticelli
Published on:
CNBC ‘Tempting Fate’ With ‘Money Talks’: NFL Could Force Network’s Hand

Ben Koo of AwfulAnnouncing.com suggests that CNBC Prime has been “tempting fate” with its airing of the controversial sports betting “reality” show “Money Talks”.

We use the term “reality” lightly as the bad acting from supposed sports bettors visiting Vegas to place wagers with Steve Stevens’ operation is pretty much a dead giveaway, not to mention the set up scenarios.  What sports bettors call a handicapping service every time their team is down following a scoring drive from the opponent?  Better still, how does one plan to have two separate film crews filming the guys placing the calls and the sports service rep taking them? 

Stevens has also been called out as a fraud by better-known sports handicappers the likes of Wayne Root and Todd Furhman.  He was also convicted in a telemarketing scheme a few years back.

Matt Rudnisky of SportsGrid.com is among the more vocal critics when it comes to Stevens.

CNBC’s “Money Talks” is a show claiming to be about sports betting, but it’s really just a mildly entertaining, entirely embarrassing profile of a sleazy man who claims to be successful, but hopefully and probably isn’t.

And while “Money Talks” is otherwise well-produced and “watchable”, this hasn’t necessarily translated into solid ratings.  As a result, the show might not be returning for a third season. 

“Forensic Files”, which HLN seemingly reruns the same episode every three weeks, beat out “Money Talks” in the 11 pm hour last week with more than double the viewership.  A repeat of Fox News “O’Reilly Factor” got nearly six times the viewership numbers.  CNBC’s more successful repackaged “Shark Tank” got around five times the number of viewers during the 9 pm hour the night before “Money Talks” aired.  That network’s original series “The Profit” got nearly four times the viewers of “Money Talks”.

Still, the show’s lackluster ratings may just be enough to get it renewed especially when one considers the target audience.  Among the coveted 25-54 year-old viewing segment, “Money Talks” pulled in numbers similar to that of Lawrence O’Donnell over on MSNBC.  Likewise, it could be said that the show probably attracts its fair share of gambling degenerates, a group advertisers surely like.

Koo surmises that the NFL may eventually apply pressure to CNBC just as it did some years ago with ESPN and its NFL-themed show “Playmakers”.  After all, “Money Talks” blatantly discusses bets placed on various NFL games.

Koo writes:

The case against Money Talks is pretty strong and even stronger considering CNBC is supposed to be a bit higher on the reality TV nonsense totem pole than say Spike or truTV. But despite all of this, if it’s good TV, it gets ratings, and nothing is really illegal, can anyone actually do anything to squash the series? Clearly the loud chorus of writers bemoaning its existence has had no pull with CNBC.

Many will recall when the NFL stepped in about a decade ago and told ESPN that its dramatic series, Playmakers, about a fictitious pro football team in a thinly veiled NFL, was too antagonist to the league and the league strongly urged the network to not renew it at the risk of affecting their business relationship.

But that was ESPN and people actually watched Playmakers opposed to CNBC and nominal ratings for Money Talks. That said, this is the NFL we’re talking about, the institution that pretty much bulldozes anyone who gets in its way whether that be a cable company, their own players union, other pro leagues, networks, and cable channels.

With CNBC Prime proclaiming itself “the fastest growing network in primetime”, we can only guess it is just a matter of time before the NFL starts to take notice.

- Alejandro Botticelli, Gambling911.com

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