Ohlmeyer wants cameras everywhere to 'protect the fan'

PASADENA — If Don Ohlmeyer gets his way, “Monday Night Football” viewers will be able to get a lot closer to the action.

Ohlmeyer, who produced ABC’s “MNF” from 1972-1977 and recently took over the reins of the franchise again, has asked the NFL for permission to put cameras and/or microphones on players.

“I’d like to put cameras in as many places as the NFL will let me,” Ohlmeyer said Sunday at the Television Critics Assn. tour. “Their job is to protect the game. My job is to protect the fan.” Ohlmeyer said he expects to get a response from the NFL as early as today.

XFL, the “smashmouth” football league that WWF Entertainment and NBC will launch in February, has announced similar plans.

While he doesn’t see the upstart football franchise as a competitor, Ohlmeyer thinks it will attract curious viewers. “I wouldn’t bet against it,” he said, adding that the NFL should be proactive and address the issue of using cameras and microphones now, rather than waiting until after the XFL has made an impact. “No matter what (the NFL) does, they’ll be accused of copying the XFL.”

Ultimately, though, Ohlmeyer is not worried about the competition. “Whatever the XFL does, they won’t put the NFL out of business. They won’t even make a dent,” he said.

Ohlmeyer also said he is hoping that political commentator and radio talkshow host Rush Limbaugh will be a part of the “MNF” team, perhaps as a contributor.

“We’re trying to figure out his role,” said Ohlmeyer, who added that Limbaugh could contribute commentaries via live remotes. Limbaugh was up for the position of “MNF” analyst, but that role went to comedian Dennis Miller.

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