Friday, December 25, 2009

Host of 'Sports Machine' Michael passes

Host of 'Sports Machine' Michael passes
Broadcasting pioneer hosted long-running highlights show

By Barry M. Bloom /

12/24/09 6:06 PM EST

Sportscaster George Michael passed away on Thursday morning after a lengthy bout with leukemia. He was 70.

Michael was a mainstay of the Washington, D.C., sports media scene and made his name nationally with the syndicated "George Michael Sports Machine," a weekly highlights show.

Michael was surrounded by family and friends when he died from complications of chronic lymphocytic leukemia at Washington's Sibley Memorial Hospital.

"The Washington Nationals and the Lerner family join all of the Washington community and sports fans nationally in mourning the loss of legendary sportscaster George Michael," the Nationals said Thursday in a statement.

"He was not only an icon in sports in the Nation's Capital, but he was also a pioneer in the sports broadcasting world with his use of game highlights during his nationally syndicated program 'The George Michael Sports Machine.' Our deepest affection and condolences are with the Michael family in their time of grief."

The prototype for "Sports Machine" was launched in 1980 as a late-night local feature shortly after Michael's arrival at WRC-TV in Washington. In 1984, it became the first nationally syndicated sports highlights show, ultimately airing in 194 U.S. markets and 10 foreign countries. The show ran until March 2007, when cutbacks at WRC and Michael's health issues led to the end of the show's run.

"He waged his battle against cancer with the same drive and determination that made him a one-of-a-kind in the broadcasting industry," the Michael family said in a statement. "Whether it was covering a sports story, working on his horse farm, or spending time with family and friends, he approached everything in life with passion."

Michael's family said plans for a memorial service are not yet complete. He is survived by Patricia, his wife of 31 years, his daughter, Michelle Allen, and his son, Brad.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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