The Courtside Entertainment Group shift was a major event in the history of Loveline that marked several major jarring (but mostly temporary) changes to the show.
In October 2011, Loveline's network company Westwood One was acquired by Triton Media Group in a complicated set of mergers. The result was Loveline now being moved under Courtside Entertainment, which was founded by Westwood One CEO Norman Pattiz.
The move resulted in several major changes to the shows setup and format, which included the following:
- A third co-host was added, relationship counselor Simone Bienne.
- Video of the show was broadcast live via Ustream.
- The game Stinky Pinky was stopped completely.
- Mike was prohibited from doing any more bits involving voice impersonations (including Rudy).
- Anderson was prohibited from talking on air or playing sound-effects.
- Guests were only brought on air during the second segment, and departed at the halfway point.
- The introduction of the Open Forum segment at the halfway point
The reception of the changes was mixed to say the least. Many fans felt Mike's comedic ability was hamstrung due to the restriction as well as the crowding of the mics by a third person. Others felt that guests were on too briefly. Simone faced particularly harsh criticism, primary due to ignorant fans succumbing to a cum hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, blaming her for the changes when she simply was part of them and had nothing to do with why they happened.
Return to regular formatEdit
Gradually over time, most of the changes were reversed. Simone left the show after a year, and in the Spring of 2013 Mike began having Rudy "visit" the studio again, along with Anderson talking semi-regularly and using the occasional sound effect. In November 2013, Stinky Pinky was added back, though only on rare, designated segments. The only changes that remained until the end of the show's run in early 2016 were the Open Forum segment and guests joining during the second segment, though they could choose to remain for the rest of the show.
Aftermath and explanationsEdit
The cast and crew of the show remained very guarded about not only why these changed happened but their opinions of them, often simply playing along and keeping tight-lipped. In January 2014, Anderson finally gave some insight into the format changes via the After Disaster podcast. While he refused to say the person's name, he stated that a specific male individual in the company hierarchy was responsible for "ruining the show" and seemed to imply that this person moved to another role where he no longer controled these aspects of the show, hence why the unpopular changes were reversed. Mike also would do impressions of this person, suggesting he was older and out-of-touch. Over time, remarks by Anderson and Mike finally revealed him as then 72-year old broadcast consultant Bert Kleinman, a former producer of Casey Kasem, who had been hired by Norm Pattiz. Anderson spoke of how Kleinman would listen to recordings of Loveline the morning after over breakfast and provide feedback (i.e. demand immediate changes) and was often dismissive of the cast and crew's views, flippantly talking over them with a characteristic "yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah," something Mike took to imitating behind his back.
In September 2014, Mike admitted on the Mike & Drew podcast that he was so disgusted by how the show was being managed that he contemplated doing an on-air rage-quit, wherein he would announce to all the listeners that the people the ran the show were destroying it and were not interested in doing good radio, followed by his resignation. He explained he chose not to do this as it would hurt Drew, Anderson, Anne, the listeners, and everyone else who were not at fault.