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ESPN Re-signs Everett & Verrett

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Wee-hours viewers of ESPN have for the last six years counted on Neil Everett and Stan Verrett to get them through the night. And while some other mainstays at the Walt Disney sports-media outlet have departed, this duo won’t be one of them.

Verrett and Everett, who host the 1 a.m. eastern edition of the network’s flagship “SportsCenter,” will stick with the outlet under new “multi-year” deals, ESPN is expected to unveil Friday. “I signed first,” Verrett recounted in an interview, and immediately told his partner, “I’m done. Don’t leave me!:”

ESPN likely hopes the announcement will quell the notion that top employees are leaving the network for other opportunities as its executives navigate a new playing field of sorts: maintaining cost controls as the rights fees it must pay for live-sports content escalate. ESPN has appeared in recent months to take a harder look at deals with talent, cutting ties with personality and “Grantland” founder Bill Simmons and then parting ways with Keith Olbermann after his ESPN2 program didn’t notch the ratings executives had wanted. ESPN Radio personality Colin Cowherd has also exited, though the network is said to have initially tried to keep him on board.

Verrett and Everett may not have achieved Simmons’ level of fame, but their presence at the network is an important one. They hold forth from Los Angeles, not the network’s Bristol, Conn., headquarters. As such, they lend a West Coast sensibility to their programming – which also happens to stand as the network’s last live news dispatch of the night for most of its viewers (their edition of “SportsCenter” airs several more times during overnights and into early morning).

“In Bristol, there’s a huge pool of people to pick from. On Monday, I might be announcing with this guy, with that guy directing and that person producing, and I wouldn’t even know the graphics guy,” Everett explained. “On Tuesday, I might be anchoring with her, she’s producing. You don’’ know until you go to your team meeting or your show meeting. Our show has succeeded because our collective group is in it.” Viewers understand, he added, there’s a certain bunch that handles the latenight program. “There’s a lot of us here who have been there since day one.”

ESPN launched the West Coast effort in 2009, opening a production center near L.A.’s Staples Center, in hopes of adding some geographic balance to a schedule that originated largely from the East.”It seems like we have a relationship with viewers and it’s something that we want to continue,” Verrett said.

Both anchors joined ESPN in 2000 within months of each other: Everett in July, Verrett in September.

Verrett had been a weekend sports anchor and reporter at WDSU-TV, an NBC affiliate, in his hometown of New Orleans. He has also worked as sports anchor and reporter in Norfolk, Va., at ABC affiliate WVEC-TV and NBC affiliate WAVY-TV, and was a morning show personality at several radio stations in Washington, D.C., Charleston, S.C., and Norfolk.

Everett came to ESPN after working for 15 years for various affiliates in Honolulu, most recently KGMB-TV, the CBS affiliate where he was the sports director and weekday anchor. Prior to his TV news career, Everett served as an assistant athletic director and sports information director at Hawaii Pacific University.

“The on-air chemistry Neil and Stan have can’t be manufactured,” said Rob King, ESPN’s senior vice president of “SportsCenter” and News, in a prepared statement. “It’s as authentic as it gets, and we look forward to having them as part of our team for years to come.”

Credit to Variety who originally published this article

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Peter King: ‘Tom Brady Needs To Study Cris Collinsworth’

“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is.”

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Peter King dedicated a not-insignificant portion of his “Football Morning in America” column this week to advice for Tom Brady. FOX announced last week that the Buccaneers’ quarterback will become the network’s lead NFL analyst upon his retirement.

Brady’s decision and his reported salary have been the source of much speculation and prediction amongst his soon-to-be colleagues.

King is optimistic that Tom Brady will be entertaining and informative when he makes his FOX debut. He did offer the GOAT a little bit of advice about what he should be doing in the months leading up to calling it quits on his playing days and starting his new career.

“I think what I’d do if I were Brady is study Cris Collinsworth—and honest to goodness, I don’t say that because I work for NBC,” he wrote. “I say it because Collinsworth knows how to talk X’s-and-O’s conversationally, he’s an easy listen, and he can criticize when the time comes.”

Interestingly, last week, Collinsworth says he hears from most former players that are getting ready to make the jump to broadcasting. He was surprised he never heard from Tom Brady before FOX announced their deal.

King had two other suggestions. The first was that Brady watch multiple games from start to finish so that he can hear what the give-and-take between a broadcaster and analyst sounds like. The other is that he has to commit to being interesting and not censoring himself. King has faith that Brady will be able to do that.

“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is. On that LeBron James show last year, Brady said, ‘Ninety percent of what I say is not what I’m thinking. There’s a part of me that doesn’t like conflict, so in the end I always just try to play it super-flat.’ That has to end once he’s on TV if he wants to be any good.”

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Nick Wright Critical Of ABC Crew As Giannis Antetokounmpo Struggles In Game 7

“He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.”

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Giannis Antetokounmpo started hot in Game 7 on Sunday. By the time the game ended though, the Boston Celtics were on their way to Miami for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals and the defending champions were headed back to Milwaukee.

The Celtics’ defense gave the Milwaukee Bucks fits in the second half. The ABC broadcast put a special spotlight on Antetokounmpo, who got multiple drives to the basket that he could not finish.

“The best has got to show up when the best is needed, and Giannis has been disappointing,” said Mark Jackson over a package of highlights of Giannis missing shots. “As great of a player as he is, given credit to the Celtics’ defense, but he has struggled offensively time and time again.”

Nick Wright of FS1 noticed and he didn’t appreciate it. He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.

Mike Been, Mark Jackson, and Jeff Van Gundy were not particularly hard on Giannis. The trio made the typical comments we hear when things aren’t going a great player’s way.

Wright did not harp on the issue beyond the single tweet. The outcome was not in doubt as the clock winded down. He gave credit to the Celtics rather than tweet about the Bucks or Giannis.

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Stephanie McMahon: WWE Is A Better Advertising Investment Than Sports

“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys.”

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Everyone knows that professional wrestling is scripted. The storylines, the outcomes of matches, all of it is predetermined. But in the eyes of WWE, that’s what makes their product so different, and better than traditional sports.

WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon told Deadline that when it comes to pitching advertisers, sports entertainment allows room for a range of different approaches to make something work.

“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys,” she said. “We have a leg up on sports. … You may object to what we do, but you’re never going to be bored.”

McMahon added that WWE has a much easier process in dealing with sponsors. Everything is handled in-house.

“We own all of the IP,” she said. “When brands deal with us, they just deal with us. We create something together.”

WWE is coming off a positive Q1 earnings report, which had the company up 27% in total revenue. Its two weekly primetime shows, Monday Night RAW and Friday Night SmackDown, continue to do well in ratings, and all special and pay-per-view events, in addition to its streaming platform WWE Network, are all housed on Peacock.

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