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SVP Discusses New SportsCenter

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Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick made hosting SportsCenter an art. Craig Kilborn used the gig as a stepping stone to late-night fame. And a multitude of other slick and quippy hosts have contributed to the sports vernacular over the years while describing home runs and slam dunks. But none of them were formally handed their very ownSportsCenter and instructed to have fun. Until now.

On Labor Day, the day before Stephen Colbert steps behind the Late Show desk, Scott Van Pelt gets the keys to a new midnight edition of SportsCenter as the network tries to make the special showcase a destination for sports-crazed viewers who’ve just finished watching the night’s big games. The 49-year-old Van Pelt has been with the network since 2001, anchoring SportsCenter and providing expertise in a wide array of sports coverage, especially golf. But while some of his ESPN peers have aggressively pursued the fame — or notoriety — that comes with clever catchphrases, hyperbole, and convenient contrarianism (read: trolling), Van Pelt has been a reliably thoughtful and reasonable figure on television and the radio, where he filled three hours of airtime every day with Ryen Russillo until recently. In that regard, Van Pelt might be the perfect guy for ESPN to entrust with bending the format of the show without breaking it.

The midnight show will have a slightly different look and feel, with Timbaland producing a special version of the SportsCenter theme to announce to viewers that Van Pelt’s isn’t the 11 p.m. or 1 a.m. edition of the sports-highlight show. Van Pelt spoke with EW about his new job and his mixed feelings about leaving radio. But before long, the conversation veered off topic and just became two guys talking about their favorite teams and their shared loathing of Jeffrey Maier, the New York fan who helped the Yankees beat the Orioles in 1996 when he interfered with a Derek Jeter fly ball that was subsequently ruled a home run.

“That’s as mad as I’ve ever been in my life at the outcome of a sporting event,” Van Pelt says. “I think I set a record for the most times the f-bomb was used in a newsroom setting. He later worked at ESPN! I think he had some internship. I remember saying after, and I wasn’t even kidding, I’m like, ‘It’s a good thing I didn’t run into that kid because I would’ve assaulted him.’ Good god. Sports in a nutshell. Here we are yelling at each other over this thing that happened 100 years ago. We’re all older than we used to be, but there’s just something about it. Things linger with you… the games are still interesting and they’re endlessly worth discussing and remembering. That’s the reason why we get to do a show at midnight.”

Van Pelt’s midnight SportsCenter just might be a conversation worth having.

To read the rest of the article, including the Q&A with VP, visit Entertainment Weekly where it was originally published

Sports TV News

Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”

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The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.

Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”

Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.

“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.

FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.

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NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC

“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”

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ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.

ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.

This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.

Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.

“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”

ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.

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