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ESPN Pulls The Plug on Grantland

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The network said the site was “suspended” effective immediately, and a senior ESPN source confirmed that there are no plans to bring it back.

“After careful consideration, we have decided to direct our time and energy going forward to projects that we believe will have a broader and more significant impact across our enterprise,” ESPN said in a statement Friday afternoon.

The surprising announcement came five months after ESPN split up with Grantland’s founding editor Bill Simmons. There has been an exodus of talent from the site since then.

About 40 writers, producers and editors will be affected by the decision. Writers who have contracts will be honored. Some will continue to write for ESPN’s website and produce videos for the ESPN Films unit.

But an unknown number of others will be leaving. Some of the site’s most distinctive work, like its television show recaps and features about movies, will be going away.

“We’re getting out of the pop culture business,” the senior ESPN source said.

ESPN executives are meeting with the affected staffers on Friday afternoon. Michael Baumann, a freelancer, complained that he found out about the closure through Twitter, not from the company directly.

There was such an outpouring of affection for the site that “Grantland” was a top trending topic on Twitter within half an hour of the announcement.

“I loved Grantland more than I’ve ever loved anything on the Internet,” wrote alum Kevin Lincoln, now an editor for New York magazine.

ESPN’s statement praised Grantland for having “quality writing, smart ideas, original thinking and fun” and singled out Simmons for being “an outstanding editor with a real eye for talent.”

Simmons’ replacement, Chris Connelly, will “return to his prior role” at “SportsCenter” and the newsmagazine “E:60,” the statement said.

An ESPN spokeswoman said the company remains “totally committed” to two of its other digital offshoots, FiveThirtyEight and The Undefeated. Those two were modeled after Grantland.

Half an hour after the announcement, Simmons tweeted his reaction to the news: “Watching good/kind/talented people get treated so callously = simply appalling.”

In retrospect, the shuttering of Grantland may have started many months ago. Simmons’ divorce with ESPN came after he frequently clashed with the channel’s higher-ups.

He was hit with a well-publicized suspension last year after he practically dared his bosses to discipline him for his public criticism of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

In May, Simmons found out via a story in The New York Times that his contract was not being renewed. Since then, he has continued to criticize ESPN in public appearances and on his podcast. He recently commented that the network “is in the bag for the NFL.”

In the first half of 2016 Simmons will start hosting a weekly series for HBO.

Credit to CNN who originally published this article

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Warriors Fans Throw Objects At Charles Barkley On Inside the NBA Set

“Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.”

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TNT/Larry Brown Sports

Charles Barkley is no stranger to being the object of fans’ ire. The cities of San Antonio and Cleveland have a history of being the butt of the Round Mound of Rebound’s jokes. Thursday night in San Francisco, fans of the Warriors took things to a different level, throwing objects at Barkley on the Inside the NBA set.

The TNT studio show was broadcasting live from outside the Chase Center. The crowd chanted “Chuck, you suck!” at Barkley before the game. After Golden State clinched a birth in the NBA Finals, things got physical.

Fans threw things at the set, including a rolled-up t-shirt, which hit Charles Barkley in the back of the head. That resulted in Barkley leaving his seat and bowing up to the audience.

“Come on Chuck!” Ernie Johnson pleaded as Kenny Smith repeatedly said “Sit down Chuck.”

Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.

Now that the Western Conference Finals are over, TNT’s NBA schedule has concluded. That doesn’t mean Charles Barkley won’t return to San Francisco for the NBA Finals, but it is highly unlikely given the reception he has received there.

Barkley spent most of the postseason telling Golden State fans they were annoying and need to shut up and saying the city of San Francisco has “dirty ass streets”.

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Jon Miller To Call MLB Sunday Leadoff Game On Peacock

“According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict.”

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Rich Eisen Show

Legendary play-by-play man Jon Miller will be returning to the national broadcast booth on Sunday. He will call the San Francisco Giants vs. Cincinnati Reds game for Peacock. He’ll be joined in the booth by Barry Larkin and Shawn Estes.

According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict. Benetti, the regular play-by-play voice of Peacock’s MLB Sunday Leadoff, is also the television voice of the Chicago White Sox. NBC Sports Chicago has prioritized this weekend’s series between the White Sox and Cubs, making Benetti unavailable to the national broadcast.

Miller has been calling Giants games since 1997 and previously shared the Sunday Night Baseball booth on ESPN with hall of famer Joe Morgan.

The broadcast, called MLB Sunday Leadoff, will begin at 11 a.m. with pregame coverage hosted by Ahmed Fareed. The game broadcast begins at 11:30 a.m.

The game will take place in an exclusive two-hour broadcast window prior to the start of the rest of the league’s day of games.

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Amazon Eyeing Pat McAfee For Thursday Night Football Megacast

“No deal is done yet. A source tells McCarthy that it hinges on McAfee’s very busy schedule, but a Megacast is appealing to the former punter.’

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First it was the Mannings. Now it’s McAfee. Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports that Pat McAfee could be at the center of an alternate broadcast of Thursday Night Football on Amazon in the 2022 season.

No deal is done yet. A source tells McCarthy that it hinges on McAfee’s very busy schedule, but a Megacast is appealing to the former punter.

Rumors of Amazon’s interest in McAfee began to bubble up last month. While he never directly addressed them, he did make mention on his show that he was “up to something” and insinuated that Amazon wasn’t the only company he was talking to.

McAfee has said on his show in the past that he wants to be part of an NFL broadcast. However, he is firm in that it would not be in the broadcast booth.

“I can’t call games. Not yet,” McAfee said on a show in February. “Have to be done with this show to call games. Because that’s like a 3-day, 4-day thing.” 

In addition to his daily show, McAfee is also committed to the WWE. He is on the road for Smackdown every Friday.

There is no word on exactly what a Pat McAfee-centered broadcast would look like. When reports first came out regarding discussions with McAfee, Ryan Glasspiegel of The New York Post reported that moving The Pat McAfee Show to Amazon was on the table. If that happens, it would make sense to use his entire crew on the Thursday Night Football presentation.

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