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Is ‘Garbage Time’ The Future of Sports Television?

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There’s no sphere of television more depressingly homogenous than sports broadcasting, not only in demographics, but also in formatting. Ninety percent of the content on channels like ESPN involves ex-athletes and talk-radio hosts batting around scripted talking points, and the lack of new voices is one reason there’s so little real discourse about controversial issues in sports. But since it debuted in March, Fox Sports 1’s Garbage Time With Katie Nolan has broken that pattern. Nolan’s freewheeling talk show, airing every Wednesday at midnight, stands out as much for its humor as it does for its willingness to tackle tough topics such as domestic violence and mental illness.

The 28-year-old Nolan is still in the “up-and-coming” bracket: Fox Sports 1 remains a junior competitor to the ESPN behemoth and Garbage Time is nestled deep in its schedule. After starting a sports blog while bartending in Boston, Nolan began hosting and producing shows on YouTube for Fox Sports. She graduated to “digital correspondent” for the network in 2013 before getting her own show this year. Garbage Time is a distillation of Nolan’s witty, sometimes sarcastic, always hyper-knowledgeable sportscaster persona: a kinetic mix of commentary, scripted comedy, and interviews peppered by off-screen laughs and jeers from her production crew. In the way it seamlessly and energetically switches from funny to serious, it feels more like E!’s long-running hit The Soup crossed with The Daily Show than typical sports commentary.

Mostly, Garbage Time has a looser feel, and is happy to indulge silly comedy bits as often as in-depth reporting. Its time slot works as a fun perch from which to razz the rest of sports media. After Bill Simmons’s much publicized departure from ESPN, Nolan had him briefly “take over” her show for a hastily staged bit that was as funny as it was amateurish. (Simmons has long touted Nolan as a rising star in sports media and reportedly tried to poach her for ESPN while he was there.) When Deadspin’s Greg Howard published a searing take-down of Jason Whitlock’s disastrous tenure at the ESPN site The Undefeated, Nolan had the writer on to talk about his reporting process, something that couldn’t have happened on ESPN (Fox Sports 1 now, ironically, employs Whitlock and Colin Cowherd, another ESPN cast-off Nolan has been happy to mock).

For now, Garbage Time is a lovable underdog, and Nolan is the ideal host, but she’s definitely on the rise: She just launched a popular new podcast and currently boasts 158,000 followers on Twitter. Sports broadcasting often softens the edge of its renegades, especially those climbing into higher positions—Simmons, for example, never seemed comfortable hosting NBA broadcasts for ESPN, and remains at his best when hosting a podcast. Nolan may have to strike a tougher balance in the future, but for now Garbage Time should be celebrated as the much needed rebel in the otherwise uniform world of sports TV.

Read more at The Atlantic where this story was originally published

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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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