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Beadle Not Likely To Be Reassigned By ESPN

“Rachel Nichols will take over for Beadle on Countdown, with Maria Taylor filling in when she can.”

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Last week news broke that Michelle Beadle would not be returning to ESPN’s NBA Countdown this year, adding another chapter to an already complicated relationship between the network and its one-time star.

Rachel Nichols will take over for Beadle on Countdown, with Maria Taylor filling in when she can.

At the start of the decade, Beadle was one of the rising stars of the industry.  The San Antonio native came up through the ranks via the YES Network covering the Nets before showcasing her personality on the Michael Kay Show for ESPN New York.  She emerged on the national scene when she teamed up with Colin Cowherd on SportsNation in 2009, a pivotal program for ESPN at the time due to it’s embrace of social media interaction and trending viral videos – sports related or otherwise. 

In 2012, Beadle left ESPN to work for NBC covering sports and appearing regularly on Access Hollywood.  It was a marriage that didn’t last long.  
Less than two years after her departure, John Skipper welcomed Beadle back to ESPN with a contract worth $5 million annually.

From here, as outlined in a recent New York Post article by Andrew Marchand, things get interesting.  It’s not clear how both sides landed on the $5 million number, as Beadle was just let out of her NBC contract and it didn’t seem like any other outlets were bidding on her services.  Either way, it appeared Beadle was a favorite of Skipper and she had a home with the company as long as he was in charge.  Beadle went back to SportsNation duties, helped out with NBA studio coverage and eventually launched Beadlemania – a podcast under the Grantland umbrella.  

Beadle’s role with ESPN became increasingly ambiguous as soon as Skipper resigned in 2017.  She was lured to New York to help launch Get Up! in early 2018 but was moved off the show relatively quickly after saying on air that she was no longer going to watch NFL games.  She’s been a mainstay on NBA Countdown since 2016, and now with that show in her rear view mirror, it’s not likely Beadle will find another landing spot with ESPN, a company that still owes her $5 million for the next 1-2 years.

Marchand goes on to speculate Jimmy Pitaro made the move as part of his larger vision for ESPN; to get the network back to 24/7 news and information with less “Skipper All-Stars” driving content themselves.

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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