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ESPN To End High Noon At End Of March

“Replacing High Noon on ESPN weekdays from 4 – 4:30pm ET will be Jalen & Jacoby which moves over from ESPN2. A plan for filling the 2pm void left by Jalen & Jacoby on ESPN 2 was not announced.”

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ESPN is making changes to their daytime lineup as the Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reports High Noon with Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre is being canceled.

According to Ourand, the final episode of High Noon will air sometime at the end of March, falling short of its two-year anniversary. The show originally launched with its full name High Noon (9am Pacific) as a one-hour daily show in Jun. 2018. But just three months later, ESPN canceled SportsNation and replaced it with High Noon. Since Sept. 2018, High Noon has aired as a half-hour show at 4pm ET on ESPN. 

Replacing High Noon on ESPN weekdays from 4 – 4:30pm ET will be Jalen & Jacoby which moves over from ESPN2. A plan for filling the 2pm void left by Jalen & Jacoby on ESPN 2 was not announced.

Last November, The Washington Post reported ESPN was running focus groups on High Noon to help decide its future. It would seem those tests didn’t signal enough interest to keep the show going. “Co-hosts Pablo Torre and Bomani Jones are extremely talented, and they helmed what we believed was a smart and nuanced show. Unfortunately, not enough people agreed with us,” ESPN said in an emailed statement to Ourand. 

According to Ourand, ESPN cited poor viewership as the reason the show will be canceled. So for High Noon was averaging 330,000 viewers in the first quarter, which is lower than other ESPN debate shows, but not by much. Dan Le Batard’s Highly Questionable has averaged 404,000 viewers, while Mike Greenberg’s Get Up! Is averaging 380,000.

The High Noon hosts will continue appearing on ESPN for now, with Jones also recording his twice weekly podcast, but questions remain about their futures with the network. The contracts for both Jones and Torre are set to expire next month. 

“We look forward to discussing with them how to best utilize their talents across a variety of ESPN platforms,” ESPN added in their emailed statement to Ourand, which at least publicly signals an interest in continuing their relationship with Jones and Torre. 

The idea for High Noon with Jones and Torre was created under former ESPN president John Skipper, who now runs DAZN. With Bomani having two master’s degrees in economics and Torre being a Harvard graduate, High Noon looked to set itself apart with intellect. But as Jones and Torre near free agency and High Noon gets cut from ESPN, Skipper’s DAZN is reportedly interested in producing more debate style shows, having been mentioned as a possible landing spot for Skip Bayless if he leaves FS1.

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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Sports TV News

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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