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Jimmie Johnson Joins NBC’s Indy 500 Booth

Johnson joins the NBC crew for his first in-person experience at the Indianapolis 500.

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The 105th Indianapolis 500 has a star-studded crew behind the mic for this year’s race on May 30. NBC Sports announced wall-to-wall coverage that includes Mike Tirico, former-INDYCAR driver Danica Patrick, and former-NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson as race day analyst.

Tirico and Patrick are handling their roles from the past two races, contributing to pre-race, in-race, and post-race studio coverage. Tirico handles assignments from the Olympics to Notre Dame football coverage as one of NBC’s most-used talents. Patrick still holds the title of the first woman to earn a top-five finish in the Indianapolis 500 in 2005.

“It continues to be an honor to be a part of the Indy 500 NBC Sports team for the third year in a row alongside Mike Tirico,” said Patrick. “I look forward to the experience more every year. In fact, it’s similar to the way it felt driving, as time passes, the gravity of the event becomes greater.”

Johnson raced in the INDYCAR circuit for the first time in his career this year at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. The seven-time NASCAR champion is manning the Peacock Pit Box on race day and qualifying weekend, working with Steve Letarte.

“To say I am excited for May in Indianapolis is an understatement,” said Jimmie Johnson. “This will be my first in-person Indianapolis 500 experience, and I absolutely cannot wait to take it all in. I’m really excited to be working alongside Mike Tirico, who is one of my favorite hosts, and sitting on the Peacock Pit Box with Steve Letarte will be so much fun, as we go way back.”

NBC Sports’ lead INDYCAR team of Leigh Diffey, Townsend Bell, and Paul Tracy is on the call. It’s the team’s third consecutive Indianapolis 500 together.

“We are thrilled to have Mike and Danica return as well as add Jimmie to our Indy 500 coverage this May,” said Sam Flood, Executive Producer, and President, Production, NBC Sports & NBCSN. “Danica’s and Jimmie’s racing insights, along with Mike anchoring our broadcast from historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will add another gear to Leigh, Townsend, Paul, and our pit reporters’ coverage of The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

Sports TV News

AEW Dynamite Moving To TBS

“Wrestling hasn’t been seen on TBS since the network cancelled WCW Thunder in March of 2001.”

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Hockey is coming to TNT. That means wrestling is moving to TBS. The network will be the new home of AEW: Dynamite starting in January.

AEW’s original TV show airs on Wednesdays. That will be the spotlight day of the TNT NHL package. The network will present hockey doubleheaders every Wednesday, leaving no room for wrestling.

TNT won’t be completely out of the AEW business. In a press release, WarnerMedia announced that Friday will still see AEW: Rampage airing on the network. The press release pointed out that Rampage has gotten off to a very hot start for TNT.

“Since its August 13 debut, AEW: Rampage has ranked as one of the top cable programs on Friday night. The second week of the show featuring the debut of CM Punk delivered the strongest ratings for the AEW franchise since the premiere of AEW: Dynamite.”

Wrestling hasn’t been seen on TBS since the network cancelled WCW Thunder in March of 2001. That changes on January 5.

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Sports TV News

Louis Riddick Explains How MNF Production Meetings Work

“Riddick expounded more on the production meetings with coaches, including one with a particular Bay Area play-caller.”

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Courtesy: ESPN Images

The Monday Night Football campaign is in full swing, and The Athletic’s Robert Mays had MNF analyst Louis Riddick on The Athletic Football Show to discuss his weekly routine for putting on a top-notch broadcast.

Riddick dove into the process each week and discussed which coach has impressed him the most during his time in the booth. Tuesdays are a rest and recovery day after traveling home — then the process starts on Wednesday.

“We kinda have a, from a booth perspective, between Steve Levy, Brian Griese, myself, and then Phil Dean the producer and Jimmy Platt, the director. Us five get together and just discuss the previous week’s game and whatever we want to bring up that is positive or negative,” Riddick described to Mays on the show.

The brain trust discusses play breakdowns, production, and situations that popped up during the game. Next up is choosing the important voices for the next game that they want to speak to.

“We give Phil the list of coaches and players that we think are important to talk to,” Riddick said. “He sends that into that team’s PR department, and then usually they say yay or no. Most teams are very, very good with giving us the players that we want because it’s better for them. They know the more we highlight them, the better it is for them.”

Riddick expounded more on the production meetings with coaches, including one with a particular Bay Area play-caller.

“I would say our meeting with [San Francisco 49ers head coach] Kyle Shanahan,” Riddick answered. “Before we did the Bills game down in Arizona because they had to move from Santa Clara because of what was happening was some of the best football conversations I’ve ever had in my life, quite honestly. From team building, coach-player relationships, X’s and O’s, the opponent, what he learned from his father, what he feels specifically that running backs need to have and why… It was fricken incredible, incredible.”

Riddick can be seen on Monday Night Football breaking down all the action throughout the 2021 NFL season. Listen to the full episode here.

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Sports TV News

Women in Sports Media Celebrate Kate Scott Joining 76ers

“The west coast native is heading east to continue pursuing her dreams, and she received a ton of support from the women throughout sports media this week.”

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Courtesy: NBC Sports Philadelphia

Kate Scott is breaking new ground, and the sports broadcasting community took notice.

Scott joined Lisa Byington as the only full-time female voices of NBA franchises when the Philadelphia 76ers announced her addition this week. She replaces longtime TV play-by-play voice Marc Zumoff.

“Being the voice of the 76ers is a dream come true,” Scott said to NBC Sports Philadelphia. “As a kid playing hoops alone in my driveway, I actually used to imagine I was Allen Iverson; the clock would wind down in my head, people would scream, ‘You’re too small! You don’t belong!’ But I’d fade away, hit the shot, and the crowd in my mind would go wild.

“To now get the opportunity to be the voice of that team is incredible, and I look forward to earning the respect and trust of the phenomenal city of Philadelphia, and 76ers fans everywhere, one call and one game at a time.”

Scott seemingly busts down barriers every year. She recently became the first woman to call Olympic men’s basketball as part of NBC Sports’ coverage of Tokyo 2020, where she covered both men’s and women’s games.

“Kate’s energy, passion, and tremendous knowledge of the game of basketball made her the ideal candidate to usher in a new era of 76ers basketball on NBC Sports Philadelphia,” Philadelphia 76ers President of Business Operations Chris Heck said. “We’re thrilled that she’ll call our city home and look forward to the lasting connections and memories she’ll make with the best fans in sports. Kate and Alaa [Abdelnaby] are a dynamic broadcast pairing that 76ers fans will enjoy watching on the call this season and beyond.”

The west coast native is heading east to continue pursuing her dreams, and she received a ton of support from women throughout sports media this week.

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