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Matthew Berry Doesn’t Want Credit For Loki TV Show

Berry made a cameo appearance in “Avengers: Endgame.”

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Marvel Studios

Matthew Berry: fantasy football and Marvel power broker?

It seems that way after Berry played a (small) hand in the new Disney+ series “Loki,” which premiers today on the platform. Berry spoke with ESPN Front Row about his famous cameo in “Avengers: Endgame,” and how it tied into the series. 

Berry had a cameo as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. His character lets Loki get away in the movie, which ultimately allows the god of mischief to be involved in the new TV show.

“In fairness, I really think they should thank the Hulk,” Berry said when asked if he caused the show to happen. “If it wasn’t for his door slam, Tony [Stark, aka IronMan] doesn’t lose the case with the Tesseract, and then Loki can escape. But, I will say this: The clearance department from Marvel did have to reach out to get my approval to use my scene in Avengers for the “Loki” series. And, as you note, that scene is the premise for the start of the entire series. So if I didn’t sign, they can’t use the scene, and if they can’t use the scene, there’s no series, so in a way, yes, I am completely to thank for the “Loki” series.”

The fantasy football guru is most well known for his “Love/Hate” column posted weekly throughout each fall, but he got his start in media as a television and film writer. Berry has credits on projects ranging from “Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles” to the final season of “Married With Children.” Berry is excited about the next phase of Marvel action and hoping he can make another surprise appearance.

“On Disney+, Ms. Marvel and the Secret Invasion/Nick Fury series are at the top of my list. Of course, I hope that eventually, Disney+ runs out of ideas, and they decide to focus on a series about a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who may or may not have been Hydra.”

Sports TV News

‘The Tournament: A History of ACC Men’s Basketball’ Premieres Feb. 7 on ACC Network

Two episodes of the 10-part documentarry will air each Monday at 9 and 10 p.m. ET through March 7.

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ACC Network

ACC Network and ESPN Films are teaming up to produce a multi-part documentary on the history of the ACC Tournament.

The Tournament: A History of ACC Men’s Basketball Presented by New York Life will debut Monday, Feb. 7 at 9 p.m. ET following ACCN’s telecast of the Pitt-West Virginia game. Part 2 of the documentary will premiere directly afterward at 10 p.m. ET.

Two episodes of The Tournament will air each Monday at 9 and 10 p.m. ET through March 7. The 10-part documentary, spanning 1954 through 2020, will be the largest production of original programming for ACC Network since its launch in August 2019.

Here’s a look at the trailer for the docuseries:

For anyone wondering if the ACC Tournament warrants a multi-part documentary, consider the history and impact of the event. Beginning in 1954, the ACC was the first conference to determine its champion with a postseason tournament. And this was during an era when conferences received only one bid to the NCAA Tournament.

But the ACC Tournament also features the rich history of the conference with its many star players and iconic coaches. Michael Jordan, Ralph Sampson, David Thompson, Len Bias, and Tim Duncan are among the many to shine in the tourney. Of course, Dean Smith, MIke Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, and Jim Valvano headline the coaches who built their legends in those games. In addition, ACC play changed college basketball with innovations like the shot clock and three-point line.

The Tournament will also feature an ad campaign starring Grammy Award-winning rapper Rapsody leading viewers through ACC basketball history, the figures who made it, and the stories that will be told in each pair of episodes.

Filmmaker Jonathan Hock (who’s directed several 30 for 30 projects for ESPN Films among many documentary projects) and John Dahl (ESPN’s vice president and executive producer for original content, films, and special projects) are executive producers on the project. Emmy Award-winning director Larry Weitzman (NBA at 50, The Last Gladiators) helmed the longform series.

“After having the opportunity to work on the 30 for 30 Survive and Advance and later The Class That Saved Coach K, I was already a true believer in ACC basketball as the essence of the college game,” said Hock in the official ACCN announcement.

“But telling the story of the ACC Tournament from its very beginning was a journey of discovery for me and the whole production team, with every unopened film can revealing another treasure, and every interview bringing to life priceless stories. There’s no greater conference tournament in sports, and it’s all in here.”

“All we had to do was sit down with the wonderful characters who have created ACC lore, and the stories and the passion just poured out,” added Weitzman. “The challenge wasn’t finding enough fascinating material. The struggle was which amazing stories we would have to leave out.”

You can read a synopsis of each episode of The Tournament: A History of ACC Men’s Basketball at ESPN Press Room. The documentary premieres Feb. 7 at 9 p.m. ET.

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Sports TV News

Bally Sports Launches Daily Sports Betting Show, ‘Live on the Line, Powered by BetMGM’

This marks a significant step for the company as we combine resources across our sports portfolio to launch our first RSN-wide sports betting program.”

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Bally Sports is jumping into daily sports betting content for viewers. (That probably shouldn’t be a surprise since Bally itself is a casino entertainment company with interests in sports and iGaming.)

On Thursday, the network announced a partnership with BetMGM to produce a daily sports betting show titled Live on the Line, Powered by BetMGM. Debuting this week, the program airs at 12 p.m. ET across the 19 Bally Sports regional sports networks, the Bally Sports app, and Stadium sports network.

Each day, the 60-minute show will cover national sports betting storylines and their regional appeal, while also offering expert picks on the day’s games and events.

Former Yahoo fantasy sports writer Brad Evans, now Bally Sports executive producer of gaming content hosts the show with Dani Klupenger and Camron Smith. Klupenger hosted More Ways to Win for FanDuel and has covered football, basketball, and tennis as a host and reporter. Smith also hosts Inside the Association on Stadium with prior stints at Big Ten Network, Comcast Sports, and MSG.

Live on the Line, Powered by BetMGM will be produced by Stadium (owned by Sinclair, as with the Bally Sports RSNs) out of the network’s Chicago-based studio. BetMGM graphics will be featured prominently on the set and interactive elements of each show.

“This marks a significant step for the company as we combine resources across our sports portfolio to launch our first RSN-wide sports betting program,” said president of Bally Sports Steve Rosenberg.

“Our collaboration with BetMGM further builds upon our programming strategy to offer fans new, informative and entertaining content that aims to drive increased interest around our live game broadcasts.”

Live on the Line, Powered by BetMGM airs at 12 p.m. ET across the 19 Bally Sports regional sports networks, the Bally Sports app, and Stadium.

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Sports TV News

Andrew Marchand: Netflix’s Struggles Make ESPN More Valuable To Disney

“It does sound good to just throw $30 billion into shows and then you own that. But there’s no guarantee with that.”

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Streaming services like Disney+ and Netflix did very well during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when many were confined to their homes. But that rise in 2020 gave way to a fall in growth for both services based on recent fourth quarter earnings reports by both companies.

Part of what has been cited as a reason to the slowdown in growth and shortfall in revenue for Netflix has been the lack of new original programming. Despite the widespread success of the series Squid Game, the streaming service increased prices as it couldn’t replicate that following with other movies and series.

Netflix also has a limited offering of sports programming, though the Drive to Survive series has resonated well with Formula 1 fans and has made way for a DTS-like series to be developed for Netflix featuring the PGA Tour.

On the latest edition of the Marchand and Ourand Sports Podcast, New York Post sports columnist Andrew Marchand said Netflix finding itself in a bit of a tailspin will have executives and shareholders at Disney thinking differently about ESPN and its streaming service ESPN+.

“Maybe the people thinking, ‘Hey, let’s just spend $30 billion and instead of on sports programming, let’s just try to make the next Ted Lasso or whatever,’ I do think it’s a little forward,” he said. “It does sound good to just throw $30 billion into shows and then you own that. But there’s no guarantee with that.”

There have been rumors swirling that Apple is planning to open its checkbook and bid on live sports to add to its streaming service Apple TV. Ted Lasso, which has become one of the top shows offered on the platform, didn’t become as popular as it is overnight.

But what ESPN and ESPN+ seem to have done right is offering plenty of original programming on top of the live sports offerings. And that’s something Marchand believes is a difference-maker.

“I don’t think anybody thought Ted Lasso would be what it is,” he said. “So I just think when you look at it, I think that might’ve helped ESPN in terms of how it’s looked at in the castle that is Disney.”

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