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Amazon Next To Pursue Peyton Manning

Sources tell The New York Post that Amazon will pursue Peyton Manning to be part of its upcoming Thursday Night Football booth.

MIchael Quirk

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AP Photo/David J Phillips

While Tom Brady is the most accomplished quarterback in NFL history, Peyton Manning may be one of the most beloved. Whether it was his mastery of the line of scrimmage, his hosting prowess on Saturday Night Live, or his undertaking of going from middle-child to most-famous-child, America can never seem to get enough of Manning. The same goes for TV executives as Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reported Amazon will pursue the retired signal caller for its Thursday Night Football booth.

Amazon will take over the coverage of the penultimate night of the work week’s live football coverage from FOX in 2022. While it is not certain which of the major networks will pair with the streaming giant, Marchand implicated NBC as the favorite. That would mean a lead of Al Michaels and then potentially Mike Tirico, with a vacant seat that could be filled by Manning.

A sports TV executive described Peyton Manning to Marchand as the “white whale” of sports analysts. History seems to corroborate that description. In recent years ESPN has twice been unsuccessful in trying to get Manning to be a part of its Monday Night Football booth. NBC and CBS have both reportedly reached out to Manning as well.

Since retiring after the 2015 season, Manning has been active in broadcast whether it’s Peyton’s Places on ESPN+ or his founding of Omaha Productions. What is missing from that slate is obviously a spot on TV calling games. We have seen Jason Witten go straight to the booth, something Drew Brees will be doing this fall, as well. Manning would hope to at the least replicate the success of Tony Romo, who is a social media favorite and the recent recipient of a 10-year $180 million contract.

It remains to be seen if Manning will be interested in the overture, and what it would take to get his name on the dotted line. One thing is for sure: Amazon better bring a harpoon.

Sports TV News

FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage

“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”

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The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.

Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.

“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.

Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.

How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.

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Sports TV News

NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake

“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”

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The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.

“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”

Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.

Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.

Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”

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Sports TV News

Greg Olsen Believes He and Kevin Burkhardt Can Handle Games ‘On Any Stage’

“Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

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Greg Olsen

Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen are on tap to call Super Bowl LVII in February, and Olsen told Front Office Sports he has the confidence to announce the game with no hesitations.

“If you’re asking me, I think Kevin and I have shown that we can handle a game on any stage – on any day. We just did it on Thanksgiving. We’ll do it again around Christmas. And obviously throughout the [NFL] Playoffs,” said Olsen. “So whatever decision they make. Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

“But as of now, I anticipate Kevin and I, the two of us, with Erin and Tom down on the sidelines, the four of us, broadcasting the Super Bowl in February in Arizona. Until I’m told otherwise, that’s how we’re proceeding.”

Olsen also told FOS he has negotiated a new contract with FOX Sports, but declined to share details. He is slated to be replaced on the top broadcast crew once Tom Brady ends his playing career. Brady will then begin a 10-year, $375 million contract to serve as the network’s top NFL game analyst and brand ambassador.

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