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ESPN Considering Adding Michael Irvin To First Take

“Stephen A. Smith and Michael Irvin have a history of debating and entertaining an audience.”



The “Stephen A vs. the world” approach to First Take is one step closer to reality with the news that Max Kellerman is headed to ESPN Radio. While it sounds like ESPN is still committed to no permanent co-host, Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports that the network has discussed making Michael Irvin a part of the show.

It would obviously represent a return to Bristol for Irvin, who began his media career at ESPN and has been at the NFL Network since 2009. While no deal is finalized yet, McCarthy reports that the network would use the Hall of Fame wide receiver exclusively on First Take. ESPN is reportedly considering using Irving on the show on Mondays during the football season.

Could that leave the door open to Irvin working for both ESPN and the NFL Network? First Take is something that the NFL Network cannot offer him and by not appearing on Sunday NFL Countdown, Irvin would still be free to be a part of NFL Network’s game day programming. That being said, it should be noted that Irvin is in the final year of his current deal with the NFL Network.

Stephen A. Smith and Michael Irvin have a history of debating and entertaining an audience. Irvin routinely shows up when First Take travels to Dallas. The two have been in their share of shouting matches, including one in 2008 that Smith calls his most memorable moment on television. It has prompted Molly Qerim Rose to describe Irvin as Smith’s “biggest rival”. ESPN has even highlighted those arguments in the past.

Mike Fisher of Sports Illustrated asked Michael Irvin about the rumors on Tuesday night. It prompted a very funny exchange, which Fisher documented for the website.

“Fish,” he told me on Tuesday afternoon, “how many times in the last 32 years have I given you a ‘no comment”?

“Never,” I told him.

“Well,” Irving chortled, “you’re about to experience a first.”

Mike Fisher, “Michael Irvin + Stephen A. Smith: Can ESPN Make it Happen?”

McCarthy writes that ESPN is considering other in-house options to go head-to-head with Smith for the rest of the week. He cites sources saying that Marcus Spears, Keyshawn Johnson and Jay Williams have all been mentioned as potential parts of a rotation for First Take’s second chair.

Sports TV News

Warriors Fans Throw Objects At Charles Barkley On Inside the NBA Set

“Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.”



TNT/Larry Brown Sports

Charles Barkley is no stranger to being the object of fans’ ire. The cities of San Antonio and Cleveland have a history of being the butt of the Round Mound of Rebound’s jokes. Thursday night in San Francisco, fans of the Warriors took things to a different level, throwing objects at Barkley on the Inside the NBA set.

The TNT studio show was broadcasting live from outside the Chase Center. The crowd chanted “Chuck, you suck!” at Barkley before the game. After Golden State clinched a birth in the NBA Finals, things got physical.

Fans threw things at the set, including a rolled-up t-shirt, which hit Charles Barkley in the back of the head. That resulted in Barkley leaving his seat and bowing up to the audience.

“Come on Chuck!” Ernie Johnson pleaded as Kenny Smith repeatedly said “Sit down Chuck.”

Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.

Now that the Western Conference Finals are over, TNT’s NBA schedule has concluded. That doesn’t mean Charles Barkley won’t return to San Francisco for the NBA Finals, but it is highly unlikely given the reception he has received there.

Barkley spent most of the postseason telling Golden State fans they were annoying and need to shut up and saying the city of San Francisco has “dirty ass streets”.

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Sports TV News

Jon Miller To Call MLB Sunday Leadoff Game On Peacock

“According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict.”



Rich Eisen Show

Legendary play-by-play man Jon Miller will be returning to the national broadcast booth on Sunday. He will call the San Francisco Giants vs. Cincinnati Reds game for Peacock. He’ll be joined in the booth by Barry Larkin and Shawn Estes.

According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict. Benetti, the regular play-by-play voice of Peacock’s MLB Sunday Leadoff, is also the television voice of the Chicago White Sox. NBC Sports Chicago has prioritized this weekend’s series between the White Sox and Cubs, making Benetti unavailable to the national broadcast.

Miller has been calling Giants games since 1997 and previously shared the Sunday Night Baseball booth on ESPN with hall of famer Joe Morgan.

The broadcast, called MLB Sunday Leadoff, will begin at 11 a.m. with pregame coverage hosted by Ahmed Fareed. The game broadcast begins at 11:30 a.m.

The game will take place in an exclusive two-hour broadcast window prior to the start of the rest of the league’s day of games.

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Sports TV News

Amazon Eyeing Pat McAfee For Thursday Night Football Megacast

“No deal is done yet. A source tells McCarthy that it hinges on McAfee’s very busy schedule, but a Megacast is appealing to the former punter.’



First it was the Mannings. Now it’s McAfee. Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports that Pat McAfee could be at the center of an alternate broadcast of Thursday Night Football on Amazon in the 2022 season.

No deal is done yet. A source tells McCarthy that it hinges on McAfee’s very busy schedule, but a Megacast is appealing to the former punter.

Rumors of Amazon’s interest in McAfee began to bubble up last month. While he never directly addressed them, he did make mention on his show that he was “up to something” and insinuated that Amazon wasn’t the only company he was talking to.

McAfee has said on his show in the past that he wants to be part of an NFL broadcast. However, he is firm in that it would not be in the broadcast booth.

“I can’t call games. Not yet,” McAfee said on a show in February. “Have to be done with this show to call games. Because that’s like a 3-day, 4-day thing.” 

In addition to his daily show, McAfee is also committed to the WWE. He is on the road for Smackdown every Friday.

There is no word on exactly what a Pat McAfee-centered broadcast would look like. When reports first came out regarding discussions with McAfee, Ryan Glasspiegel of The New York Post reported that moving The Pat McAfee Show to Amazon was on the table. If that happens, it would make sense to use his entire crew on the Thursday Night Football presentation.

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