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TNT Adds Don Koharski As NHL Rules Analyst

“Having a rules expert ready to break down the minutiae of the game figures to be a big boost for games on TNT.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

Fox has Mike Pereira and Dean Blandino, ESPN has John Parry, now, Turner is adding its own rules expert for its upcoming NHL coverage.

The network is bringing in Don Koharski to help analyze the game from a referee’s perspective starting with their first preseason broadcast on Sept. 30.

Koharski boasts three decades of NHL refereeing experience from 1977 to 2009. His resumé includes 1,882 regular-season games, 262 playoff games, and 11 Stanley Cup Finals. An intriguing move by Turner to nail down a rules and refereeing expert before the start of their NHL coverage.

The league and its new broadcast partners, ESPN and Turner, want to retain all of the hockey die-hards as they transition from NBC Sports, while also bringing new fans in along the way. Having a rules expert ready to break down the minutiae of the game figures to be a big boost for games on TNT.

Koharski discussed his career following his retirement from the game in 2009 and had glowing thoughts to unveil about one of his new Turner teammates.

“Guys [like Wayne Gretzky] in the ’80s were getting hooked, held, grabbed, tackled, and were still able to do what they did so well,” Koharski said to Metro. “Nowadays, there is no more tackling or hooking or holding. It’s dramatically different.”

Gretzky signed a deal with Turner to be an NHL studio analyst. He joins Liam McHugh, 10-year NHL veteran Anson Carter, three-time Stanley Cup Champion Rick Tocchet, plus, Barstool Sports’ personality and former AHL & NHL veteran Paul Bissonnette.

“Wayne Gretzky was a freak in our sport,” Koharski said. “Everybody else was a superstar.”

Koharski got started in hockey refereeing as a hobby in the 1970s at Shannon Park Arena in Halifax, Nova Scotia. That spark of interest has led him on quite a journey in the 40 years since.

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Sports TV News

Chris Fallica Leaving ESPN for FOX

Neither FOX or ESPN would comment on the situation, but in the Awful Announcing report it’s believed that there will be a send-off of some sort for Fallica on Saturday.

Jordan Bondurant

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A prominent sports betting voice featured on ESPN’s College GameDay will be heading to rival FOX and their Big Noon Kickoff show starting in 2023. According to Awful Announcing, Chris Fallica, affectionately known as “The Bear”, will make his last appearance on GameDay will be this weekend.

Fallica has been with ESPN since 1995. Since 2013, Fallica had been featured on GameDay making betting picks with his patented “Bear’s Board”.

Neither FOX or ESPN would comment on the situation, but in the Awful Announcing report it’s believed that there will be a send-off of some sort for Fallica on Saturday.

Fallica joins Tom Rinaldi as the second former GameDay voice to jump over to FOX and be featured on Big Noon Kickoff.

Both shows have experienced incredible viewership growth this season. For GameDay, there have been several weeks this season that have seen some of the largest audiences in the show’s history.

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Sports TV News

Tim Brando Believes Executives Look For Familiarity, Not Great Voices For Announcers

“Executives are going more for people they think they audience knows from having been in the studio. As opposed to man that’s a great voice, that guy really gets it, and his judgement is fantastic.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Tim Brando has seen the broadcasting industry has evolved in a lot of ways through the years, but one thing that’s remained constant is how infrequently some of the announcing gigs with major networks open up to younger voices.

That’s mainly because you have veteran talent already occupying those positions with no plans for the immediate future to step aside.

On a recent edition of The Sports Talkers Podcast, FOX Sports broadcaster and host Tim Brando spoke to Stephen Strom about the reality that many broadcasters face.

“Yeah there are a lot more jobs, but there are fewer great jobs,” Brando said. “A lot of guys are getting jobs, but it’s like a dead end.”

But in terms of hiring younger talent for network jobs, he thinks it’s become more about adding faces to broadcast booths rather than voices.

“There’s a tendency I think now in our business to hire more visible and perhaps more popular talent because they’ve been in the studio,” he said. “But they’re not ready to be in the booth. Not everybody can do both well.”

Tim added that there’s a nuance to calling play-by-play versus working studio coverage. Brando said that perhaps it has a lot more to do with young broadcasters bypassing getting their start in radio and going right into TV.

“It seems to me that in some circles anyway in our business, executives are going more for people they think they audience knows from having been in the studio,” he said. “As opposed to man that’s a great voice, that guy really gets it, and his judgement is fantastic.”

Brando did mention some of the younger voices at FOX who have risen to the bigger opportunities in the booth, and how they ultimately worked their way up. He said he’s had the chance to offer advice to a few of them and act as a mentor in a way, because that’s how it was for him breaking into the industry.

“I believe in pouring into the young broadcasters out there, I really do,” he said. “Because Curt Gowdy poured into me. I think there’s a responsibility and a level of accountability for the generation before to help those that are coming up that you really respect.”

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Sports TV News

MLB Network Airing 38 Hours of Winter Meetings Coverage

Coverage will begin on Sunday at 7 p.m. with MLB Tonight leading into the announcement of the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee’s election results for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Jordan Bondurant

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The annual winter meetings for MLB are set to take place in-person for the first time since 2019 next week, and MLB Network is ready to bring viewers all the coverage possible from San Diego.

The network is devoting 38 hours of live programming on-site, with shows like MLB Tonight, Hot Stove, High Heat, MLB Now and Intentional Talk emanating from the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel.

Coverage will begin on Sunday at 7 p.m. with MLB Tonight leading into the announcement of the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee’s election results for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Fans tuning in to MLB Network can expect to see Greg Amsinger, Fran Charles, Brian Kenny, Stephen Nelson, Alanna Rizzo, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, Lauren Shehadi and Matt Vasgersian hosting their respective shows throughout the week. Sean Casey, Mark DeRosa, Al Leiter, Cameron Maybin, Kevin Millar, Dan O’Dowd, Steve Phillips and Harold Reynolds will contribute coverage as analysts.

MLB Network will also carry coverage of the inaugural draft lottery from the winter meetings on Tuesday, December 6 at 8:30 p.m.

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