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ESPN E60 Special, ‘Whitney’s Anthem,’ Remembers Iconic Super Bowl National Anthem

Houston’s rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” took place shortly after the United States launched Operation Desert Storm.

Jordan Bondurant

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It’s hard to believe, but singer Whitney Houston passed away a decade ago. And as the Super Bowl approaches at the end of the week, Houston’s performance of the National Anthem at Super Bowl XXV (finishing the 1990 NFL season) is regarded as one of the most iconic ever.

On Feb. 11, the 10-year anniversary of Houston’s death, ESPN plans to revisit the performance with a special E60 titled Whitney’s Anthem and take a deeper look at why that moment is still so iconic to this day.

ESPN released a trailer for the special on Monday:

Houston’s rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” took place shortly after the United States launched Operation Desert Storm and much like George W. Bush’s first pitch at Yankee Stadium in 2001 at the World Series, the Grammy winner captivated a nation and united a hurting and divided nation for a brief moment before the Buffalo Bills and New York Giants kicked off.

Those close to the singer, as well as those involved with the game or played in the game, and additional voices such as the NFL executive who nearly rejected Houston’s version of the National Anthem, will be featured in the 30-minute special. Among those interviewed include Al Michaels, Chris Berman, Bruce Smith, Jim Kelly, Ottis Anderson, Carl Banks, and Chris Connelly.

Hosted by Jeremy Schapp, the show is being produced by Russell Dinallo and Simon Baumgart. The E60 special will be accompanied by content across ESPN programming. Schapp will appear on the ESPN Daily podcast on Feb. 11, while ESPN.com will run a written piece on the episode. Outside the Lines and SportsCenter will also air clips from the show.

You can catch Whitney’s Anthem on Friday, Feb. 11 at 8 p.m. on ESPN and watch via streaming on ESPN+ and the ESPN app. The special will also air multiple times across ESPN networks.

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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