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Dan Orlovsky’s ESPN Contract Reportedly Set to Expire Soon

If ESPN lets Orlovsky go to free agency, other networks — notably Amazon — have interest in hiring him.

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Add another name to ESPN’s list of on-air talent facing contract renewals in the weeks and months to come.

Outkick’s Bobby Burack reports that Dan Orlovsky’s contract is set to expire in the next few months. And apparently, the NFL and college football analyst’s possible availability was a popular topic among media, agents, and executives in Los Angeles during Super Bowl week.

ESPN presumably wants to re-sign Orlovsky and keep the crew for what’s become a popular NFL Live show together. The network’s reboot of the show with Laura Rutledge, Marcus Spears, Mina Kimes, and Orlovsky not only resonates with TV viewers, but also engages with fans on social media with clips of behind-the-scenes and off-air frivolity in addition to highlights from the show.

In addition to NFL Live, Orlovsky appears regularly on Get Up, First Take, and calls college football games. He’s regarded highly by network executives as well as powerful on-air figures like Stephen A. Smith.

But if ESPN lets Orlovsky go to free agency, other networks — notably Amazon — have interest in hiring him. He could fill either a top game analyst role or a prominent studio analyst position at another network. Though it’s difficult to imagine he would be as valuable across so many platforms as he is with ESPN.

Two years ago, there were also reports that Orlovsky had attracted interest from NFL teams about joining their coaching staffs. That outcome seems unlikely here, considering that Orlovsky moved his family (with four children) to Connecticut when he was hired by ESPN (after contributing to NFL Network’s Good Morning Football based on analysis he was posting online).

Part of the reason Orlovsky wanted to go to ESPN was because he had the opportunity to call college football games in addition to his NFL studio analysis. That’s not an option he would have at other networks. Of course, a generous offer could compel him to look past that.

The report of Orlovsky’s contract expiring soon follows up on news (via the New York Post‘s Andrew Marchand) that ESPN has several other deals running out, including those for Randy Moss, Tim Hasselbeck, Booger McFarland, and Brian Griese. (Sunday NFL Countdown host Samantha Ponder is also nearing free agency.)

Yet of all the names mentioned here, it seems most likely that Orlovsky would be the one ESPN brings back, if it comes to that.

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Sunday Night Baseball Viewership Up On ESPN

“Telecasts are averaging 1.73 million viewers.”

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The first month of the 2022 MLB regular season has concluded and ESPN is celebrating an uptick in viewership for Sunday Night Baseball.

The network announced on Tuesday that viewership for Sunday Night Baseball is up 4% compared to this time last year. In addition to that, compared to the 2020 full season average, ratings are up 40%.

Telecasts are averaging 1.73 million viewers. The Dodgers/Cubs game on May 8 averaged 1.781 million and peaked at over 2.1 million viewers during the 8-8:15 p.m. window.

Karl Ravech, Eduardo Perez and David Cone comprise the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast booth, with Buster Olney contributing reports.

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Nickelodeon Gets Christmas Day NFL Game

“This will be the network’s first regular season game.”

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The NFL’s Christmas triple header will include a little slime this year. The afternoon game between the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams and Denver Broncos will be simulcast on CBS and Nickelodeon.

Nickelodeon has ramped up its NFL presence each year since 2020. The network has aired a kid-friendly broadcast of a Wild Card Round playoff game each of the last two seasons. Last year’s tile between the 49ers and Cowboys drew an audience of 41 million.

Before the start of last season, the studio show NFL Slimetime debuted. This will be the network’s first regular season game.

Kickoff is set for 4:30 pm Eastern on Christmas Day. No details of what Nickelodeon’s coverage may include are available yet. Nate Burleson, Noah Eagle and Nickelodeon star Gabrielle Nevaeh Green have been on the call of the network’s previous NFL broadcasts.

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Kentucky Derby Rebounds With 16 Million Viewers

“The Derby saw its best numbers since 2019 on Saturday. The audience peaked at 19 million.”

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The Kentucky Derby has now eclipsed 15 million viewers in each of the last eight years that the event was not effected by the Covid-19 Pandemic. An average audience of 16 million tuned in Saturday to see longshot Rich Strike win the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown.

The Derby saw its best numbers since 2019 on Saturday. The audience peaked at 19 million.

During the weekend, the event kept finding new life on social media. According to an NBC Sports press release, the overhead shot of the final call drew big audiences across a number of the network’s digital platforms, having been viewed in total more than 36 million times.

Peacock also cashed in on the event’s success. The streaming platform posted an average minute audience of over 247,000 viewers during the Kentucky Derby.

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