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Mike Tirico: NBC ‘Didn’t Ignore’ Political Issues In China

“At the end of the day, I feel like it was something that was present in our coverage at the most appropriate times during the 17-18 days.”



NBC New York

No one seems very happy with the way NBC handled the 2022 Winter Olympics. Even NBC admits it has work to do in order to get the audience it wants for Paris 2024.

The ratings were way down, but Mike Tirico says that doesn’t mean the network didn’t do good work in terms of bringing the games to fans. He was a guest this week on the Sports Media with Richard Deitsch podcast.

Amongst the hardships he and his colleagues had to overcome was the fact that there were no spectators. If there was any excitement in China for the games, Tirico said he had no way to experience it.

“To put it in one sentence: I would say that I feel like I went to the Olympics; I don’t feel like I went to China,” he told Deitsch. “And it’s because of the closed-loop system that they put in place. They were very stringent for zero COVID and the procedures and protocols that we all had to live with mirrored that desire for the country.”

Many viewers and media pundits in the United States were critical of the way NBC handled (or failed to handle) issues of human rights abuse by the Chinese government. Whether it was suspicion regarding the origin of the Covid-19 virus, the treatment of Uyghur Muslims, or critics of the government being silenced, some had an expectation that NBC should devote more time to it than the network did.

Mike Tirico says that when it comes to primetime coverage of the games, the events and athletes take top priority and decisions have to be made in terms of time.

“We are there to cover the Olympics. You have to make choices at some point. So do you show the live Olympics, or do you spend another 10 minutes on political affairs? Somebody might say, ‘Well, I think you should spend 10 more minutes on political affairs.’ Well, that person is not a snowboarding fan who’s watching the biggest moment in that sport for four years at that point.”

He also pushed back on the idea that NBC did not do enough. Mike Tirico pointed out that when it was appropriate, NBC did address some of the controversies surrounding the country and its government.

“I feel like we didn’t just do it in the opening ceremony and check a box. We spent a lengthy time the night before covering it, and as it happened during the opening ceremony, covered the moment of a member of the Uyghur population being one of the two to light the torch.

“I don’t think we ignored it after just checking the box, quote-unquote, at the start. At the end of the day, I feel like it was something that was present in our coverage at the most appropriate times during the 17-18 days.”

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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