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TBS’ Alternate NBA All-Star Game Broadcast Draws Under 1 Million Viewers

News of the change only came together a little over a week in advance, which is likely the main reason more viewers didn’t watch the alternate broadcast.

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The last-second creation of an alternate broadcast feed for last Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game is being blamed for the special presentation not meeting ratings expectations.

The traditional game broadcast on TNT was originally supposed to feature Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, and Charles Barkley on the call. But Turner called an audible and opted for a “Manningcast”-style alternate feed on TBS that had Barkley broadcasting with his Inside the NBA co-hosts Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson. Additionally, Draymond Green was reporting and interviewing players from each team’s bench.

But most All-Star Game viewers opted for the regular broadcast on TNT. Even the Inside the NBA crew on the alternate broadcast didn’t attract many viewers to TBS.

The broadcast on TNT drew an audience of 5.4 million, but the alternate feed only saw 852,000 tune in. The skills competition, 3-point shooting contest and dunk contest on Saturday night had an audience of 4.2 million.

News of the change only came together a little over a week in advance, which is likely the main reason more viewers didn’t watch the alternate broadcast. Perhaps if the decision had been made sooner to allow for proper promotion of the alternate feed, more fans would’ve checked things out.

There’s also the question as to whether or not “ManningCast” style alternate feeds with unconventional commentary emphasizing personalities are as popular with general audience as it appears to be on social media. The “ManningCast” averaged 1.58 million viewers during its 10 telecasts, according to Sports Business Journal, compared to 13.5 million for ESPN’s regular Monday Night Football broadcast.

Yet despite the sub-million number, reception to the presentation was generally positive. So it could be something Turner pursues again in the future.

Sports TV News

Joe Buck: ESPN Is Letting Us Set Tone For Monday Night Football

“It wasn’t well, you are at ESPN, you have to figure out how we do it.”

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While Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will be calling football games on Monday nights for ESPN instead of Sunday afternoons for FOX this year, fans shouldn’t expect the broadcasts to be that much different, if at all, than what they’ve been used to over the last 20 years. 

Buck was recently a guest on the Green Light with Chris Long podcast and said that ESPN knows that he and Aikman have to be comfortable in order for Monday Night Football to be a success.

“I know we are in the honeymoon phase. I’m not dumb. That stuff wears off after a while. They are like ‘however you guys have always done a game, that’s the way we want you to do a game whether it’s with regard to meetings vs. conference calls or when you guys show up, how you like the booth set up. However you want it, we are going to do it your way’ and that’s to their credit. It wasn’t well, you are at ESPN, you have to figure out how we do it.”

Buck and Aikman are obviously already very familiar with each other. Buck said that it will be important not to take that for granted or second guess what they already know.

“I think the one thing Troy and I have to avoid is trying to be different than we’ve been. They hired us based on what we’ve done and who we are and how we relate to each other and the way we see a game,” said Buck. 

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Mike Tirico, Tom Brady, Manningcast Win Sports Emmys

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The annual Sports Emmys were handed out on Tuesday night, and some usual names and new names ended up taking home hardware.

Among the usual names were NBC’s Mike Tirico, who won for Outstanding Personality/Studio Host, and soon-to-be Sunday Night Football broadcast colleague Cris Collinsworth, who was named Outstanding Personality/Sports Event Analyst.

But among the new names as Sports Emmy winners include Tom Brady and both Eli and Peyton Manning.

Brady’s Man in the Arena saga won Outstanding Documentary Series, while the Mannings were rewarded for their work on the Monday Night Football Manningcast, which won Outstanding Live Series.

Here’s a rundown of some of the key Sports Emmy winners:

Here is a full list of winners and nominees for the 2022 ceremony.

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Joe Buck Says He Won’t Miss World Series

“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game.”

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USA Today

Among the bigger chain reactions set off by Joe Buck leaving FOX for ESPN was the sudden vacancy in FOX’s main MLB broadcast booth.

The 2022 World Series will mark the first time since 1995 that Buck will not be on the microphone.

Speaking to Chris Long on his podcast Green Light, Buck hopes to be in a more exotic location watching World Series games this fall.

“I would like to be in Cabo San Lucas with a margarita in my hand and a half-smoked cigar watching Game 7 of the World Series,” Buck said. “Cheering on Joe Davis and John Smoltz, and Ken Rosenthal, and Tom Verducci, and Pete Macheska and Matt Gangl and right on down the line.”

Buck added he’ll take pleasure in turning the broadcast off if it’s Game 7 and there’s an insurmountable lead. But the broadcasting legend said even on a bigger scale, not calling any baseball games at all this season, let alone the World Series, is a bit surreal after covering the sport for so long.

“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game,” he said. “And that’s really weird to me, but I walk away really proud of what I and we did.”

He added that he will not miss the opportunity, because he does not feel like he will “leave any unfinished business” in FOX’s MLB booth.

Buck further praised his FOX colleagues and said it was time for a change. He knows Joe Davis will thrive in the opportunity.

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