Sunday night will mark the entrance of Bomani Jones into the late-night space. His show Game Theory, which premieres at 11:30 p.m. ET on HBO, is something Jones has long considered doing.
Appearing on the Media Noise podcast with Demetri Ravanos to promote his HBO show, Jones said when Jon Stewart exited The Daily Show in 2015, he had his agent contact the show and Comedy Central to consider Jones as Stewart’s successor.
He knew he wouldn’t get the job, and it ultimately was awarded to Trevor Noah, but the style of show Stewart put on was something Jones thought he could do.
“If I think, ‘Yeah I can host that,’ let ‘em know that I think I can host that,” he said. “They might think so too! The worst that they can do is be like, ‘I ain’t ever heard of that guy,’ or ‘Meh, I just don’t see it for him.’ All of those things were possible. But what was also possible was, ‘Huh, that’s an interesting idea!’”
It turns out that Adam McKay, who is an executive producer of the show, told Jones early in the development of Game Theory that in 2015, he wanted to try and make a TV show with Jones. It didn’t happen because of contractual obligations Jones had to ESPN, but Bomani said to look at the possibility that could’ve come from that — even more so if McKay had been running The Daily Show at the time.
All roads have led Jones to HBO. Bomani told BSM that him getting fired from hosting at a small sports radio station in the Raleigh/Durham area early in his career actually turned out to be a blessing.
“I was probably gonna be moving to do something else, and it really did work out,” he said. “Because the next job that I got was a significant raise, and it was on Sirius and all this stuff. So they made a call that I’d love to hear them explain it.”
Jones said he felt at home doing radio. Radio opened doors for him to break into TV.
Game Theory will tackle sports stories from a completely different angle. But while this will be a late-night program, it won’t fit the typical late-night TV mold. It won’t try to say what everyone else is thinking, either.
“We ain’t really about to be out here saying nothing obvious,” he said.
Don’t expect the show to be done in front of a studio audience like Last Week Tonight or Real Time with Bill Maher, either. Jones knows that studio audiences for TV have to be fed cues for when to clap and react, and they can’t necessarily react honestly. He said having a studio audience is not anything he or show staff seriously considered.
“I don’t think we’ll lose anything from not having a studio audience,” he said. “I guess maybe for me just because there’s no studio audience in a podcast or ESPN television studio either. Them lines are gonna have to hit one way or another.”
Look for Demetri’s Media Noise podcast and his interview with Jones to hit BSM and your podcast app on Friday. Game Theory with Bomani Jones premieres Sunday, March 13 at 11:30 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max.
Greg Olsen To Partner With Kevin Burkhardt For Super Bowl LVII
“Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.”
The deal isn’t done yet, but Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Greg Olsen is on his way to joining Kevin Burkhardt in the top NFL booth at FOX. Although Tom Brady will take over that role after he retires and leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Olsen will spend at least this season on FOX’s A-Team.
Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.
Earlier this year, the former Panther told The Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte that he was disappointed he didn’t get to call a postseason game. He will more than make up for that in 2023. As Burkhardt’s partner, Olsen is in line to be the analyst for Super Bowl LVII.
Marchand writes that we could get a taste of what is to come in February. He speculates that if the Buccaneers are not in the Super Bowl, it is possible Tom Brady could make his FOX debut, either in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen or as part of the network’s studio show.
Now, FOX has to make a decision about it’s number 2 NFL booth. According to Marchand, Drew Brees is a candidate to be the analyst. Adam Amin and Joe Davis have emerged as candidates for the play-by-play role.
Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX
“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”
FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.
A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.
The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.
Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.
That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.
Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.
FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”
The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.
Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.
Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”
Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.
“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.
FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.