With the return of Major League Baseball, MLB Network is giving fans more of its morning show to enjoy. As reported by The Big Lead’s Kyle Koster, MLB Central will add an hour to its daily runtime, starting at 9 a.m. each weekday beginning on April 7, the 2022 season’s Opening Day.
Since its 2015 debut, MLB Central has been a three-hour program led by Robert Flores, Lauren Shehadi, and Mark DeRosa, airing from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET. The show features plenty of analysts, correspondents, players, managers, and figures throughout Major League Baseball and baseball media, in addition to feature segments.
As Koster notes, expanding MLB Central is part of MLB Network’s effort to increase live programming throughout the day. With the additional hour, MLB Network will air live shows for a 17-hour span each day during the regular season. Other programs in that live block of programming include High Heat, MLB Now, Intentional Talk, and MLB Tonight.
Adding an hour to MLB Central also should give MLB Network an opportunity to reach fans in the early-morning block that’s become increasingly popular with sports TV viewers.
Shows like NFL Network’s Good Morning Football, ESPN’s Get Up, FS1’s First Things First, Peacock’s Pro Football Talk Live, and simulcast radio programming such as Keyshawn, JWill, and Max on ESPN2 and CBS Sports Network’s telecast of Boomer & Gio have shown the appetite for live sports talk (with some irreverence) in the early morning, something that MLB Network has missed out on with re-airings of Quick Pitch and MLB Tonight.
MLB Central has been on in mid-mornings, up against the likes of ESPN’s First Take and FS1’s Undisputed, but this gives MLB Network a chance to not only react to the previous night’s action but set the conversation for the day to come as fans get into their workday.
Additionally, there’s some catching up to do. Fans who may have turned away from baseball, fed up with the labor dispute between team owners and players, now need to catch up on what their teams did before the lockout and the frenzy of offseason moves since that was resolved. More MLB Central provides more information for fans to consume before April 7.
Peter King: ‘Tom Brady Needs To Study Cris Collinsworth’
“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is.”
Peter King dedicated a not-insignificant portion of his “Football Morning in America” column this week to advice for Tom Brady. FOX announced last week that the Buccaneers’ quarterback will become the network’s lead NFL analyst upon his retirement.
Brady’s decision and his reported salary have been the source of much speculation and prediction amongst his soon-to-be colleagues.
King is optimistic that Tom Brady will be entertaining and informative when he makes his FOX debut. He did offer the GOAT a little bit of advice about what he should be doing in the months leading up to calling it quits on his playing days and starting his new career.
“I think what I’d do if I were Brady is study Cris Collinsworth—and honest to goodness, I don’t say that because I work for NBC,” he wrote. “I say it because Collinsworth knows how to talk X’s-and-O’s conversationally, he’s an easy listen, and he can criticize when the time comes.”
Interestingly, last week, Collinsworth says he hears from most former players that are getting ready to make the jump to broadcasting. He was surprised he never heard from Tom Brady before FOX announced their deal.
King had two other suggestions. The first was that Brady watch multiple games from start to finish so that he can hear what the give-and-take between a broadcaster and analyst sounds like. The other is that he has to commit to being interesting and not censoring himself. King has faith that Brady will be able to do that.
“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is. On that LeBron James show last year, Brady said, ‘Ninety percent of what I say is not what I’m thinking. There’s a part of me that doesn’t like conflict, so in the end I always just try to play it super-flat.’ That has to end once he’s on TV if he wants to be any good.”
Nick Wright Critical Of ABC Crew As Giannis Antetokounmpo Struggles In Game 7
“He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo started hot in Game 7 on Sunday. By the time the game ended though, the Boston Celtics were on their way to Miami for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals and the defending champions were headed back to Milwaukee.
The Celtics’ defense gave the Milwaukee Bucks fits in the second half. The ABC broadcast put a special spotlight on Antetokounmpo, who got multiple drives to the basket that he could not finish.
“The best has got to show up when the best is needed, and Giannis has been disappointing,” said Mark Jackson over a package of highlights of Giannis missing shots. “As great of a player as he is, given credit to the Celtics’ defense, but he has struggled offensively time and time again.”
Nick Wright of FS1 noticed and he didn’t appreciate it. He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.
Mike Been, Mark Jackson, and Jeff Van Gundy were not particularly hard on Giannis. The trio made the typical comments we hear when things aren’t going a great player’s way.
Wright did not harp on the issue beyond the single tweet. The outcome was not in doubt as the clock winded down. He gave credit to the Celtics rather than tweet about the Bucks or Giannis.
Stephanie McMahon: WWE Is A Better Advertising Investment Than Sports
“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys.”
Everyone knows that professional wrestling is scripted. The storylines, the outcomes of matches, all of it is predetermined. But in the eyes of WWE, that’s what makes their product so different, and better than traditional sports.
WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon told Deadline that when it comes to pitching advertisers, sports entertainment allows room for a range of different approaches to make something work.
“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys,” she said. “We have a leg up on sports. … You may object to what we do, but you’re never going to be bored.”
McMahon added that WWE has a much easier process in dealing with sponsors. Everything is handled in-house.
“We own all of the IP,” she said. “When brands deal with us, they just deal with us. We create something together.”
WWE is coming off a positive Q1 earnings report, which had the company up 27% in total revenue. Its two weekly primetime shows, Monday Night RAW and Friday Night SmackDown, continue to do well in ratings, and all special and pay-per-view events, in addition to its streaming platform WWE Network, are all housed on Peacock.