Well, it’s a drab day in Southern New England, lots of rain and plenty of overcast skies, plus people all go to the Post Office at the same time to send out packages. It’s never fun waiting at the Post Office.
Anyway, time to get to our links.
Starting off with Friend of Fang’s Bites, Ken Schott of the Schenectady Gazette, he says NBC is hoping the Olympics ratings success will rub off on the rest of its primetime lineup.
Pete Dougherty from the Albany Times Union says NFL fans in the New York State Capital District should be happy with the lineup for Week 1.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times says he’ll be watching the reunion of Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann next Sunday on Football Night in America.
Justin Terranova of the New York Post writes in the TV Sports blog that Giants fans get a chance to remember the Super Bowl victory over the Patriots twice this weekend.
Alan Pergament of the Buffalo News writes that Western New Yorkers love their Bills, even with the Olympics on opposite their games twice during the exhibition season.
Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News talks to NFL Films’ Steve Sabol who says this year’s edition of Hard Knocks was the hardest for him to produce.
Jerry Garcia from the San Antonio Express-News says FSN Southwest will show plenty of Texas high school football games this season.
Gary Washburn of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer talks with ESPN’s Mike Tirico about the Seahawks.
This week, NBC relaunched its “microsite” for Sunday Night Football. There are plenty of bios and other features there.
Jeffrey Flanagan of the Kansas City Star says Chiefs number one draft pick Glenn Dorsey will be part of an ESPN special this weekend.
My good friend, John Crowe of The Crowe’s Nest blog talks with Fang’s Bites fav Tina Cervasio of MSG Network and formerly of NESN.
Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News says with its new cable deals this week, the Big Ten Network is now in 90% of households in its conference footprint.
Andy Piper of the Dubuque Telegraph Herald talks about the Big Ten Network’s long-awaited arrival on Mediacom systems in Iowa.
But Chris Johnson of the Fort Dodge Messenger says BTN is not in a small part of northwest Iowa because it has not been included in that agreement.
Rivals.com looks at what impact the ESPN-SEC deal will have on the basketball part of the conference.
Ron Judd of the Seattle Times wraps up the Communist China Olympics and looks forward to Vancouver in 2010.
Linda Moss of Multichannel News reports that due to Michael Phelps and the Olympics, cable lost viewership in the summer.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell has a video of him shadowing Olympics gold medalist Michael Phelps. Darren was amused by a blog written by the chairman of Marriott International praising Michael who is a spokesman for Hilton Hotels. And Darren feels the NCAA should be compensating players for uniform sales.
Anna Marie De La Puente of Variety says thanks to the Olympics, ratings for NBC Universal’s Telemundo went way up.
Diane Barrett of Variety says by withholding some of its bigger events for primetime, NBC did not get as much revenue online as it might have hoped. I agree with this.
Jim Cota of the Indianapolis Business Journal liked the job NBC did with the Olympics.
Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star writes that if you watched the Olympics at one time or another, you were part of US history.
Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette talks about NBC’s Dan Hicks going from the Olypmics to call the PGA Tour’s Deutsche Bank Championship in Norton, MA this weekend.
Going back to the New York Times, good story by Marv Salter on tennis players making the transition from the court to the broadcast booth, citing Justin Gimelstob and Chanda Rubin as examples.
Christopher Byrne of the Eye on Sports Media blog says John McCain’s running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, is a former TV sportscaster.
John Eggerton of Broadcasting & Cable can only confirm that Governor Palin was an intern at TV station KTUU in Anchorage.
But Newsday’s Neil Best who worked in Alaska in the 1980′s provides a little insight on Governor Sarah Palin.
The Baltimore Sun says MASN and the Orioles are teaming up to offer $1 tickets in the upper deck of Camden Yards throughout the month of September.
I’ve been working on these links for a while so it’s time for me to do other things.
I do have a Videos of the Week feature coming up for Sunday morning. Since I have my day planned for me tomorrow, don’t expect links until the evening.
As we head into a three day weekend, it’s time to give you your Friday megalinks.
As always, we go into the Weekend Viewing Picks first.
College football has already begun with some games played on Thursday. Among the highlights for Saturday, USC takes on Virginia, Michigan hosts Utah, Appalachian State visits LSU and Alabama plays Clemson in the Georgia Dome. You can see the slate of nationally televised games for Saturday in my College Football Viewing Picks. On Sunday, ESPN has Kentucky-Louisville at 3:30 p.m. and FSN will air Colorado State-Colorado at Invesco Field at 7:30 p.m. Then on Monday, ESPN has a doubleheader starting Rutgers hosting Fresno State at 4 p.m. and Tennessee playing in the Rose Bowl against UCLA at 8.
The U.S. Open, tennis’ last Grand Slam Tournament of the year finishes its first week of play in Flushing Meadow, NY. CBS has extensive weekend coverage starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. USA has primetime coverage throughout the weekend at 7.
Major League Baseball heads into September with two games on Fox on Saturday at 3:55 p.m., Philadelphia at Wrigley Field to take on the Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays host Baltimore. The regional splits and announcing assignments are here. WGN has White Sox-Red Sox, Saturday night at 7. On Sunday, TBS has the White Sox-Red Sox at 1:30 p.m., WGN has the Phillies-Cubs at 2 and ESPN’s Sunday night game airs on ESPN2 as the Dodgers play Arizona at 8.
The PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup continues with the Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC Boston. Golf Channel has 2nd round coverage on Saturday starting at 3 p.m. NBC takes over with 3rd round coverage Sunday at 3. Then NBC picks up the final round at 2 p.m. on Labor Day.
NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series has the Pepsi 500 Sunday at 8 p.m.
Let’s head to your links.
USA Today’s Michael Hiestand talks about the next step in instant replay.
Christopher Byrne of Eye on Sports Media looks at TBS’s blog which doles out its production assignments for its Sunday afternoon MLB games through a blog.
Glenn Dickson of Broadcasting & Cable reports that ABC’s College Football Countdown will finally be aired in HD. It’s about time.
Larry Barrett in Multichannel News tells us the NFL Network will have a slew of special programming leading up to Thursday’s Redskins-Giants season opener.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell says Olympians are picking up speaking engagements. Darren wonders if Nastia Liukin can make you eat your Wheaties. And Darren gets readers’ reaction to the LPGA’s English-only policy.
Joe Favorito likes how the US Open is going green.
The Sports Media Watch has some idle notes.
Maury Brown of the Biz of Baseball talks about the new MLB postseason ad campaign being put forth by Fox and TBS. Thank goodness it will not involve Dane Cook.
East and Mid-Atlantic
David Scott of the Boston Sports Media Watch breaks news that the Boston Herald is losing yet another reporter.
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell of the Boston Globe talks about Inside the NFL moving to Showtime.
Phil Mushnick in today’s New York Post remembers late Post columnist Dick Young.
The Post’s Justin Terranova talks with ESPN’s Tim Hasselbeck and NBC/NFL Network’s Cris Collinsworth about the Giants. And Justin has five questions for ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union has the composite college football schedule for the entire 2008-09 season.
The Washington Times’ Tim Lemke writes that some Olympic sponsors are not re-upping for Vancouver and London.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes that ESPN is promising a new documentary on the University of Miami will be fair and not a hatchet job.
Dave Darling of the Orlando Sentinel says there’s going to be a lot of college football on TV this season.
Mel Bracht from the Daily Oklahoman says CBS’ Spencer Tillman is looking forward to calling his first Oklahoma football game. Mel has Spencer’s top five college football teams. Mel has some news and notes. And Mel give us his Weekend Viewing Picks.
George M. Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal has women angry over fantasy sports leagues.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Bob Wolfley talks about Ron Jaworski getting a bigger role on Monday Night Football this season.
Teddy Greenstein in today’s Chicago Tribune says ESPN helped to broker Saturday’s matchup between Utah and Michigan.
Paul Christian of the Rochester Post Bulletin has a primer on the Big Ten Network.
Jeffrey Flanagan from the Kansas City Star has Fox NFL analyst Jayice “JC” Pearson lobbying for new sideline reporter Nishelle Turner.
John Maffei in the North County Times writes about the new analyst for San Diego State University football games.
The Ventura County Star’s Jim Carlisle says the game will be the star on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Imagine that.
Steve Springer of the Los Angeles Times compares this year’s Olympics overall viewing record to other programs.
The Los Angeles Daily News’ Tom Hoffarth is on vacation, but he does give us a shrunken version of his media notes.
That’s going to do it for the megalinks. Back later with Viewing Picks galore later.
Woke up late after I struggled to stay up to watch the US-Japan bronze medal game in baseball online and the Argentina-Nigeria men’s soccer gold medal match. I fell asleep and missed the endings of both games. But I was awake long enough to discover that Barack Obama had chosen Delaware Senator Joe Biden as his running mate. Since this is not a political blog, I won’t be commenting on that, but immediately, MSNBC went back into political coverage and will probably stay there throughout the weekend.
As we head to the end of the Olympics, it’s time to give you some linkage on this Saturday.
I’ll begin with CNBC’s Darren Rovell who says the International Olympic Committee’s strange rules are preventing athletes from getting endorsements the day after the Games.
Brent Hunsberger of The Oregonian’s Playbooks and Profits blog looks into Nike’s alleged efforts to squash rumors it had convinced Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang to pull out of his race so as not to minimize its investment in him. Interesting.
Tripp Mickle of the Sports Business Daily/Journal’s Olympic website notes that bloated and overrated TV host Oprah Winfrey is working hard to get every U.S. medalist, not just gold medalist, but every single one on her show.
Jim Williams writing for the SBD/SBJ is enjoying Ato Boldon’s work on track & field for NBC.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times also likes Ato Boldon’s analysis of the sprint events at track & field for NBC and adds Boldon’s comments about Usain Bolt have made him public enemy #1 in Jamaica and even in his native Trinidad and Tobago.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union has been mostly quiet regarding the Olympics and today, he has some observations.
Ken McMillan of the Hudson Valley Times Herald-Record says the announcement of Joe Biden as Obama’s running mate ran into some glitches during NBC’s late night Olympics coverage early this morning.
Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News notes how the Olympics has stomped on the Cowboys in the ratings this summer. And Barry feels NBC is treating Olympics basketball like a bastard stepchild.
Tom Maurstad of the Morning News looks at the difference between Super Bowl and Olympics ads.
Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star says NBC’s Mary Carillo and Cris Collinsworth are making sure no one forgets that the Olympics are fun.
Jerry Garcia of the San Antonio Express-News talks about how the Olympics have made big ratings, are big business and also have some big problems.
Ron Judd of the Seattle Times live blogged NBC’s primetime coverage on Friday.
Tom Hoffarth from the Los Angeles Daily News tells us what we can expect for the Closing Ceremonies. And Tom has some closing thoughts on the Olympics.
Steve Springer of the Los Angeles Times says online, NBCOlympics.com was not even number 1 in web visits.
Emily Steel from the Wall Street Journal says NBC did not make as much revenue from online video as it could have.
Elizabeth Kim of the Stamford (CT) Advocate looks at the team behind NBC’s Olympics website.
Shannon Owens of the Orlando Sentinel explores whether Tiki Barber called Jenna Wolfe a “cunt” on MSNBC.
Scott Greczkowski of Multichannel News says DirecTV gave its customers a better presentation of the Olympics than Dish Network.
William Houston from the Toronto Globe and Mail says digital media is the big winner from the Beijing Olympics.
Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star has some suggestions of which Olympic sports should be tosssed for being unwatchable.
The Sports Media Watch says the Olympics had its lowest rated night on Thursday. The SMW notes that MLB on Fox hit its lowest ratings last Saturday. And here are the SMW’s weekend ratings predictions.
The Schenectady Gazette’s Ken Schott has some New York State Capital Region radio notes for us. And Ken says Chris Russo will be a guest on a local radio show on Sunday. In his Saturday column, Ken writes that today’s Travers Stakes at Saratoga will be sent out nationally on radio.
The New York Post’s TV Sports blog reports Russo will be a guest on Fox 5′s Good Day New York program on Monday to promote his new show on Sirius XM.
Bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says 1250 ESPN Radio has gone in a different direction after Mark Madden was fired.
Jonathan V. Last of the Weekly Standard says Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is doing his best to destroy DC sports radio.
The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson writing a column for Pro Football Weekly says the reunion of Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann should work magic on NBC’s Football Night in America.
Christopher Byrne of the Eye on Sports Media blog has most of the national college football telecasts for this fall. Noticeably missing are SEC games as those are selected by CBS and ESPN about 10 days before they air.
Brian T. Smith of the Bristol (TN) Herald Courier calls ESPN/ABC’s Dr. Jerry Punch the Voice of NASCAR. And Brian profiles ESPN/ABC’s pit reporters Jamie Little and Shannon Spake.
You have a lot of links on this Saturday. I have another update for you coming up because I don’t want the news to get buried in this entry.
I’ve been very busy at work in fact, it’s 5:30 p.m. ET as I write this and I’m still at the office and I’ll probably be here burning the midnight oil, but I’ll still provide you with some links today.
Starting with Richard Sandomir of the New York Times, he writes about Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann reuniting at NBC after 11 years apart on TV. Dan and Keith had been together on the radio off and on over the years.
Richard Huff of the New York Daily News says Dan and Keith are looking forward to working with each other again.
George M. Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal is excited to see the “Big Show” back on his TV.
Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun writes that the news of the Dan and Keith reunion overshadowed the announcement of the new team on Inside the NFL on Showtime.
David Barron of the Houston Chronicle also talks about the Dan-Keith reunion.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald says Dan Marino has lost a gig while Dan Patrick gained one.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says CBS’/Showtime’s Phil Simms suggests that Brett Favre should remain retired this time.
John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer talks about Cris Collinsworth remaining with Inside the NFL.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News blogs about CBS’ Dan Dierdorf being honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Newday’s Neil Best says WFAN’s Mike & the Mad Dog reunite for the first time this Friday since Neil’s story about them breaking up by Labor Day.
Ken McMillan of the Hudson Valley Times Herald-Record says last night’s 10-9 Mets win over the Phillies reminded both Gary Cohen on SNY and Howie Rose on WFAN about a similar game called by the late Mets announcer Bob Murphy in 1990.
The Sports Media Watch has the final weekend ratings. The SMW says some lesser sports also saw some ratings gains this weekend. Ratings for the Olympic Trials did pretty well during the holiday weekend.
NBC Sports says it will have 3,600 hours of coverage from the Olympics in Communist China, most of it live.
The 38 Cliches blog shares what it learned while listening to last night’s Twins-Red Sox game.
Maury Brown of the Biz of Baseball looks at why ratings for MLB are down this season.
Orbitcast reports that XM Satellite Radio will have extensive coverage of the All-Star Game next week.
MLB’s Walking, Talking Conflict of Interest Bud Selig will make his first late night TV appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman next Monday.
That will do it for now. Back to work now.
The announcement of Dan Patrick joining NBC Sports came rather unexpectedly. NBC put out a press release about “a major Football Night in America talent announcement” and during the conference call, there was NBC Sports Emperor Dick Ebersol giving word that Dan Patrick was indeed joining Football Night in America.
Last year when Dan left ESPN, we all speculated what his next move might be. Well, the Sports Media Watch got it right feeling that Patrick would join FNIA, but as co-host to replace Bob Costas, not join him as is the case. SI’s Richard Deitsch also called Patrick going to NBC sometime in 2008.
To have Dan reunite with Keith Olbermann is a good move and should make Football Night in America a stronger show. But with three people doing highlights, what time will Costas have? Also, the segment where analysts Cris Collinsworth, Jerome Bettis and Tiki Barber all discuss highlights may be cut down. Ebersol says that has yet to be worked out.
But to have Dan Patrick on NBC only makes its bench stronger and if Ebersol is looking for its next generation of Olympic hosts, Dan is certainly a viable candidate to be on the NBC Olympic roster.
In an announcement being made as I write this, NBC Sports Emperor Dick Ebersol has announced that Dan Patrick will join the cast of Football Night in America this season.
Ebersol says Patrick will be re-united with former ESPN co-anchor Keith Olbermann. Patrick says he was interested in going back to TV and approached Bob Costas if he could talk to Ebersol. Then the ball got rolling and agreements were made.
Costas and Cris Collinsworth will remain as co-hosts as will Tiki Barber and Jerome Bettis as the analysts.
Patrick will join Olbermann to do highlights. This becomes quite a crowded show for one hour.
I was out at a jobsite earlier today, but I’m back now. Let’s get to the links.
USA Today’s Michael Hiestand looks at the ratings of some of the weekend events.
Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch says Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby is one of the reasons why the NHL’s ratings are up significantly this season.
Bob Raissman from the New York Daily News says Hank Steinbrenner has a tendency to blow a lot of hot air, then backtrack.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times writes that TNT’s Charles Barkley has said he has paid off his gambling debt to a Las Vegas casino.
Newsday’s Neil Best says Mets manager Willie Randolph is not a fan of SNY. And Neil picks up on an item from last night’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC that the construction worker who allegedly buried a David Ortiz jersey in the new Yankee Stadium has buried something else in the concrete foundation. And Neil has the video of the Olbermann report. Then Neil talked with Keith about a creepy incident at Braves Field in Boston back in 1914. Neil says Jay-Z will represent the New Jersey Nets at the NBA Draft Lottery tonight.
Evan Weiner of the New York Sun says the NFL Network’s survival is the top priority among the league’s owners.
Keith Groller of the Allentown (PA) Morning Call says Philadelphia Flyers TV voice Jim Jackson has been busy even though he could not call the just recently finished series with the Penguins.
Bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says FSN’s hiring of former Pirates pitcher Kent Tekulve for the postgame show is a big hit.
From the Washington Post, Leonard Shapiro asks the question “why” over the entire Spygate issue.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has some ratings news from the city.
Jeffrey Flanagan from the Kansas City Star has a couple of media notes.
Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Journal writes that the Big 12 Conference has five football games scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend with four of them on ABC or FSN.
The Arizona Republic says the NHL’s ratings appear to be turning a corner.
Dave Del Grande of the Oakland Tribune suggests that MLB spread out its interleague series instead of doing every series in one weekend.
Toni Fitzgerald of Media Life Magazine says the NBA’s ratings on ABC, ESPN and TNT are going through the roof.
David Wilkerson of Marketwatch.com says ESPN is getting ready for ad growth.
Phil Swann of the TV Predictions website writes that ESPN’s ratings in HDTV households are going through the roof.
ESPN’s coverage of the French Open begins Sunday.
Sorry for the delay in getting these up. My talkative employee who never shuts up has prevented me from publishing today’s links for an hour. My apologies. Updates later.
I’m here. And the fallout from the John Tomase/Boston Herald/New England Patriots/Spygate story continues as fans wait to hear the explanation from Tomase as to why he chose to run his story the day before the Super Bowl.
David Scott of Boston Sports Media Watch who’s been doing a great job in covering this from the media’s perspective goes through his own analysis of the story.
Scott Benson from Patriots Daily hopes that John Tomase will do the right thing on Friday.
Newsday’s Neil Best has excerpts from the Matt Walsh interview that will be seen on HBO’s rebroadcast of Real Sports this Friday. Neil also has a rare Thursday column in which he talks about Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown and its successful marketing plan.
Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun wonders if Pats coach Bill Belichick will watch HBO tomorrow night.
David Barron of the Houston Chronicle remembers a local sportscaster who recently passed away.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Bob Wolfley has comments from Tony Kornheiser who has left the Washington Post (scroll down).
The Biz of Baseball site reports that MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann will write a five part series on Topps baseball cards for Sports Collectors Digest.
Michael David Smith of the AOL Fanhouse blog looks into the ESPN.com-Bill Simmons dispute.
Tom Kubat of the Lafayette (IN) Journal & Courier says he wishes ESPN would end its obsession with the Red Sox.
Awful Announcing is not a fan of the new HBO Hard Knocks promo.
ESPN says it will have extensive coverage of the NCAA Division I Softball Championships starting tomorrow.
CBS Sports is back on the PGA Tour this week with the AT&T Classic.
That’s it for now.
Just as I did the 1st Annual Fang’s Bites College Football TV Awards earlier this year, it’s time to do the NFL TV Awards as we go into the final weekend of the 2007 regular season.
No quirky nicknames, just the awards, Best and Worst.
Best Play-by-Play – Al Michaels, NBC. He’s still among the best at calling a game. He’s now in his 60′s, but shows no sign of slowing down. He’s always on top of trends. I do wish Al would allow John Madden to show his humor because since joining Michaels, John has been stagnant, but Al’s play-by-play is tops.
Best Game Analyst – Troy Aikman of Fox. He’s understated. Allows the game to breathe and doesn’t force his analysis. Phil Simms of CBS is a close second. Aikman is a bit better to me. Honorable mention: Ron Jaworski, ESPN.
Best Studio Show – Inside the NFL, HBO. I like this show and it has some really interesting features. Bob Costas, Cris Collinsworth, Dan Marino and Chris Carter work very well together and Peter King does his best TV work on this show. Do you notice that he shouts on Football Night in America? Honorable mention – Fox NFL Sunday and NFL Gameday of the NFL Network.
Best Studio Host – James Brown, CBS. JB works well no matter which network he’s on. He did very well when he hosted Fox NFL Sunday and it took two years for that show to get back in the saddle after he left. JB hands off well when he works with the NFL Today crew and has helped Bill Cowher ease into the show. Plus, he’s willing to give his own opinions when warranted. Very good host and I do hope he remains at CBS for a while. Honorable mention – Bob Costas of HBO and NBC.
Best Studio Analyst – Howie Long, Fox. He continues to give pertinent analysis and still defends friend Matt Millen whenever co-hort Jimmy Johnson gets on his case. Plus, Howie is not afraid to get on Terry Bradshaw when necessary. Honorable mention – Tom Jackson, ESPN.
Most Valuable Network – CBS. It’s had two of the highest rated games this season, Patriots-Cowboys early in the season when both teams were undefeated and Patriots-Colts. It’s had the fortune to carry most of the Patriots run for perfection and it gets a bonus of the team’s final game on Saturday against the Giants. For a while, it was the only network to have significant ratings increases from the year before while the other NFL network partners saw decreases. All it needs is to have the Super Bowl to top it off, but the network won’t have the game until 2010. And it gets to air the very last Patriots game against the Giants without having to pay a rights fee. It’s a nice belated Christmas present for CBS.
Most Improved Studio Show – Football Night in America, NBC. Bringing in Keith Olbermann, who showed shades of his glory days in the 1990′s when he was teamed with Dan Patrick on ESPN, and Tiki Barber while getting rid Sterling Sharpe, has helped this show to hit its stride in the middle of the season. Keeping Cris Collinsworth away from the highlights and letting him do analysis with Jerome Bettis and Barber has improved the show dramatically from last season. Having Costas work off Olbermann was a very good idea. If NBC can have Peter King stop shouting, this would be a great show. Right now, it’s good. Not very good, just good.
Best NFL Insider – Jay Glazer, Fox. He somehow got his hands on the Patriots Spygate tape from the NFL offices in New York. He also got the video surveillance tape of Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter getting into a fight with Bengals lineman Levi Jones in a Las Vegas casino back in March. He’s had scoops galore this season giving him a much better year than Peter King. No comes close, not John Clayton or Chris Mortensen of ESPN. Not Peter. No one. Glazer knows his stuff and he’s not afraid to call his contacts to get the latest info. And he’s a MMA fighter. You want to mess with Jay? Be my guest.
Best Announcing Team – Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, CBS. Yeah, they’ve been assigned to too many Patriots games, but that’s because they’re the team to watch this season. Jim and Phil have meshed well in their three seasons together. They don’t talk when they don’t have to. They allow the game to breathe. When CBS took Greg Gumbel off the #1 team three seasons ago, I was afraid the network was messing with chemistry, but the move has worked. Honorable mentions – Sam Rosen and Tim Ryan, Fox and Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf, CBS.
Best Sideline Reporter – Pam Oliver, Fox. I like Pam. Plus, she’s not afraid to mix it up with athletes who cross her. And I don’t want to get on her bad side. This is Pam’s until she decides to retire.
Best Feature – For those who have DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket’s Red Zone Channel, this is heaven. It takes the viewer to every scoring drive and updates games in progress. Plus, it can cut into CBS and Fox games, something neither network can do. Host Andrew Siciliano is funny and he knows his football. DirecTV has done the fans a tremendous service with this channel. Now if it can make this part of the basic package instead of making this $99 extra for what subscribers are paying, the NFL Sunday Ticket package would be perfect.
Best Game Coverage – Sunday Night Football, NBC. The crew from ABC’s Monday Night Football moved over to NBC last season. Producer Fred Gaudelli and Director Drew Escohoff have kept the look from ABC and have added a few bells and whistles. Overall, it’s a clean look and adding solid reporter Andrea Kraemer to the sidelines has helped the broadcasts.
Rookie of the Year – Ron Jaworski, ESPN. He’s been a very good studio analyst, but with the chance to move into the game broadcasts on Monday Night Football, he’s become an excellent game analyst.
Worst Play-by-Play – Ron Pitts, Fox. I have no idea what he’s calling. I’m watching at home and have no clue what he’s talking about. He was decent at analysis, but having him do play-by-play is like listening to Carrot Top do stand up. It’s a train wreck. I truly believe he’s calling the games from his house.
Worst Game Analyst – Rich Gannon, CBS. Teamed with Kevin Harlan, I truly feel bad for Kevin. Gannon was originally hired to do 8 games two seasons ago, but when Brent Jones suddenly quit CBS, the network gave him a full season pickup. Gannon might improve down the line, but I have yet to see it. He talks too much plus there are times when he talks over his play-by-play guy. Not good. I know Rich wants to show what he knows, but there are times to talk and there are times to be quiet. He has yet to grasp this concept.
Worst Studio Show – Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown, ESPN. These two shows are both a half hour too long. In fact, cut an hour off Sunday NFL Countdown and it would be perfect. And Monday Night Countdown with two hosts and two locations is too much. It seems these shows are far removed from the stellar College Gameday and the excellent Baseball Tonight that are produced by the same network. It’s as if ESPN’s NFL production unit has a totally different attitude from the college football and MLB units.
Worst Studio Host – Chris Berman, ESPN. What happened to Boomer? Either he’s resting on his laurels or he’s slipping. I don’t want to think he’s slipping because on NFL Primetime, Chris did very well. But on the Countdown shows, there are too many forced analogies and how many times can Chris say, “Nobody circles the wagons …. LIKE! The Buffalo Bills!” When Berman first did the studio show, he was on a par with Brent Musberger and Bob Costas. Now, he’s fallen way behind JB, Curt Menafee, Bob Costas and Rich Eisen. I don’t understand. And Chris has fallen back on shouting as well. There’s no need to shout in the studio.
Worst Studio Analyst – Emmit Smith, ESPN. What the hell is he talking about? Sterling Sharpe used to be the worst, but now that he’s on the NFL Network, he can’t do as much damage. Emmit seems to make things up on the fly. I hope ESPN does the public a favor and ends the Emmit Smith Experience after this season.
Least Valuable Network – ESPN. While Monday Night Football has set ratings records this season, the production is something to be desired. And the Tony Kornheiser experiment has been a complete failure. I hope ESPN makes the MNF booth a two man affair instead of three. A three man booth has only worked twice, with Frank Gifford, Don Meredith and Howard Cosell and Dick Enberg, Billy Packer and Al McGuire. Al Michaels, Frank Gifford and Dan Dierdorf were ok, but since then, a three man booth has mostly been a disaster and this decade’s version is a train wreck.
Worst Game Coverage – ESPN. Monday Night Football is produced by the old Sunday Night Football crew that worked with Mike Patrick, Joe Theismann and Paul McGuire. When ESPN did Sunday nights, the camera work and replays were done very well. But when the crew moved over to Monday Night, the higher ups at ESPN decided to tinker with everything from the graphics which are annoying, to using two sideline reporters which is one too many and a three man booth which I already went into. Camera shots have been too tight at times, and there is no need to distract viewers who want to watch the game with silly interviews which have nothing to do with the action. Imagine watching UFC and listening to Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan interview Christian Slater in the middle of the action. You’d hate it, right? Same thing here, but ESPN thinks the viewing public is stupid. No, we’re smarter than you take us for. Stop the interviews, please. And start covering some football for once. People are watching MNF for the game, not celebrities. Someone send Chuck Liddell into the ESPN offices to clean up.
If you have any reaction, feel free to leave your comments below.
Well, it’s been a long day. And “It’s a Wonderful Life” is on NBC. I shouldn’t be watching it because the ending gets me every time, but it’s a classic and unlike the 1980′s when it used to be on every single channel, it’s only on once a year.
Anyway, it’ll be background noise as I give you the Friday links.
We’ll do our links going from East to West today.
David Scott of Boston Sports Media Watch also looks at the Mitchell Report coverage.
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell of the Boston Globe writes about the Bruins going up on the media pecking order with their recent success.
Phil Mushnick of the New York Post writes that a collectibles company is apologizing for capitalizing on the Mitchell Report. Also from the Post, Justin Terranova has five questions for Cris Collinsworth.
The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman wonders why ESPN didn’t put its own analyst Fernando Vina on its five hour special after he was named in the Mitchell Report. Maybe it was due to the fact that he might have wanted to talk to a lawyer first, Bob?
Neil Best of Newsday also reviews the Mitchell Report coverage. In his blog, Best tells us that Tampa Bay Rays radio announcer Andy Freed has turned down the Mets gig. Best points out that Tom Hammond who called last night’s Broncos-Texans game on the NFL Network in place of Bryant Gumbel would be a fine replacement for Gumbel.
Laura Nachman profiles new 76ers TV analyst Bob Salmi.
Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun writes that Ravens coach Brian Billick used his radio show to break injury news.
From The State in South Carolina, Doug Nye says he has mixed feelings about Bowl season. Nye also has some TV and radio notes. And Nye’s Best Bet is tonight’s NCAA Football Championship Subdivision final.
Dave Darling of the Orlando Sentinel has his first of a three part look at the Best and Worst of the Sports Media in 2007 and this week looks at sports commercials.
David Barron in today’s Houston Chronicle has a story on MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann calling Houston “Steroids Central”.
Ed Sherman of the Chicago Tribune says the race to get the story on the air first leaves a lot of information on the floor.
Bob Wolfley in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel talks with Fox Sports’ Daryl Johnston who will call this Sunday’s Packers-Rams game with Kenny Albert and Tony Siragusa.
Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune says the Minnesota Vikings are about to become primetime darlings.
Paul Christian of the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin writes about a local TV station hiring a sports anchor right out of college.
Scott D. Pierce in the Deseret Morning News writes that ESPN’s Jesse Palmer has no respect for the Mountain West Conference.
The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Jay Posner criticizes the President of the local CBS affiliate for not choosing last week’s Patriots-Steelers game over the Chiefs-Broncos game. And here are the ratings for last week.
John Maffei in the North County Times writes that there won’t be TV or radio coverage of a local high school football championship game.
Up to Canada and the Toronto Star. Chris Zelkovich writes about City-TV’s Kathryn Humphreys who was unceremoniously dumped last month only to make a triumphant return this month with a new contract and increased responsibilities.
And William Houston of the Toronto Globe and Mail writes about a shakeup at the Score TV network.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell talks with MLB President and COO Bob DuPuy.
The Sports Media Watch blog gives the weekend ratings predictions. It appears that the WNBA and Indy Racing League will get additional exposure on ABC next year. And Paulsen looks at the front pages of the nation’s newspapers in the wake of the Mitchell Report. Finally, the blog wonders why ESPN gave Roger Clemens the benefit of the doubt yesterday while Barry Bonds did not.
Those are your links. Some other regular Friday stuff coming up.
Let’s give you some links today.
USA Today’s Michael McCarthy discusses Kirk Herbstreit’s inaccurate report on LSU coach Les Miles this past weekend.
In his blog, Newsday’s Neil Best has more on his Sunday column with Keith Olbermann.
Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun writes in his Medium Well blog about the NFL Today crew wearing 21 buttons to remember Sean Taylor.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell looks at the financial winners of the BCS.
In his Four DVRs, no waiting blog, the Houston Chronicle’s David Barron writes from New Jersey, one night after visiting the NFL Today and Football Night in America.
The Sports Media Watch blog looks at the ratings of past BCS Selection Shows on both ABC and Fox.
David Goetzl of the Media Daily News reports that even with a small viewership, the NFL Network led the four over the air networks in the 18-49 demographic last Thursday night for the Packers-Cowboys game.
Here’s another editorial saying fans lose out in the NFL Network vs. cable dispute, this one from The Day of New London, CT.
Bill Jordan of the Biz of Football website reports that a petition is circulating online appealing to the NFL Network to make their games available online for everyone.
Dusty Saunders of the Rocky Mountain News (which has gone through a web redesign) writes about Cris Collinsworth, Keith Olbermann and completing the NBC trifecta, Bob Costas.
And NBC gives us some quotes from last night’s Football Night in America show.
Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star is on a jihad against NFL announcers who talk too much.
That will do it for now. I’ll be working on a recap for last night’s episode for The Amazing Race. See you later.
Got a late start plus my computer decided to go down so this is late, but better late than never.
Starting with Neil Best of Newsday, his Sunday column is about NBC’s Keith Olbermann who is hitting his stride with Football Night in America.
Phil Mushnick of the New York Post flings some barbs at ESPN again.
Ryan Autillo of the Toledo (OH) Blade talks with ESPN SportsCenter anchor and Ohio native John Buccigross.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel talks with CBS’ Phil Simms about a subject he knows well, NFL QB’s.
Jeffrey Flanagan of the Kansas City Star has some quotes from last night’s college football broadcasts including the Big 12 Championship. And Flanagan says Bryant Gumbel does not deserve the play-by-play role for the NFL Network.
Some more NFL Network links for you. The Press-Register in Alabama comes out swinging against the NFL Network in an editorial.Mark Brown of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that a little known TV station will be getting some ratings this Thursday when WPWR carries the Redskins-Bears game off the NFL Network. Kathleen Nelson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch compiles information for a story that says nothing much is going right for the NFL Network. Charles Bricker of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel actually likes Bryant Gumbel and the entire NFL Network presentation. John Kelso of the Austin (TX) American-Statesman says Cowboys owner Jerry Jones should provide fans rides to and from sports bars so they can see the NFL Network.
Jeff Elliot of the Florida Times-Union says the Jags-Colts game gets “A” team treatment as CBS sends its top announcing and production crew to cover the contest.
Dave Caldwell of the New York Times writes that the New York Islanders will be broadcasting games in Mandarin Chinese and hope to get at least one game broadcast in China.
That’s it. I’ll be finishing up my The Amazing Race Asia 2, Episode 2 recap today. Keep it here.
I went to a jobsite today so I wasn’t in during the morning. Time to do some links now.
Let’s look at the ratings from the weekend. First, Michael Hiestand of USA Today looks at the ratings for selected events. Second, Paulsen with the Sports Media Watch blog has more of an in-depth look. After two weeks of the NFL season, CBS is enjoying higher ratings for the AFC while NBC’s and Fox’ ratings are down. And MLB on Fox with the Yankees-Red Sox ebbed a downward trend. And the Sports Media Watch blog says the ratings for the first leg of NASCAR’s Chase for the Nextel Cup were surprisingly low. In Boston, Susan Bickelhaupt of the Globe writes that Boston watched the Patriots over the Red Sox as both played at the same time Sunday night.
Dennis Wyatt of TV Sports Daily says analysts like Emmit Smith, Michael Smith, Deion Sanders, Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley do African-Americans a disservice by not speaking properly. Wyatt himself is African-American. Very thought provoking article.
Bob Raissman in today’s New York Daily News says Fox’ Pam Oliver captured the mood on the New York Giants’ sidelines on Sunday.
Newsday’s Neil Best writes about a calmer Tom Coughlin on the Giants sidelines didn’t go unnoticed by the Fox production truck and ESPN’s Chris Mortensen being way off on the Eli Manning will he/won’t he start story on Sunday. In his blog, Best previews a story on tonight’s Real Sports on HBO. Best also name drops ESPN’s Mike Tirico from a conference call Monday.
John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury News has an entry in his Morning Buzz blog about the Real Sports segment on Eagles QB Donovan McNabb.
Brian Vanderbeek in the Modesto (CA) Bee says he enjoys watching college football.
In his “Globetrotting” blog, the Chicago Tribune’s Phillip Hersh praises ESPN for airing the entire the Women’s World Cup live.
ESPN’s Karl Ravech is the subject of an article of his alma mater’s school newspaper, the Binghamton University Pipe Dream.
Alan Pergament of the Buffalo News says a legendary city sports anchor was not allowed to say goodbye to his viewers.
Natalie Finn of E! Online reports that MSNBC’s and Football Night in America’s Keith Olbermann is back at home after having surgery for a ruptured appendix. Get well, Keith.
The Burlington (NC) Times-News picks up a story from Barry Smith of the Freedom News Service about the dispute between Time Warner and sports channels, NFL Network and MASN.
That’s it for now. Primetime Viewing Picks next.
Let’s give you some links on this Monday afternoon.
Starting with the Capital Times from Wisconsin, Jeff Richgels writes that DirecTV is going to add the High Definition feeds of the Big Ten Network, NFL Network and FSN Wisconsin by the end of this year. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that ESPN2 will pick up the Ohio State-Minnesota game on September 29. On that same date, the Big Ten Network will pick up Michigan-Northwestern at noon and either ESPN or ABC will take the Michigan State-Wisconsin game. And from the Big XII, ABC will broadcast the Kansas State-Texas game also on September 29.
The Huntsville (AL) Times reports that College Gameday will be in Tuscaloosa for the Georgia-Alabama game.
NBC’s Sunday Night Football helped to bring the Emmy Awards on Fox down to its lowest ratings in the last decade.
If you were watching Football Night in America last night, you may have noticed Keith Olbermann was not on the show. Here’s the reason.
Bill Briggs writes an article for MSNBC on how football has become America’s Game thanks to marketing and TV.
Ray Frager in his Baltimore Sun Medium Well blog writes about the cheating discussion on the network pregame shows.
Jeffrey Flanagan of the Kansas City Star blogged the Chiefs-Bears game on CBS yesterday.
John Mehno of the Beaver County (PA) Times writes that FSN Pittsburgh is seeing falling ratings for Pirates games.
Della de Lafuente of Adweek writes about putting a face on Hispanic Sports Talk Radio.
I think that will do it. Maybe there will be an update tonight. I’m not sure.
You had a feeling that we would hear the return of John Dennis & Gerry Callahan on WEEI today and that’s exactly what happened. Usually, I don’t have WEEI on my clock radio first thing, but I made sure it was on just to make sure I would be able to hear them. Lo and behold, D&C were back. They said they would be back for five more years. In addition, the guys talked about stuff that Gerry could not for the last four months. Gerry’s voice at first was ok, but as the morning wore on, the raspiness returned. If you ask me, I think WEEI’s parent company, Entercom signed D&C a couple of months ago, but held them back until today. That’s me. Perhaps the two sides did come to an agreement last week, however, with Entercom’s track record of publicity stunts, I remain skeptical.
But David Scott of Boston Sports Media Watch did his homework during the weekend and confirmed that negotiations took place bringing an agreement. And he also gave details of the agreement late last night. Then he blogged the first hour of the show early this morning starting at the ungodly time of 5:45. Scott’s second entry started at about 40 minutes later and the last entry coming at 6:45 a.m. Kudos to David for doing yeoman’s work over the weekend.
And the following links as well as the David Scott entries come courtesy of Boston Sports Media Watch. Susan Bickelhaupt of the Boston Globe has one version of the contract agreement. From the crosstown Boston Herald, Jessica Heslam has a more extensive story. And John Molori of Boston Sports Media Watch talks with NBC Sunday Night Football producer Fred Gaudelli.
Bruce Allen who runs Boston Sports Media Watch gets up earlier than I do and is more devoted than I am to blogging. He’s the best when it comes to providing links.
In regards to the problems with DirecTV’s Supercast service, I have sent an e-mail to DirecTV asking what happened yesterday. When I get a reply, I’ll pass it along here.
Hey! Neil Best of Newsday is back and he’s blogging with a vengeance. LOL! He started at 8:15 this morning re-introducing himself. Best says he corrected Keith Olbermann about a story that was relayed on Football Night in America last night. Best did go to ESPN back in August as part of the media seminar that David Scott blogged about last month. He writes about the “Who’s Now” segment (and notice the picture of Jessica Alba… Neil’s using pictures of beautiful women again …). Did you know Best was on the 25 hour marathon college pre-game show last month? I didn’t, but Neil wants you to know he was on. At 3:25 a.m. No wonder I didn’t know. That’s just a sampling of his entries from today! As of this writing, he has posted 10 times! Best wants to get his audience back. LOL.
From the Sports Media Watch, Paulsen looks at last year’s numbers for the NFL on CBS and Fox.
The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick says tonight’s Monday Night Football doubleheader on ESPN is the most important telecast in the series history. I wouldn’t go that far. Mushnick is hoping that there won’t be any guests in the booth and according to Michael Hiestand of USA Today, there won’t be at least for tonight. And Hiestand’s main focus of this morning’s column is the ripping rookie analyst Bill Cowher took in the NFL Today studio on CBS. The part about MNF is at the bottom of the column.
From the Los Angeles Daily News, Tom Hoffarth talks with Justin Gimelstob who’s retiring from tennis this year and is about to enter the TV booth as an analyst. And Hoffarth expands on his original story on Gimelstob in his Farther Off the Wall blog. Hoffarth posts a video showing Gimelstob interviewing Andy Roddick at the US Open.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times writes about NBC’s Bob Costas making a special guest appearance on Fox NFL Sunday during a Frank Caliendo sketch.
Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star says there was a lot of hot air being spouted during NFL broadcasts yesterday.
Let’s get to a couple of links about the Big Ten Network. Tom Witosky of the Des Moines Register says Mediacom Cable is suggesting that the University of Iowa should help pay for putting on the Big Ten Network. That’s right. Have taxpayer money fund carrying a cable channel. Come on. Derek Levarse of the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader even though BTN has signed Dish Network, the channel is still having trouble getting cable to sign up.
There’s a lot of stuff out there, but I have to stop for now. I’ll have an afternoon update.
Time to give some links today from the morning papers.
Starting with Jim Williams in his Examiner blog, he writes about Keith Olbermann’s return to sports TV broadcasting with his Countdown show and subsequent appearance on Football Night in America.
In the New York Times, Richard Sandomir writes about a New Era Yankees cap that was pulled from stores shelves because it is associated with gang colors.
The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick gets on the Cleveland Browns for making an effort to curb drunks at their home games. You’re reaching, Phil.
From the New York Daily News, Bob Raissman wonders if Tiki Barber will become gunshy on NBC’s Football Night in America after he criticized former teammate Eli Barber last week.
Newsday’s Neil Best has a column today and he writes about New York’s lack of interest in college football.
Updating you on the Big Ten Network/cable dispute, Dan Chalk of the Midland (MI) Daily News says BTN and Charter are still talking just four days before the launch of the channel. Peoria (IL) Journal Star columnist Kirk Wessler is a bit harsh on Big Ten Commish Jim Delaney saying he’s to blame for the fact that BTN is not on most of the Midwest’s cable systems. From the Centre (PA) Daily Times’ Centre Squawker blog, Adam Smeltz takes a look at the public relations war between the Big Ten Network and Comcast. And Smeltz says Comcast and the Big Ten are far apart in reaching an agreement. Peter Alpern of the Chronicle-Telegram (OH) writes about the clash between BTN and the cable industry. While major companies like Comcast, Charter, Time Warner and Bright House have balked carrying BTN, Horizon View has not and Loren Genson of the Chillicothe (OH) Gazette has a story on that company making room for the channel. Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press says BTN has a chance of success because of its President, Mark Silverman. Dick Farrell of the New Philadelphia (OH) Times- Reporter sides with Time Warner in this dispute. In an editorial, the Lafayette (IN) Journal and Courier says this whole thing between Comcast and the Big Ten is all about money. Eric Stark of the Lancaster (PA) New Era says Comcast’s ploy to keep the Big Ten Network off basic cable is about turning a profit.
Geoff Mott of the Saginaw (MI) News has a story on former Michigan man Desmond Howard adjusting to his role on ESPN’s College Gameday pregame show. John Lafayette of TV Week writes about a new interactive promotional campaign for College Gameday.
Alan Pergament of the Buffalo News writes that Time Warner Cable has picked up ESPNU in time for the college football season.
That’s it for today. I’ll have Videos of the Week sometime later. Check back.
My computer has been slow as molasses this afternoon and this is despite rebooting it several times. So this update may be short and I’ll give a full-fledged update tonight.
Let’s start with some press releases from CBS Sports. First, the network televises its final NFL exhibition game tonight (New England at Carolina) and in the release, CBS gives its announcer assignments for Weeks 1 and 2 of the NFL regular season. And CBS hypes televising the US Open for the 40th consecutive year.
XM Satellite Radio will have coverage of the US Open with Bud Collins and Virginia Wade. Play-by-play begins with the women’s semis and concludes with the men’s finals.
NBC Universal tells us that USA Network will provide 107 hours of coverage of the US Open starting Monday at 11 a.m. ET. And the last press release from NBC, it will cover both beach volleyball and the World Track & Field Championships this weekend.
Speaking of the World Track & Field Championships, it will be seen on both NBC and Versus, but if you want to see the event on your own pace and schedule, they can be seen online at WCSN.com. You will have to sign up and pay, but you can watch the events uninterrupted and with a minimum of commercials. I have watched track & field, swimming and cycling on WCSN and the quality of the webcast is pretty decent.
This story was reported by Richard Sandomir in today’s New York Times, but Paulsen in the Sports Media Watch expands on it. Faith Hill replaces Pink as the performer to sing NBC’s “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night” theme for Sunday Night Football. It’s not an earth-shattering story, but in the duel between Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football, NBC wants people to sing its theme rather than the well-established “All My Rowdy Friends” theme done for MNF. And Paulsen gives you his predictions for this weekend’s sports viewing.
In his Watch This! blog, the Examiner’s Jim Williams says the Fox Saturday Baseball matchups are the highlight of the sports weekend.
Darren Rovell of CNBC goes over the Comcast vs. Big Ten Network battle which seems to be really heating up. In the Michigan State insider blog, Steve Grinczel says the Big Ten Network is proceeding without Comcast. BTN has cut a deal with Dish Network. John Pozenel of the Saginaw (MI) News urges fans to call Charter Communications to get BTN. Dave Goetzl of the Media Daily News writes that cable will lose subscribers if the dispute with BTN continues (scroll down to the 4th story on the page). Mark Alesia of the Indianapolis Star says fans of many Big Ten schools will be in the dark for their season openers. Steve Donohue of Multichannel News has more on the BTN-Comcast debacle. Also from Multichannel News, Linda Haugsted says Comcast took a hit for using sneaky PR tactics in posting on internet message boards. In the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin, Paul Christian says BTN will launch with few viewers.
By the way, here’s the schedule for the Big Ten Network for the first three weeks of the season.
BIG TEN NETWORK FOOTBALL SCHEDULE: WEEKS 1-3
Saturday, September 1
Appalachian State at Michigan, Noon EDT (HD)
Youngstown State at Ohio State, Noon EDT (HD)
Florida International at Penn State, Noon EDT (HD)
Northeastern at Northwestern, Noon EDT
Bowling Green at Minnesota, 8 p.m. EDT (HD)
Indiana State at Indiana, 8 p.m. EDT (HD)
Saturday, September 8
Akron at Ohio State, Noon EDT (HD)
Nevada at Northwestern, Noon EDT (HD)
Bowling Green at Michigan State, Noon EDT (HD)
Miami (Ohio) at Minnesota, Noon EDT
Eastern Illinois at Purdue, Noon EDT
Western Illinois at Illinois, 7 p.m. EDT (HD)
Syracuse at Iowa, 8 p.m. EDT (HD)
Saturday, September 15
The Citadel at Wisconsin, Noon EDT (HD)
Buffalo at Penn State, Noon EDT (HD)
Akron at Indiana, Noon EDT (HD)
Duke at Northwestern, 8 p.m. EDT (HD)
As usual, we’ll keep an eye on this as the launch approaches next Thursday.
John Ryan in his Morning Buzz blog in the San Jose Mercury News makes a correction from an earlier post. NBC in fact, made it for West Coast writers. The special edition of Countdown on Sunday will be seen after the NFL exhibition game at 10 p.m. PT. Ryan also replies to posters who snapped at him and rightly so.
William Houston of the Toronto Globe and Mail writes about the upcoming Canada-Russia junior hockey series which will be aired on both TSN and rival Rogers Sportsnet. This would be like ESPN and TBS sharing the NBA playoffs … oh wait! They do that already! LOL.
In the crosstown Toronto Star, Chris Zelvovich says Mixed Martial Arts fighting isn’t going away any time soon.
Well, my computer held up well enough to make this the full-fledged update for today. Nice. I’ll have primetime and late night viewing choices coming up.
Some interesting stuff happening tonight.
Let’s start with some news other than the sports media. Patriots QB Tom Brady is welcoming a son into the world. Former girlfriend Bridget Moynahan gave birth tonight. Brady left practice today and flew out to Los Angeles to be with Moynahan. It’s not known if he made it in time for the birth.
Despite not having an NBA or NHL franchise, Harrah’s Entertainment announced today it will partner with AEG to privately finance a new arena to be built on the Las Vegas strip. It is hoped the arena will attract a pro franchise, but CNBC’s Darren Rovell warns this may not be a good idea given the current climate in both leagues. Harrah’s hasn’t been making good decisions recently. Just last year, the company tried to get a casino built in West Warwick, RI, but it was soundly rejected during a voter referendum.
When Keith Olbermann makes his NBC debut this Sunday with a special edition of MSNBC’s Countdown before Sunday Night Football, don’t expect to see it NFL-heavy. The Sports Media Watch blog says it will be business as usual for the snarky news program. William Houston of the Toronto Globe and Mail has his take on Olbermann.
Randy Petersen of the Des Moines Register says while Iowa residents may not be able to watch the Big Ten Network, it appears University of Iowa students will. And the Consumerist blog has its take on the fake anti-BTN posting by Comcast on Big Ten message boards.
Kimberly Nordyke of the Hollywood Reporter has more on the agreement to put the NFL Network’s NFL Total Access program on MyNetworkTV on Saturday nights through the Super Bowl.
That’s it for this edition. Good night. See you Thursday.
Here are some links for you today.
Even though the Big Ten Conference is having trouble launching its channel, other college conferences are looking into launching channels of their own. Michael Smith and John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal report that the Southeastern Conference may forge ahead with plans to launch a channel and that current TV syndicator, Lincoln Financial Sports, could be a partner in that venture. The SEC’s contracts with CBS and ESPN expire in 2009 and it’s expected both will renew. But LFS whose contract also expires in 2009 may turn over its rights to the SEC a year early and sign up with Comcast to help distribute a SEC channel. Charter may also be involved and of course, keep an eye on Fox which owns a 49% stake in the Big Ten Network. We’ll monitor this over the next few weeks.
Michael McCarthy of USA Today looks at the TV ratings of selected sports telecasts.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell says big money donations to college athletic departments such as Nike’s Phil Knight to the University of Oregon won’t pay dividends right away, but certainly down the road.
NBC Sports has signed an agreement with the Associated Press to be the exclusive news agency to distribute NBC-produced content and stories for the 2008 Summer Olympics. Paul Gough of the Hollywood Reporter has more.
Wayne Friedman of TV Watch wonders if big ticket events like the Olympics are worth the money for advertisers.
ESPNU has gained carriage agreements with Time Warner Cable in New York and New Jersey to be placed on the digital basic tier. Big win for ESPNU. According to the press release, ESPNU is available in 20 million homes nationwide.
ESPN Radio has named a new Senior Vice President/General Manager.
XM Satellite Radio is getting ready to kickoff college football season with games from six of the BCS conferences starting August 30. The Orbitcast blog which keeps track of all things satellite radio has more.
Sanford Nowlin of the San Antonio Express-News looks into another round in the battle of the NFL Network vs. Time Warner, Cablevision and Comcast.
John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury News writes in his Morning Buzz blog that he feels Keith Olbermann and NBC’s Football Night in America is a strange fit and even more so with a special edition of MSNBC’s Countdown being aired this Sunday before the NFL preseason game. But as one poster commented, perhaps Ryan forgot of Olbermann’s past work with ESPN and Fox Sports.
I love Gregg Easterbrook’s TMQ (Tuesday Morning Quarterback) on ESPN.com. It usually runs from August until February during NFL season with two special editions for the NFL Draft. This week, Gregg writes about the disparity between the NFL and NBA. As usual, Gregg is right.
Good amount of links and we’re doing well even without having Neil Best of Newsday on which to depend. Primetime viewing picks coming up.
Lots of stuff to give you.
First, Michael Vick has agreed to a plea agreement and possible prison time. The Feds had recommended he serve 18 – 36 months in a Federal penitentiary, but Vick’s attorneys wanted that reduced to under a year. According to CNN, he’s expected to plead guilty at U.S. District Court in Richmond, Virginia next Monday. CNBC’s Darren Rovell explores the recent popularity of Vick in both Google hits and eBay sales despite the negative stories regarding his alleged involvement in dogfighting.
The Sports Media Watch blog looks at the overnight weekend ratings for the sporting weekend. MLB on Fox dropped for the 8th week in a row despite having the Yankees back on the schedule.
And thanks to Sports Media Watch, we find from the New York Times that Keith Olbermann will host a special Sunday primetime edition of his MSNBC program, Countdown on parent network NBC just before the Philadelphia Eagles-Pittsburgh Steelers NFL exhibition game next week. I don’t find that to be necessarily a good lead-in. Will Countdown be more sports oriented that night? I do like watching Countdown on MSNBC every once in a while, but having Keith pontificate on politics before the NFL? I don’t know if that will work. I know NBC is trying to reintroduce Keith to sports audience, but that can be done another way. Here’s the press release from NBC Universal.
DirecTV will offer some 300 hours of the US Open later this month from USA Network including interactive features and multiple channels. They did this last year, but the satellite pay service is devoting five channels to the Grand Slam tennis event.
David Barron of the Houston Chronicle reports in his blog, “Four DVR’s, no waiting” that today was a tough opening day for the city’s 4th sports radio station. And Barron says Jim Rome will broadcast live from Houston tomorrow.
PGA Tour.com has relaunched its website in time for its “playoff” run which no one understands.
CBC Sports czar Scott Moore is apologizing profusely for cutting away from the Saskatchewan-Edmonton CFL game Saturday night only allowing residents in Saskatchewan and those who had online access to watch the rest of the broadcast. The CBC aired the game to the entire nation from the point when it cut away earlier this morning.
That’s it. I’ll give you the viewing picks in a few.
Greetings from my steaming office. Air conditioning is still down, but I’m dealing. Wanted to thank Darren Rovell of CNBC.com who sent me a very kind e-mail the other day. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I link to his blog quite often and it was nice of him to send me a note. Thanks, Darren.
Speaking of Darren, he has an entry on the money Brady Quinn of my beloved Cleveland Browns lost by being picked number 22 in the NFL Draft. Quinn finally signed a contract yesterday after holding out for an extended period of time. In this Browns fan’s opinion, Quinn was an idiot for holding out for so long.
A quick note on the Barry Bonds 756th home run last night. I subscribe to MLB Extra Innings on DirecTV so I watched the coverage from FSN Bay Area. Duane Kuiper had a very nice understated call. The camera work from FSN was very good. They had all the angles covered. And I thought a nice touch was the video from Hank Aaron congratulating Bonds on breaking his record. Aaron may not have been at Pac Bell Park (or whatever the hell they’re calling it these days), but sending a video message was class. However, Commissioner Bud Selig copied the late Bowie Kuhn by not being at the park for the moment. While Selig was in San Diego for home run 755, he should have been in San Francisco for number 756. Selig may not like Bonds and he has shown his disdain by not applauding number 755, but at least show up. Bud is definitely the most incompetent Commissioner in sports. I didn’t see ESPN2′s coverage, but I’m sure the calls are on YouTube. Find them now before MLB takes them down.
The Sports Media Watch blog has a roundup of the Bonds coverage from last night. Neil Best of Newsday in his blog says the ESPN2 crew including Dave O’Brien and the lovely Erin Andrews can all go home now. Richard Sandomir of the New York Times says ESPN2′s crew of Rick Sutcliffe and Dave O’Brien offered balance in calling the historic home run. The Berkshire (MA) Eagle talked with O’Brien before last night’s game. And here are the transcribed calls from O’Brien and FSN’s Duane Kuiper.
To the links, Michael Hiestand of USA Today tells us about NBC’s huge effort to bring the 2008 Summer Olympic Games to the American viewing public. Over 3,600 hours on both the networks of NBC Universal and online will be made available. I like that. Here’s the press release from NBC Sports. And NBC has launched its website for the Beijing Olympics as the Games are officially a year from today. The New York Times also offers a story on the online coverage. John Dempsey of Variety writes about the huge initiative of NBC Sports to cover these Olympics.
Here’s another cable company vs. a RSN battle. Tim Povak of the Orlando Sentinel writes that Orlando Magic fans may not be able to watch 35 games as they go to FSN Florida from an over the air channel. FSN does not have an agreement with Bright House cable.
William Houston in the Toronto Globe and Mail writes that Craig Simpson leaves his job as an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oilers to be reunited with Jim Hughson on Hockey Night in Canada. The two worked together previously on Rogers Sportsnet.
Also launching will be a new version of ESPN360, the online site for the Alleged Worldwide Leader. Adam Thompson of the Wall Street Journal writes about ESPN relaunching the site next month, but at the same time suffering from a lack of visitors because of a faulty business model. Thompson says ESPN360 has led to confusion and its hoped that the relaunch will clear that problem. Staci Kramer from PaidContent.org also has a story on the new site which will focus more on live events instead of archived programming.
Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune writes that MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann had an opportunity to move to Chicago in 1996, but the opportunity slipped away.
Crosstown, Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times says while David Beckham may have “lost” to Tiger Woods in ESPN’s silly and fake “Who’s Now” competition, his impact on global sports is real.
TNT offers 60 hours of live TV and online coverage of the PGA Championship. John Consoli of Mediaweek also talks about the online coverage which will be available on CBS.Sportsline.com and PGATour.com. John Stancavage of the Tulsa World newspaper writes about CBS and TNT providing the world feed for the PGA Championship.
The Big Ten Network has completed its on air lineup which includes Roger Twibell of ESPN/ABC and Scott Graham, formerly of the Philadelphia Phillies. Evan Weiner of the New York Sun writes about the Big Ten Network. Even the headline of the story says “Big East Must Consider Reorganizing for TV”, it’s more about BTN rather than the Big East. In the Burlington (IA) Hawk Eye, Susan Denk and John Bohenkamp write that time is running out for BTN to make a deal with Mediacom Cable for the August 30 launch.
Those are your links for now. I’ll have an update if it warrants.