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ESPN Re-signs Everett & Verrett

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Wee-hours viewers of ESPN have for the last six years counted on Neil Everett and Stan Verrett to get them through the night. And while some other mainstays at the Walt Disney sports-media outlet have departed, this duo won’t be one of them.

Verrett and Everett, who host the 1 a.m. eastern edition of the network’s flagship “SportsCenter,” will stick with the outlet under new “multi-year” deals, ESPN is expected to unveil Friday. “I signed first,” Verrett recounted in an interview, and immediately told his partner, “I’m done. Don’t leave me!:”

ESPN likely hopes the announcement will quell the notion that top employees are leaving the network for other opportunities as its executives navigate a new playing field of sorts: maintaining cost controls as the rights fees it must pay for live-sports content escalate. ESPN has appeared in recent months to take a harder look at deals with talent, cutting ties with personality and “Grantland” founder Bill Simmons and then parting ways with Keith Olbermann after his ESPN2 program didn’t notch the ratings executives had wanted. ESPN Radio personality Colin Cowherd has also exited, though the network is said to have initially tried to keep him on board.

Verrett and Everett may not have achieved Simmons’ level of fame, but their presence at the network is an important one. They hold forth from Los Angeles, not the network’s Bristol, Conn., headquarters. As such, they lend a West Coast sensibility to their programming – which also happens to stand as the network’s last live news dispatch of the night for most of its viewers (their edition of “SportsCenter” airs several more times during overnights and into early morning).

“In Bristol, there’s a huge pool of people to pick from. On Monday, I might be announcing with this guy, with that guy directing and that person producing, and I wouldn’t even know the graphics guy,” Everett explained. “On Tuesday, I might be anchoring with her, she’s producing. You don’’ know until you go to your team meeting or your show meeting. Our show has succeeded because our collective group is in it.” Viewers understand, he added, there’s a certain bunch that handles the latenight program. “There’s a lot of us here who have been there since day one.”

ESPN launched the West Coast effort in 2009, opening a production center near L.A.’s Staples Center, in hopes of adding some geographic balance to a schedule that originated largely from the East.”It seems like we have a relationship with viewers and it’s something that we want to continue,” Verrett said.

Both anchors joined ESPN in 2000 within months of each other: Everett in July, Verrett in September.

Verrett had been a weekend sports anchor and reporter at WDSU-TV, an NBC affiliate, in his hometown of New Orleans. He has also worked as sports anchor and reporter in Norfolk, Va., at ABC affiliate WVEC-TV and NBC affiliate WAVY-TV, and was a morning show personality at several radio stations in Washington, D.C., Charleston, S.C., and Norfolk.

Everett came to ESPN after working for 15 years for various affiliates in Honolulu, most recently KGMB-TV, the CBS affiliate where he was the sports director and weekday anchor. Prior to his TV news career, Everett served as an assistant athletic director and sports information director at Hawaii Pacific University.

“The on-air chemistry Neil and Stan have can’t be manufactured,” said Rob King, ESPN’s senior vice president of “SportsCenter” and News, in a prepared statement. “It’s as authentic as it gets, and we look forward to having them as part of our team for years to come.”

Credit to Variety who originally published this article

Sports TV News

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.”

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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.

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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?”

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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.

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NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC

“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”

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ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.

ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.

This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.

Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.

“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”

ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.

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