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Apple Pursued Bill Simmons

Jason Barrett

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Does Apple want to produce its own TV shows and movies?

Maybe! Hollywood sources say the company has indeed discussed the idea with various industry executives, as Variety reported last night. That’s a whole lot different from saying it’s going to happen, though, or that it would happen at any kind of scale. “They’re kicking tires,” said one studio executive, who predicts that nothing will come of it.

Still, Apple has shown an appetite for funding entertainment content that it would own exclusively, or at least for an exclusive window.

Last year, as Apple was preparing to launch its Apple Music service, Apple exec Jimmy Iovine was floating the notion of signing up some recording artists to exclusive contracts, sources say. Instead, Apple has done much more modest exclusives — like getting the rights to a Pharrell song for a limited time.

And more recently, Apple showed interest in signing up former ESPN star Bill Simmons to an exclusive audio podcast deal. Apple media boss Eddy Cue discussed the idea a couple of times with Simmons this summer, say people familiar with the talks, who say that they were preliminary at best.

In July, Simmons ended up signing a “major exclusive multi-year, multi-platform agreement” with HBO; an HBO rep says that deal includes a podcast that should debut in October. It’s reasonable to assume that those podcasts will be available on Apple’s iTunes platform, as well as other outlets.

It’s not surprising that Cue talked to Simmons about some kind of deal in the past few months — once ESPN cut him loose in May, everyone talked to Simmons, who may be the most powerful individual voice in sports. I’m told that Yahoo, for instance, made a big push to get Simmons to work for it on its video platform.

Still, the fact that Apple made an inquiry this time around is worth noting. Maybe its conversations with other talent will go further.

Credit to Recode.Net who originally published this article

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Boomer Esiason: People Watch Stephen A. Smith ‘Because of Him and What He’s Going to Say’

“What other alternative or where else can he go?”

Barrett Sports Media

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Graphic for the Boomer & Gio Show and a photo of Stephen A. Smith

With reports coming out that ESPN had made an initial contract offer of 5 years and $90 million dollars to Stephen A. Smith, various sports show hosts have weighed in and given their opinions. Such was the case during Boomer & Gio this morning on WFAN with Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti.

“Have you seen any of this Stephen A. Smith contract stuff that’s going on?” Giannotti asked.

“I have seen it, yes,” Esiason said. “Listen, the guy works his ass off, he is definitely a firestarter for that network and quite frankly he has built himself into a one man show.”

Giannotti replied, “He’s had success. He’s one of the bigger voices in sports if not the biggest voice in sports.”

Esiason added, “What’s different about him compared to Troy [Aikman] or Tony [Romo] or somebody else – people are going to tune in to watch the football game no matter who is doing it. People are watching him because of him and what he’s going to say.”

Giannotti reviewed the report of how much was offered and mentioned the other reports that say Smtih is looking for closer to $25 million per year. He also mentioned Dan Le Batard saying he thought ESPN had lowballed Smith with the offer.

Giannotti said, “This is one of those things that is just hard to calculate. I don’t know how much money they would lose if he wasn’t there. This is something I’d love to know…how many advertising dollars, how many things that they sell because he is there equates to a loss if he leaves?”

Esiason then said, “Here’s what I would ask. What other alternative or where else can he go?” He then later added, “In our medium on a national basis…both he and Pat McAfee have brought eyeballs or attention to ESPN for different reasons, and I think that if they can extract that kind of money out of those companies, good for them. I have no problem with any of it.”

Giannotti continued to ask about the ad dollars, but Esiason explained there were a lot of other factors that come into play.

“I don’t know about the advertising,” he said. “I think it’s more about the subscription services. I think it’s more about the fact that they use him in every single aspect they possibly can…He’s on that morning show…but then he’s all over the NBA playoffs, he’s all over the NFL playoffs. He’s all over everything. I couldn’t even imagine. I know what it was like for me when I was doing NFL Today, Monday Night Football and this radio program. It was exhausting…I know that he has complained about how much he is asked to do over there.”

All of this led to a discussion about a weekly Smith guest on First Take, Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo. “I tell you what, when he is on there, I find him to be extremely entertaining,” Esiason said. “The interaction between the two of them is about as entertaining as it can get on television…If I was ‘Dog’ I would quit [SiriusXM] cuz nobody hears you and go over [to ESPN] and take a full-time spot over there and get paid.”

“I don’t know if they’re offering a full-time spot for him over there, he’s like a novelty,” Giannotti replied.

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ESPN Chicago Announces 2024 Football Fest with Adam Schefter and Field Yates

“Football Fest is the unofficial kickoff of the NFL season, and I am excited about this year’s fest, from the stars we’ll have in the room to the show we have planned.”

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Graphic for ESPN Chicago's Football Fan Fest
Graphic Courtesy: ESPN Chicago on Facebook

ESPN Chicago announced the return of Football Fest, an event they started in 2022. The 2024 edition will take place at the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana on Sunday, August 25. ESPN NFL insiders Adam Schefter and Field Yates are back as guests and will share insights and engage with fans throughout the event.

“Football Fest is the unofficial kickoff of the NFL season, and I am excited about this year’s fest, from the stars we’ll have in the room to the show we have planned,” said Danny Zederman, director of content for ESPN Chicago in a release. “We listened to fan feedback, and we’ve added new ways for fans to interact with their favorite ESPN Chicago and Bears Radio Network personalities, as well as a live onstage version of our fan-favorite, unfiltered podcast Crosstalk Unhinged with Carm, Jurko, Waddle, and Silvy.”

ESPN Chicago and Bears Radio Network personalities will be available for meet & greets with fans taking photos and signing autographs. The Good Karma Brands owned station says the event “will consist of live programming from local and national experts on the upcoming football season, fantasy football, as well as games, vendors, and more.”

$10 tickets for the event are on sale through Ticketmaster.com.

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ESPN 103.7/104.1 Unveils New Lineup; Dawson Eiserloh Gets Solo Midday Show

“Can’t wait for this new challenge that’ll begin live from SEC Media Days next month.”

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Logo for ESPN SWLA and a photo of Dawson Eiserloh
Photo Courtesy: Dawson Eiserloh X Account

ESPN 103.7 in Lafayette, Louisiana and 104.1 in Lake Charles have announced a new, all live and local weekday lineup. Local programming will now be heard from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Starting on Monday, July 15 former LSU basketball player Jordy Hultberg will move The Jordy Hultberg Show to morning drive and go from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. He will be followed by Footenotes with Kevin Foote from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The lunchtime show will still feature RP3 and Meche, hosted by Raymond Partsch III and James Meche and it will air from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. That show had also previously featured Dawson Eiserloh, however, he will now move to the 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. slot to host his own show which will be called The Lohdown with D-Loh.

Eiserloh posted on his X account, “Really excited to announce I’ll be getting a solo show weekdays from 1-3 pm on ESPN Southwest Louisiana. Can’t wait for this new challenge that’ll begin live from SEC Media Days next month.”

After Further Review with Matt Moscona will follow in afternoon drive and airs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The station also carries play-by-play for LSU athletics and the Houston Astros.

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