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Remy’s Status At NESN Is Unclear

Jason Barrett

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There were many word choices by Red Sox chairman Tom Werner in his only public comments thus far regarding the decision to replace popular NESN play-by-play voice Don Orsillo with ESPN and WEEI’s Dave O’Brien next season.

But in that forum — Steve Buckley’s column last Saturday night on the Boston Herald website — there was one word in particular that practically bounded off the screen, leaving me as bewildered with Werner and NESN’s reasoning as I am with the decision itself. Here’s what Werner said: “I understand it has created some controversy. And I also understand that Don is a great broadcaster, but we felt that starting next year it was worth going in a different direction reenergizing the broadcast.”

Reenergizing the broadcast? Reenergizing it? I recognize that a vague verb such as reenergize comes in handy as corporate speak for, “We wanted to make a change, Dave O’Brien is great and his contract at WEEI is up, it’s our prerogative, and you and that little petition isn’t going to change our minds.”

What gets me is that a reenergized broadcast is precisely what NESN has had this year. What it hasn’t had, at least until the last few weeks in this long-lost season, is a particularly energized or effective baseball team, which is why ratings dipped in the second half after being the sixth highest in baseball among regional cable networks at the All-Star break.

None of this is on the broadcasters. In fact, I’d argue that Orsillo and Jerry Remy have had their most energized and enjoyable broadcasts in years. That especially applies to Remy, whose status for next year and beyond has been something of an afterthought amid the backlash regarding the graceless split with Orsillo.

If the banter between Orsillo and Remy — a huge reason for the initial growth of their mutual popularity in their 15 years together — had been minimized in recent years, well, there were understandable reasons. Remy had a recurring battle with lung cancer, which took him away from the broadcast booth for various and often extensive lengths of time. In August 2013, Remy’s son, Jared, was charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Jennifer Martel. He pled guilty in August 2014.

Remy took an immediate leave of absence in 2013 after his son was charged. Upon announcing his decision to return last January during a meeting with a small group of reporters at NESN headquarters, he acknowledged how much the job means to him.

“It’s always been my comfort zone, for 40 years. I can’t sit there. I just can’t sit in my chair [at home],’’ he said. “I’ve been there long enough already. I’ve got to be busy. I’ve got to do something to preoccupy myself. I need to do something I enjoy. And this is what I enjoy doing and I always have . . . I still enjoy it. I’m not crazy about the 4 o’clock arrivals, but the game itself I truly love, and I always have and I still do, and that’s not going to go away.”

That enjoyment of the job was not evident last year. But this year has brought back the Remy of old, an incisive, sharp analyst with a knack for recognizing what might or should happen before it does. He is back in that comfort zone, and viewers are back to being comfortable with him. He should be back next year. He deserves to be back, and he is under contract, having signed what he said was a five-year deal in April 2013.

The question remains: Will he be back? When WEEI’s Gerry Callahan broke the news of Orsillo’s departure during last Tuesday’s “Dennis and Callahan” program, he also said that Remy would work a reduced schedule next year, possibly in the range of 40 games.

Reached by phone Thursday, Remy said he could not comment on his status. When asked for comment, NESN spokesman Gary Roy referred to Buckley’s nearly-week-old Herald column. In that piece, NESN president and CEO Sean McGrail said Remy is in the network’s plans for next season, but a role hadn’t been finalized. When asked if the role would be reduced, McGrail said: “We don’t know yet. We’re working through that. We weren’t going to talk about that until October, but he will be with us, for sure.”

To read the rest of the story visit the Boston Globe where it was originally published

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Report: Netflix Looking for Production Partner for NFL Christmas Day Game Broadcasts

The report also indicates that there could be “more resistance among current NFL partners to help out Netflix” because the company may be looking to become a long-term media rights partner for the league in the future.

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Netflix will stream two National Football League games on Christmas Day this year as part of a new deal with the league that was inked ahead of the official release of the regular-season schedule. The company is starting to prepare for these matchups by reportedly reaching out to broadcasters in an effort to find a partner to produce these matchups, the first of which is an AFC tilt between the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers at 1 p.m. EST. Some of the broadcasters with whom Netflix has reportedly spoken with are ESPN, NBCUniversal and CBS Sports, according to a new report from Lillian Rizzo and Alex Sherman of CNBC.

The Walt Disney Company, which has a majority ownership stake of ESPN, will reportedly not produce these games since it has college football matchups on the same day, according to people familiar with the situation. CBS Sports and FOX Sports produce several games in different regions every week, which could make producing games with Netflix somewhat of a burden. The report also indicates that there could be “more resistance among current NFL partners to help out Netflix” because the company may be looking to become a long-term media rights partner for the league in the future. The NFL is able to opt out of its current media contracts following the 2029-30 season.

Over the years, Netflix has produced a variety of sports-related content in the form of documentaries and live specials. The company signed a media rights agreement with World Wrestling Entertainment to become the new broadcast home of the WWE Raw series beginning in 2025 reportedly worth $5 billion over 10 years.

Netflix also released the trailer for Receiver, the NFL docuseries following players on and off the field throughout the 2023-24 season, which is produced by NFL Films, Omaha Productions and 2PM Productions. The eight-episode series, which is a sequel to Quarterback, will feature Davante Adams, Justin Jefferson, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Amon-Ra St. Brown.

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Amazon Prime Video to Broadcast Weekly NHL Whiparound Show in Canada

“We are thrilled to work with NHL Productions on this new concept for hockey offering the ultimate destination for all the NHL action.”

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Courtesy: National Hockey League, Prime Video & Amazon MGM Studios

The National Hockey League and Amazon’s Prime Video have announced the creation of NHL Coast To Coast, a new weekly whiparound live look-in show airing on Thursday nights in Canada. This new program will feature live views, highlights and analysis of every NHL game on the schedule as Prime Video prepares to embark on a two-year sublicensing deal with the league and Rogers Communications to present live games on Monday nights. The series is produced by NHL Productions in collaboration with Prime Video, and more information, including details surrounding the talent and production for the show, will be revealed at a later date.

“We are thrilled to work with NHL Productions on this new concept for hockey offering the ultimate destination for all the NHL action,” Magda Grace, head of Prime Video, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement. “NHL Coast To Coast will provide fans with a comprehensive look at the latest key moments in games, as-they-happen highlights, interviews and analysis from the world of hockey featuring top players, coaches and commentators. The show will bring innovation and offer more to fans of the game than ever before, all in one place with their Prime membership.”

Earlier in the month, Prime Video and NHL Productions unveiled an untitled docuseries with Box to Box Films that will provide consumers with access to compelling players from around the league at different stages of their careers all trying to win the Stanley Cup. The series will include interviews with players, their rivals and those in their inner circle, trying to accurately depict what life is like for these players on and off the ice.

Amazon and the NHL have worked together since 2021 on their cloud-based delivery system, which has facilitated the delivery of in-game analytics and video highlights to enhance the overall fan experience. Among these ventures is the NHL Edge IQ stats portfolio that implements advanced analytical outputs to engender a better understanding of the on-ice action.

NHL Coast To Coast is yet another example of Amazon’s extraordinary investment in hockey programming and commitment to delivering an enhanced viewing experience for hockey fans,” Steve Mayer, senior executive vice president and chief content officer of the National Hockey League, said in a statement. “We are impressed with Amazon’s all-in approach to hockey and the NHL. Together with our amazing team at NHL Productions, Amazon continues to build on its mission to serve hockey fans across Canada with whiparound coverage that will make Thursday nights appointment viewing.”

Over the last several years, Amazon has expanded its presence in sports media through the acquisition of broadcasting rights within the National Football League, NASCAR, National Women’s Soccer League and Overtime Elite. The company is reportedly set to acquire media rights within the National Basketball Association’s new broadcasting deal, which is also said to include The Walt Disney Company (ESPN/ABC) and NBCUniversal, although no deals have currently been announced.

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NBC Sports Announces Olympic Commentators for Swimming, Diving, Track and Gymnastics

In swimming, Dan Hicks, covering his 14th Olympics, will once again work with Rowdy Gaines.

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Logo for the 2024 Paris Olympics on NBC

U.S. Olympic Team Trials for swimming, diving, track & field and gymnastics will be taking place from June 15-June 30 for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Those trials will be presented across NBC, Peacock and USA Network. With that, NBC Sports also announced its roster of announcers who will call those sports during the Olympics.

In swimming, Dan Hicks, covering his 14th Olympics, will once again work with Rowdy Gaines. The pair will have Elizabeth Beisel, working her second Olympics and Melissa Stark who will be working her fourth Olympics.

Jason Knapp will also provide swimming play-by-play and he will do so with Amy Van Dyken and Heathe Olson as analysts.

In diving, Ted Robinson will call the play-by-play and work with analysts Cynthia Potter and Laura Wilkinson. Andrea Joyce will serve as a reporter. Robinson will be working his 14th overall Olympics and 13th with NBC.

Track & Field will have Leigh Diffey, Paul Swangard and Bill Spaulding calling the play-by-play. Analysts for track include Ato Boldon, Sanya Richards-Ross, Kara Goucher, Trey Hardee, Lewis Johnson, Dawn Harper-Nelson and Shannon Rowbury.

Terry Gannon and Rich Lerner will be on play-by-play for gymnastics. Gannon will work the primetime show with analysts Tim Daggett, Samantha Peszek, John Roethlisberger and Zora Stephenson. Lerner will be teamed with Laurie Hernandez and Justin Spring.

The Olympics will conclude on August 11.

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