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ESPN Extends Deal With Caliendo

Jason Barrett

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Comedian Frank Caliendo, one of the country’s top impressionists, has reached a new contract extension to remain with ESPN. He will continue to be featured primarily on ESPN’sSunday NFL Countdown during the 2015 NFL regular season and playoffs.

Since joining ESPN as a Countdown contributor in 2012, Caliendo has consistently produced memorable and humorous segments on the popular NFL pregame show. Before Super Bowl XLIX, he filed spot-on impersonations of several former NFL coaches in a faux profile of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick titled “Frank Caliendo Goes Under The Hoodie.” In 2014, Caliendo’s “Richard Sherman 30 for 30 Mockumentary” also garnered critical acclaim.

“Combining his unique humor and wit with football themes, Frank’s signature impressions add another layer to how Countdown covers the NFL,” said ESPN’s Seth Markman, senior coordinating producer who oversees the network’s NFL studio shows. “Frank’s work on the show has produced some very memorable moments in recent years and he continues to help us develop a connection with viewers.”

In addition to Countdown, Caliendo makes regular appearances on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike, and he has taped segments for SportsCenter, the NFL Draft and Jon Gruden’s QB Camp series.

“I agree with Seth Markman’s sentiment about me,” said Caliendo. “He’s a great boss – and a truly smart man.”

Prior to ESPN, Caliendo was a member of the Fox NFL Sunday team for nine seasons (2003-11). He also starred in the self-titled sketch show Frank TV on TBS in 2007-08, and has released six solo CDs. He continues to perform standup comedy at sold-out venues across the country.

For his first Countdown segment this Sunday, Sept. 13 (11 a.m. ET), Caliendo enlists the help of The Muppets – stars of the new ABC primetime series “The Muppets,” premiering Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. ET– to preview the new NFL season. While NFL teams welcome new teammates to their rosters, Caliendo welcomes Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and other Muppets to the Countdown team as they discuss key storylines entering the 2015 campaign.

Sports TV News

FOX Sued for Patent Infringement Over NFL Scheduling

“Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.”

Jordan Bondurant

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An analytics company is suing FOX over claims that the network developed a mapping tool using their patented technology to create a season slate of NFL games.

Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.

The lawsuit claims FOX used access to Recentive’s predictive analytics tools to develop a resource of their own that would create optimal schedules for its 1 and 4 p.m. NFLwindows.

The company is seeking a declaration that FOX infringed on two of its patents. Recentive is also suing for damages and wants an injunction keeping FOX from using Recentive tech and preventing the network from “selling, offering for sale, marketing or using any internal network and mapping analytics tool for the scheduling and regionalization of events covered by the patents.”

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Sports TV News

FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage

“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”

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The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.

Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.

“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.

Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.

How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.

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Sports TV News

NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake

“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”

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The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.

“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”

Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.

Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.

Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”

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