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.
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.”
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.
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?”
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.
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.”
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.