Rise and fire, Milwaukee Bucks fans, Gus Johnson is heading your way.
The Fox Sports announcer has been hired by the NBA franchise (and Fox Sports Wisconsin) to call 20 Bucks games during the 2015-16 NBA regular season. As of yet, Johnson does not know the specific games he will call, but he said in an interview on Monday afternoon that they’ll be a mix of home and away games. Johnson will call the NBA games in between his college football and college basketball assignments for Fox Sports 1.
Johnson said he has spent a lot of time in Wisconsin during his broadcasting career calling college football for Fox and the Big Ten Network, as well as stops in Milwaukee during his time as a Knicks radio and television announcer for MSG Networks from 1997 to 2010.
“Milwaukee was always one of my favorite places to go when I traveled with the Knicks,” Johnson said. “They have a drink there that’s pretty good. It’s called beer.”
One of the reasons Johnson said he found the 20-game gig appealing was because of the talent level on the Bucks, who finished 41-41 last year and made the playoffs.
“They have Jabari Parker coming back, Greg Monroe from the Pistons who will be a great presence inside, O.J. Mayo, Michael Carter-Williams is talented, and Jason Kidd was one of the great players of his time and a terrific young coach,” Johnson said. “I think it’s going to be a wonderful opportunity to cover a talented young team.”
Johnson said he’s taking the Bucks assignment on a year-by-year basis “but in my heart of hearts, I hope this is something I get an opportunity to do for a long time.”
Along with the Johnson hire, the Bucks will also add another announcer with experience at the network level. Marques Johnson, who was drafted No. 3 overall by Milwaukee in 1977 and was a three-time All-NBA Player while with the Bucks, will serve as an analyst on approximately 55 local telecasts. Johnson has previously worked as a college basketball analyst at Fox Sports and has also done studio work for the Lakers and Clippers broadcasts. The longtime Bucks television announcers are Jim Paschke and Jon McGlocklin, who return for their 30th season of calling games and will work the FSW broadcasts not involving the firm of Johnson & Johnson. Bucks management said they added the two Johnsons as part of an ownership effort to have a network-caliber broadcast.
How did Johnson end up getting the Milwaukee assignment? Johnson said he was contacted by Mike McCarthy, the former CEO of the St. Louis Blues and a longtime executive for MSG Networks (where he and Johnson worked together). McCarthy asked Johnson if he was interested in returning to call NBA games. After Johnson told him he was, McCarthy said the Bucks could be interested as well, and the two sides eventually came to an agreement.
“I’m going to be myself and bring what I bring to the table,” Johnson said, “I’m calling the best basketball in the world and I’ll hopefully come up with a new vision of the game because I have been away from it for so long. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be part of this organization, which is on the rise, and to be back in the National Basketball Association. I missed it.”
Credit to Sports Illustrated who originally published this article
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
NHL Ratings on ESPN, TNT Down in 2nd Year
So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season.
Viewership totals from ESPN and TNT show NHL ratings have declined heading into the All-Star break, but there are some extenuating circumstances for the nearly 22% drop.
So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season. However, both channels have increased their linear television schedule, doubling from 27 games to 54.
ESPN has aired 18 games with an average of 402,000 viewers. In the same time period last year, the worldwide leader had only aired seven contests, but garnered 622,000 per game. None of ESPN’s games last season had aired on weekends, while the network has broadcast six games on Sunday this year alone. The 12 games ESPN has aired that weren’t on Sunday have averaged 491,000 viewers.
The 2023 NHL All-Star Game will air on ABC Saturday, and the network is hoping for a lift from last season. In 2022, ratings fell 38% from the previous All-Star Game on NBC, and hit the lowest total since 2009. The NHL Skills challenge saw its largest audience in a decade after airing on ESPN in primetime on a Friday evening. Nearly 1.1 million watched the skills challenge, a 30% increase compared to 2020.
At this time last season, TNT had aired 20 games. Through 36 games this season, the network has seen an average of 359,000 viewers. The network is helped by the 2023 Winter Classic, which took place at Fenway Park on Monday, January 2nd. The afternoon contest saw an audience of 1.78 million, up 31% compared to the previous year.
AFC Championship Game Delivers New Viewership High For CBS
53.1 million viewers tuned in to see the Chiefs victory over the Bengals, making it the most-watched television program since Super Bowl LVI.
The AFC Championship Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals drew a massive audience for CBS.
53.1 million viewers tuned in to see the Chiefs’ controversial victory over the Bengals, making it the most-watched television program since Super Bowl LVI. Additionally, the event is the most-watched NFL Conference Championship Game since 2017.
CBS claims the game peaked with 59.3 million viewers and was also the most-streamed live sporting event in the history of Paramount+.
With an audience of 53.1 million, CBS concludes its NFL playoff coverage averaging 40.798 million viewers for each game. That leads all networks thus far. The 2022 NFL season was the most-watched regular season on CBS in the past seven seasons.
Michael Cole to Pat McAfee: I Didn’t Know If We’d See You In WWE Again
“If you noticed I haven’t said much to anyone publicly about when you were coming because no one knew.”
WWE over the weekend held its annual Royal Rumble pay-per-view show, and in typical Rumble fashion the event didn’t go off without its fair share of surprise returns.
Among those returns was that of Pat McAfee to commentary. McAfee had last been seen on WWE television back in the summer. He took a leave of absence from his SmackDown responsibilities on Friday nights to go be an analyst on College GameDay.
McAfee’s SmackDown broadcast partner Michael Cole appeared on The Pat McAfee Show on Monday and said he honestly didn’t think Pat would go back to WWE.
“I legit did not know if you were ever gonna be back,” Cole said, alluding to the fact that McAfee is now a father-to-be as a couple of big changes in his life. “And if you noticed I haven’t said much to anyone publicly about when you were coming because no one knew.”
Cole said he had prepared to call the Royal Rumble alongside broadcast partner Corey Graves, and it wasn’t until McAfee’s name flashed on the screen in the Alamodome that Cole realized what was happening.
“Paul Levesque was in my ear and he said, ‘Are you gonna sell it?’ And I mouthed to him in the spy cam, ‘Sell what?'” Cole said. “Then I looked up and saw your video board and I’m like oh my God you’re ribbing me.”
“I didn’t even know what to say and then when I saw you were in your blazer I was legit like so excited,” he added.
Cole said even his wife, who doesn’t typically watch WWE programming, tuned in and was excited to watch Pat make his return.
“She thought I was texting her to tell her that you were coming back. I knew nothing about it,” Cole said. “She texted me and said, ‘PAT!’ right in the middle of your entrance. It was craziness dude.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.