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Bill Simmons Is Not Done Jabbing ESPN



Bill Simmons still doesn’t know where his column will land, he said at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit on Wednesday afternoon.

Simmons, who signed on with HBO in July after ESPN opted not to renew his contract, said his new show will launch in the spring. In the meantime, he’s also working on a new show at HBO Sports (which will also be available via the company’s stand-alone streaming service, HBO Now).

It’s a slower pace for Simmons, who spent years keeping Grantland, his Web site, a regular column, podcasts, and near-constant tweeting spinning on the tip of his fingers at the same time. But it’s a welcome one.

“I still have to figure out where I’m going to write and how much I’m going to write,” he said. “The last couple years, I was trying to do too many things. I was able to do them, but when I finally left, it took a couple of months to recover from them. You step away, and you’re just like, Wow, this is great. I’m just going to to go the movies. Not working is really fun.”

It’s probably even more enjoyable after a year of disputes with ESPN, beginning when the network suspended Simmons last September for referring to N.F.L. commissioner Roger Goodell as a “liar.” In May, ESPN, which has a $15 billion broadcasting deal with Goodell’s football league, said it was cutting him loose when his deal expired.

On Wednesday, Simmons renewed his criticism of his former employer, saying that he “absolutely” believes ESPN avoided overtly criticizing the N.F.L. “The way ESPN has covered the N.F.L. for the last year has been really shaky,” Simmons said. When it comes to coverage of Ray Rice and Goodell, he said, “You didn’t really see it on ESPN. You saw it everywhere else. You start to say, ‘Wait a minute, this is their biggest partner. Are they holding back a little?’”

ESPN isn‘t the only network Simmons accused of going easy on the league, since many of them are competing for the live rights to games. “They’re not going to criticize them because they need the rights.”

Simmons also conceded that Grantland was not profitable. “It was probably like right around even,” Simmons said. “This is probably going to sound like sour grapes, but so much of it has to do with the priorities around how you sell stuff, and we were a boutique site . . . Our issue is that, when you’re a small site, you have to do quick deals. We didn’t make any money off podcasts . . . that was definitely part of the reason I started having issues.”

To read the rest of the article visit Vanity Fair where it was originally published

Sports TV News

Warriors Fans Throw Objects At Charles Barkley On Inside the NBA Set

“Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.”



TNT/Larry Brown Sports

Charles Barkley is no stranger to being the object of fans’ ire. The cities of San Antonio and Cleveland have a history of being the butt of the Round Mound of Rebound’s jokes. Thursday night in San Francisco, fans of the Warriors took things to a different level, throwing objects at Barkley on the Inside the NBA set.

The TNT studio show was broadcasting live from outside the Chase Center. The crowd chanted “Chuck, you suck!” at Barkley before the game. After Golden State clinched a birth in the NBA Finals, things got physical.

Fans threw things at the set, including a rolled-up t-shirt, which hit Charles Barkley in the back of the head. That resulted in Barkley leaving his seat and bowing up to the audience.

“Come on Chuck!” Ernie Johnson pleaded as Kenny Smith repeatedly said “Sit down Chuck.”

Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.

Now that the Western Conference Finals are over, TNT’s NBA schedule has concluded. That doesn’t mean Charles Barkley won’t return to San Francisco for the NBA Finals, but it is highly unlikely given the reception he has received there.

Barkley spent most of the postseason telling Golden State fans they were annoying and need to shut up and saying the city of San Francisco has “dirty ass streets”.

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Sports TV News

Jon Miller To Call MLB Sunday Leadoff Game On Peacock

“According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict.”



Rich Eisen Show

Legendary play-by-play man Jon Miller will be returning to the national broadcast booth on Sunday. He will call the San Francisco Giants vs. Cincinnati Reds game for Peacock. He’ll be joined in the booth by Barry Larkin and Shawn Estes.

According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict. Benetti, the regular play-by-play voice of Peacock’s MLB Sunday Leadoff, is also the television voice of the Chicago White Sox. NBC Sports Chicago has prioritized this weekend’s series between the White Sox and Cubs, making Benetti unavailable to the national broadcast.

Miller has been calling Giants games since 1997 and previously shared the Sunday Night Baseball booth on ESPN with hall of famer Joe Morgan.

The broadcast, called MLB Sunday Leadoff, will begin at 11 a.m. with pregame coverage hosted by Ahmed Fareed. The game broadcast begins at 11:30 a.m.

The game will take place in an exclusive two-hour broadcast window prior to the start of the rest of the league’s day of games.

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Sports TV News

Amazon Eyeing Pat McAfee For Thursday Night Football Megacast

“No deal is done yet. A source tells McCarthy that it hinges on McAfee’s very busy schedule, but a Megacast is appealing to the former punter.’



First it was the Mannings. Now it’s McAfee. Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports that Pat McAfee could be at the center of an alternate broadcast of Thursday Night Football on Amazon in the 2022 season.

No deal is done yet. A source tells McCarthy that it hinges on McAfee’s very busy schedule, but a Megacast is appealing to the former punter.

Rumors of Amazon’s interest in McAfee began to bubble up last month. While he never directly addressed them, he did make mention on his show that he was “up to something” and insinuated that Amazon wasn’t the only company he was talking to.

McAfee has said on his show in the past that he wants to be part of an NFL broadcast. However, he is firm in that it would not be in the broadcast booth.

“I can’t call games. Not yet,” McAfee said on a show in February. “Have to be done with this show to call games. Because that’s like a 3-day, 4-day thing.” 

In addition to his daily show, McAfee is also committed to the WWE. He is on the road for Smackdown every Friday.

There is no word on exactly what a Pat McAfee-centered broadcast would look like. When reports first came out regarding discussions with McAfee, Ryan Glasspiegel of The New York Post reported that moving The Pat McAfee Show to Amazon was on the table. If that happens, it would make sense to use his entire crew on the Thursday Night Football presentation.

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