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Is ‘Garbage Time’ The Future of Sports Television?

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There’s no sphere of television more depressingly homogenous than sports broadcasting, not only in demographics, but also in formatting. Ninety percent of the content on channels like ESPN involves ex-athletes and talk-radio hosts batting around scripted talking points, and the lack of new voices is one reason there’s so little real discourse about controversial issues in sports. But since it debuted in March, Fox Sports 1’s Garbage Time With Katie Nolan has broken that pattern. Nolan’s freewheeling talk show, airing every Wednesday at midnight, stands out as much for its humor as it does for its willingness to tackle tough topics such as domestic violence and mental illness.

The 28-year-old Nolan is still in the “up-and-coming” bracket: Fox Sports 1 remains a junior competitor to the ESPN behemoth and Garbage Time is nestled deep in its schedule. After starting a sports blog while bartending in Boston, Nolan began hosting and producing shows on YouTube for Fox Sports. She graduated to “digital correspondent” for the network in 2013 before getting her own show this year. Garbage Time is a distillation of Nolan’s witty, sometimes sarcastic, always hyper-knowledgeable sportscaster persona: a kinetic mix of commentary, scripted comedy, and interviews peppered by off-screen laughs and jeers from her production crew. In the way it seamlessly and energetically switches from funny to serious, it feels more like E!’s long-running hit The Soup crossed with The Daily Show than typical sports commentary.

Mostly, Garbage Time has a looser feel, and is happy to indulge silly comedy bits as often as in-depth reporting. Its time slot works as a fun perch from which to razz the rest of sports media. After Bill Simmons’s much publicized departure from ESPN, Nolan had him briefly “take over” her show for a hastily staged bit that was as funny as it was amateurish. (Simmons has long touted Nolan as a rising star in sports media and reportedly tried to poach her for ESPN while he was there.) When Deadspin’s Greg Howard published a searing take-down of Jason Whitlock’s disastrous tenure at the ESPN site The Undefeated, Nolan had the writer on to talk about his reporting process, something that couldn’t have happened on ESPN (Fox Sports 1 now, ironically, employs Whitlock and Colin Cowherd, another ESPN cast-off Nolan has been happy to mock).

For now, Garbage Time is a lovable underdog, and Nolan is the ideal host, but she’s definitely on the rise: She just launched a popular new podcast and currently boasts 158,000 followers on Twitter. Sports broadcasting often softens the edge of its renegades, especially those climbing into higher positions—Simmons, for example, never seemed comfortable hosting NBA broadcasts for ESPN, and remains at his best when hosting a podcast. Nolan may have to strike a tougher balance in the future, but for now Garbage Time should be celebrated as the much needed rebel in the otherwise uniform world of sports TV.

Read more at The Atlantic where this story was originally published

Sports TV News

John Buccigross: Return Of NHL ‘Reenergized’ Me In ESPN Role

“I’m just grateful that I was able to get reenergized without leaving the company that I’ve worked for so long.”

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John Buccigross is probably the most thankful out of anyone that the NHL returned to the ESPN airwaves this season.

Bucci has been at the network for 25 years and was a part of the coverage team the last time ESPN had NHL broadcast rights. He told Awful Announcing that the change after the 2003-04 season really helped change his focus at the network.

“It’s probably a good thing that it went away back in 2004, because I was able to focus on SportsCenter and kind of move up the ladder there, and maybe I never would have if hockey had stayed all these years,” he said. “Maybe that was good. And then I got involved with college hockey, I asked to do play-by-play a couple of years after we lost the NHL, so I’ve been doing college hockey for over 15 years with play-by-play, hoping we would get the NHL back and then I could do NHL play-by-play.”

Now the NHL is back, the Stanley Cup Final will air on ESPN and ABC, and John Buccigross will be a part of it in some fashion. He said having the chance to pick back up where he left off all those years ago gave him a second wind in his career.

“It’s been absolutely fantastic. It couldn’t have come at a better time for me in my career, being at ESPN over 25 years,” he said. “To kind of get reenergized, reinvigorated with your job after being in the same place for 25 years, that’s probably pretty rare. I’m just grateful that I was able to get reenergized without leaving the company that I’ve worked for so long. At this stage of my career, it was just perfect timing.”

ESPN and Turner Sports replaced NBC Sports as the U.S. broadcast rightsholders for the NHL this season.

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Mark Sanchez Emerges As Potential #2 NFL Analyst At FOX

“It is believed that Joe Davis will be the play-by-play man to sit opposite either Brees or Sanchez in the booth.”

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Football season is 104 days away and FOX is still sorting out its broadcast crews for the upcoming season.

Enter former New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez as one of the top candidates being considered for the number two booth at FOX this season.

Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reported that if Drew Brees doesn’t end up in the role, Sanchez is next in line. Greg Olsen and Kevin Burkhardt will comprise the top broadcast team for FOX this season.

It is believed that Joe Davis will be the play-by-play man to sit opposite either Brees or Sanchez in the booth. Marchand reported that Sanchez made a great impression on producers in auditions and tests.

Mark Sanchez began his broadcasting career three years ago. After two seasons of covering college football for ESPN, he made the move to FOX last year.

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Tracy McGrady’s Basketball League Enters Media Partnership With Showtime

“The Showtime Basketball brand will create a behind-the-scenes documentary following the OBL’s 2022 tour.”

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Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady launched his own basketball league this year. Ones Basketball League is a touring competition to find the best one-on-one basketball players in the country. Now fans can follow the action on Showtime.

The Showtime Basketball brand will create a behind-the-scenes documentary following the OBL’s 2022 tour. The all-access series will put new episodes on the Showtime YouTube channel.

“The production and creative team at Showtime Sports knows how to build and tell stories like no one else, and the detailed background and exciting drama we have already started to capture with OBL makes this content partnership a perfect fit for us,” McGrady said in a press release. “The team at Showtime shares our excitement for putting a spotlight on one-on-one basketball and all of the great action, rich stories, and hyper-competition that flows from the game.”

OBL competitions from now until the end of the season will be documented. Each tour stop features a 2-day, 32-player competition. Three of the league’s six competitions are complete.

Showtime will be there for stops in New York, Springfield, Virginia, and Los Angeles as well as the championship tournament in Las Vegas.

“We believe in Tracy’s vision and are thrilled to be working with the OBL on their inaugural season,” Brian Dailey, SVP of Sports Programming & Content for Showtime Networks Inc, added. “This collaboration embodies the Showtime Basketball brand — premium, bold and boundary-pushing. We are delighted to welcome Tracy and the OBL team to our unmatched lineup of content and talent.”

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