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Colin Cowherd Likely to Leave Speak For Yourself

Jason Barrett

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As first reported by Michael McCarthy of the Sporting News, Colin Cowherd’s tenure on FS1’s “Speak For Yourself” could be coming to an end. The early evening program which includes Jason Whitlock, premiered in June 2016, and is reportedly being considered for expansion from one to two hours. With Colin having a full plate already with his daily TV/radio simulcast of “The Herd”, and regular involvement of “FOX NFL Kickoff,” an exit from the show might benefit all involved.

The 54-year old Cowherd signed a four year deal to leave ESPN and join FS1 in August 2015. Programming whiz Jamie Horowitz played a huge role in recruiting and convincing Cowherd to change networks, but Horowitz was let go in July 2017. With a little more than a year left on his original contract, might this be a way to ease Cowherd’s workload and keep one of the network’s most important stars happy and fresh? ESPN Radio Senior Vice President Traug Keller confirmed on the Barrett Sports Media Podcast that the door remains open for Cowherd to return to ESPN and FS1 can’t afford at this point to lose one of its most important assets.

If Cowherd does indeed exit Speak For Yourself later this year, the question for FS1 boss Charlie Dixon becomes whether to replace his spot or make Whitlock the star and add a supporting cast around him. FS1 does have access to a number of high profile personalities including Doug Gottlieb, Chris Broussard, Ray Lewis, Tony Gonzalez, Trent Dilfer, and Jason McIntyre, plus the company has shown it’s not afraid to open up their checkbook to lure quality talent from other places.

McCarthy points out in his piece that the show is likely to feature more news-making interviews with Whitlock in the future. Some of the largest attention to come FS1’s way has been due to interviews on its shows. Conversations which have stood out include Michael Vick talking to Whitlock about Colin Kaepernick needing to get a haircut if he’s allowed back in the NFL, and Terry Bradshaw stating that Mike Tomlin of the Steelers is not a great coach. LaVar Ball’s dust up with Cowherd and Kristine Leahy was another appearance that garnered mainstream media coverage.

While the situation with Cowherd remains in flux, there are other matters to solve too. One pressing issues is figuring out who to replace Leahy with on “The Herd”. Joy Taylor has been mentioned as a possible consideration, but her exit from “Undisputed” would need Skip Bayless’ blessing. If Skip gives the green light, Holly Sonders is seen as a possible replacement for Taylor alongside Bayless and Shannon Sharpe.

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Chris Fallica Leaving ESPN for FOX

Neither FOX or ESPN would comment on the situation, but in the Awful Announcing report it’s believed that there will be a send-off of some sort for Fallica on Saturday.

Jordan Bondurant

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A prominent sports betting voice featured on ESPN’s College GameDay will be heading to rival FOX and their Big Noon Kickoff show starting in 2023. According to Awful Announcing, Chris Fallica, affectionately known as “The Bear”, will make his last appearance on GameDay will be this weekend.

Fallica has been with ESPN since 1995. Since 2013, Fallica had been featured on GameDay making betting picks with his patented “Bear’s Board”.

Neither FOX or ESPN would comment on the situation, but in the Awful Announcing report it’s believed that there will be a send-off of some sort for Fallica on Saturday.

Fallica joins Tom Rinaldi as the second former GameDay voice to jump over to FOX and be featured on Big Noon Kickoff.

Both shows have experienced incredible viewership growth this season. For GameDay, there have been several weeks this season that have seen some of the largest audiences in the show’s history.

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Tim Brando Believes Executives Look For Familiarity, Not Great Voices For Announcers

“Executives are going more for people they think they audience knows from having been in the studio. As opposed to man that’s a great voice, that guy really gets it, and his judgement is fantastic.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Tim Brando has seen the broadcasting industry has evolved in a lot of ways through the years, but one thing that’s remained constant is how infrequently some of the announcing gigs with major networks open up to younger voices.

That’s mainly because you have veteran talent already occupying those positions with no plans for the immediate future to step aside.

On a recent edition of The Sports Talkers Podcast, FOX Sports broadcaster and host Tim Brando spoke to Stephen Strom about the reality that many broadcasters face.

“Yeah there are a lot more jobs, but there are fewer great jobs,” Brando said. “A lot of guys are getting jobs, but it’s like a dead end.”

But in terms of hiring younger talent for network jobs, he thinks it’s become more about adding faces to broadcast booths rather than voices.

“There’s a tendency I think now in our business to hire more visible and perhaps more popular talent because they’ve been in the studio,” he said. “But they’re not ready to be in the booth. Not everybody can do both well.”

Tim added that there’s a nuance to calling play-by-play versus working studio coverage. Brando said that perhaps it has a lot more to do with young broadcasters bypassing getting their start in radio and going right into TV.

“It seems to me that in some circles anyway in our business, executives are going more for people they think they audience knows from having been in the studio,” he said. “As opposed to man that’s a great voice, that guy really gets it, and his judgement is fantastic.”

Brando did mention some of the younger voices at FOX who have risen to the bigger opportunities in the booth, and how they ultimately worked their way up. He said he’s had the chance to offer advice to a few of them and act as a mentor in a way, because that’s how it was for him breaking into the industry.

“I believe in pouring into the young broadcasters out there, I really do,” he said. “Because Curt Gowdy poured into me. I think there’s a responsibility and a level of accountability for the generation before to help those that are coming up that you really respect.”

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MLB Network Airing 38 Hours of Winter Meetings Coverage

Coverage will begin on Sunday at 7 p.m. with MLB Tonight leading into the announcement of the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee’s election results for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Jordan Bondurant

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The annual winter meetings for MLB are set to take place in-person for the first time since 2019 next week, and MLB Network is ready to bring viewers all the coverage possible from San Diego.

The network is devoting 38 hours of live programming on-site, with shows like MLB Tonight, Hot Stove, High Heat, MLB Now and Intentional Talk emanating from the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel.

Coverage will begin on Sunday at 7 p.m. with MLB Tonight leading into the announcement of the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee’s election results for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Fans tuning in to MLB Network can expect to see Greg Amsinger, Fran Charles, Brian Kenny, Stephen Nelson, Alanna Rizzo, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, Lauren Shehadi and Matt Vasgersian hosting their respective shows throughout the week. Sean Casey, Mark DeRosa, Al Leiter, Cameron Maybin, Kevin Millar, Dan O’Dowd, Steve Phillips and Harold Reynolds will contribute coverage as analysts.

MLB Network will also carry coverage of the inaugural draft lottery from the winter meetings on Tuesday, December 6 at 8:30 p.m.

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