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6pm SportsCenter Finds Permanent Anchors

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After rotating through a group of anchors for the 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter, following the removal of SC6, ESPN will name Sage Steele and Kevin Negandhi as permanent hosts of the show, according to Richard Deitsch of The Athletic.

A report from Andrew Marchand of The New York Post states the show will not return to being called SC6 and will instead remain as SportsCenter. Steele and Negandhi are expected to begin hosting the 6 p.m. SportsCenter beginning Monday, May 14.

The move means the SC6 era, which debuted February of 2017, officially comes to an end on ESPN. Fair or unfair, the show hosted by Jemele Hill and Michael Smith, spent a lot of time under fire due to opinions that entered topics beyond sports. Hill left the program in January of 2018, with Smith departing in March after anchoring the show solo for a little over one month.

Steele and Negandhi are stepping in at a time where the 6 p.m. SportsCenter has enjoyed a recent ratings increase, according to ESPN. During a press release regarding Stephen A Smith’s increased role with SportsCenter during the NBA Finals, the network also mentioned the 6 p.m. edition’s ratings increased by four percent in March and nine percent in April when compared to the corresponding months from one year ago. The ratings increase, promoted by ESPN, directly followed the departure of Jemele Hill and Michael Smith from the program.

The recent ratings success could put additional pressure on Steele and Negandhi to continue the trend as they step in as permanent co-anchors. It remains to be seen whether or not the new 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter will be pressed to “stick to sports,” but in a differing of opinion from SC6, Steele has shared conservative viewpoints including her disagreement with NFL players kneeling during the anthem.

Steele was also one of the few colleagues that did not support Jemele Hill during her criticisms of President Trump. “I think Jemele is a completely different story in that she put that onto herself of her own volition. Sam had been attacked,” Steele said regarding ESPN personalities being attacked for their opinions during a January interview with Refinery29. “I think that’s an important distinction.”

Steele who joined ESPN in 2007, and Negandhi who was hired in 2006 , have both worked together on SportsCenter:AM since Steele joined the program in August 2017.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports TV News

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.”

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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.

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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?”

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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