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WWE Smackdown Live to Fox in October 2019

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Fox Sports announced yesterday that it had reached a five-year agreement with the WWE to make Fox the new home of Smackdown Live. The show makes the move on October 4, 2019.

This is a move back to network television for the brand, which started on UPN in 1999. That is something WWE CEO Vince McMahon is excited about. He said in a press release “Moving SmackDown Live to broadcast TV and having the ability to leverage FOX’s extensive portfolio of world-class sporting events will expand the reach of our flagship programming.” It is fair to also wonder if this might have an effect on broadcasting rights for McMahon’s reboot of the XFL whenever they are made available.

The deal becomes official after months of speculation and speculation about how Fox would use its newest stars. After all, Smackdown Live airs new episodes 52 weeks per year. It would help to give its stars as much exposure as possible. Nothing was outlined in the press release, but media pundits have suggested WWE Superstars may show up on Fox NFL Sunday, FS1 studio shows, or even Fox News.

Smackdown turns 20 years old in 2019 and has been a consistent ratings winner. Eric Shanks, COO and Executive Producer of Fox Sports expects that trend to continue. He said in a press release “We are huge fans and know that together FOX Sports will be the leader in live events for the foreseeable future.”

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ESPN Announces Bill Walton ’30 for 30′ Documentary

The Basketball Hall of Famer is viewed as one of the more eccentric figures in sports history.

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ESPN Films announced Thursday that production has begun on a new 30 for 30 documentary focused on Bill Walton.

The Basketball Hall of Famer is viewed as one of the more eccentric figures in sports history. Combined with his basketball prowess in both college and the NBA, and his love of The Grateful Dead, politics and activism, Walton is often a divisive figure in the sports broadcast world.

ESPN says Larry Bird, Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Artis Gilmore, World B. Free,  Robert Parish, Jim Gray, Luke Walton, Jamal Wilkes, Brent Musberger, and Bob Ryan have all been interview subjects for the story.

The documentary will be directed by Steve James, who also directed Hoop Dreams, as well as Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.

No release date was revealed by ESPN. Walton has worked as a college basketball color commentator for the network since 2012. He had previously worked on ESPN’s NBA coverage from 2002-2009.

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Bob Costas Gets Choked Up While Telling a Vin Scully Story

“Just the pure love and connection was so touching,” Costas said.

Jordan Bondurant

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Bob Costas

The sports world was saddened to learn of broadcasting legend Vin Scully’s passing on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, tributes across sports media to the Dodgers icon came pouring in. Some could only hold in their emotions to the news but so well.

Bob Costas appeared on High Heat on MLB Network to remember his friend, and when talking about a particular memory that stood out in his mind, Costas got choked up.

The memory was from November 2016 when Scully received the Presidential Medal of Freedom by then President Barack Obama. Costas said Scully invited him and his wife Jill to attend the ceremony at the White House.

After the ceremony, and following an interview for CBS Sunday Morning, Costas said something wonderful happened.

“When Vin Scully walked back out of the Rose Garden and back into the White House, the conductor of the Marine Corps Band spots him and immediately he cues the band to play Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” Costas said. “But then he hands Vin the baton and Vin steps up on the podium and he’s at least figuratively conducting the Marine Corps Band.”

Costas said Scully’s wife, Sandy, photographed the moment, and then Costas started tearing up.

“Just the pure love and connection was so touching,” Costas said.

In the moment, Costas caught himself and tried to regain his composure.

“I can’t believe I’m choking up,” he said. “You’re not supposed to do that. Be professional, Bob.”

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Joe Buck Says He Tried to Convince Vin Scully to Call Part of the World Series on FOX

“If I could somehow… pay homage to somebody who’s that great and let them take my spot, man that would’ve been in the weirdest way one of the highlights of my career,” he said.

Jordan Bondurant

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Vin Scully

Vin Scully is widely regarded as one of the greatest broadcasters ever and for good reason.

Even in his later years, Scully still knew how to captivate an audience while riding solo in the broadcast booth.

Joe Buck, remembering Scully in an interview on the Sports Media podcast with Richard Deitsch, said he did his darndest to try and get Vin in the booth during the World Series one more time.

“I tried to go through intermediaries to get him to do it,” Buck said. “I said we’ll make it as easy as possible.”

But Buck said it was likely the fact that Scully didn’t want to be a distraction and work with people he’s unfamiliar with that it never happened.

“You’re coming into a completely foreign situation, and now somebody’s talking in your ear, you have no idea who the hell that is, you’re working with a director you’ve never worked with, and you’re working with an analyst you’ve never worked with and what have you,” Buck said. “But just his voice and that cadence and that rhythm and that ability to just weave stories in and whatever would’ve been so great.”

Had the moment happened, Buck said there would’ve been zero chance he’d have stayed in the booth with Scully.

“I would’ve been in the lunchroom watching it,” he said. “I wouldn’t have been hovering. I would have been gone.”

Buck, like so many others in sports media, had a unique relationship with Scully. Buck said he felt like giving Vin one more chance to be on the microphone for a World Series game was the best thing he could’ve done to recognize an icon.

“If I could somehow, because I saw it in my own home, pay homage to somebody who’s that great and let them take my spot, man that would’ve been in the weirdest way one of the highlights of my career,” he said.

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