With ABC joining in the proceedings this year, the NFL Draft will be an even bigger undertaking than it already was for the Walt Disney Company. In an interview with The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch, ESPN VP of event and studio production, Seth Markman says that the comapny’s focus will be on ensuring that ABC and ESPN offer viewers two very different products.
In order to do that, the largest production staff ever dedicated to the event will be in Nashville. The production staff of 600 is twice the size of the staff that covered the 2018 NFL. It is also larger than the production staff ESPN had on hand for Clemson’s win over Alabama at college football’s National Championship Game this year. “I think this shows how important we think this is and how much this is part of the DNA of our company,” Markham says.
As previously reported by multiple outlets, ESPN’s telecast will be anchored by its NFL analysts, while ABC’s coverage will feature Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts and American Idol’s Luke Bryan focusing on the human interest stories and ESPN’s College GameDay crew handling the football analysis.
Markman told Deitsch that he had a hard time deciding which network Kirk Herbstriet should appear on. Last year the College GameDay analyst was a part of ESPN’s NFL Draft coverage. This year though he will stay with the rest of his usual crew and appear on ABC. The only person who will appear on both the ABC and ESPN productions is draft analyst Todd McShay.
Both telecasts will feature the same reporters including Josina Anderson in Arizona, Dan Graziano in Oakland, Sal Paolantonio in New York with the Giants, Jeff Darlington in Miami, Dianna Russini in Washington, DC, and Jen Lada who will be in Gaithersburg, MD at a draft night party for Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins’s friends and family.
Behind the scenes, Disney has put in a lot of work as well. Markman says his staff has put together more than 600 highlight packages and more than 100 player personality bumps to go into and out of commercials. ESPN’s production alone will utilize 57 cameras and 70 microphones.
As for viewership, Markman told Deitsch that he doesn’t care how the audience is split between the two networks. “If a viewer is watching it on ESPN or ABC, we don’t care. As long as we are giving them the experience they want and they chose to watch it or one or the other, we will be happy.”
Warriors Fans Throw Objects At Charles Barkley On Inside the NBA Set
“Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.”
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”.
Jon Miller To Call MLB Sunday Leadoff Game On Peacock
“According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict.”
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.
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.