Sports TV News
Networks Facing Major Programming Holes
“Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports notes ESPN and ABC have up to 16 regular-season NBA game windows and 44 playoff telecasts to fill. Turner Sports will have 14 regular-season NBA games and 40 playoff telecasts to replace on TNT.”
Absent from television will be many hours of daily, live sports programming, with networks left needing to fill the void created by the coronavirus impact.
According to SBJ’s John Ourand, ESPN plans to air live editions of SportsCenter all day and night on their flagship, with ESPNEWS continuing to offer its usual simulcast of First Take, Your Take With Jason Fritz, and The Will Cain Show. ESPN2 will simulcast a combination of both ESPN and ESPNEWS programming.
Consumers can usually look to sports as a distraction during times of unrest, but with the NBA, NHL, NCAA, MLB, MLS, PGA, XFL, Tennis and motorsports all suspending, postponing and canceling play, networks need to provide other content.
Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports notes ESPN and ABC have up to 16 regular-season NBA game windows and 44 playoff telecasts to fill. Turner Sports will have 14 regular-season NBA games and 40 playoff telecasts to replace on TNT. Turner, in conjunction with CBS and trueTV were also set to air all 67 games from the men’s basketball NCAA Tournament throughout March, concluding with the National Championship game, Apr. 6 on TBS.
Being an entertainment network first, Turner has an extensive library of content to pluck from and air in place of their sports offerings. ESPN is more of a news source, with viewers expecting to tune in for information especially in the immediacy of sports’ cancelations. The Worldwide Leader does also have a library of 30 for 30 documentaries and ESPN Classic content to utilize.
As we rapidly move into a time without sports, we’ve also rapidly moved into a time where the coronavirus continues to cause life-altering decisions. We saw CBS News need to evacuate their New York headquarters after two employees reportedly tested positive for coronavirus. In addition to providing information and content to the public, ESPN and Disney will similarly prioritize keeping their employees safe.
Brandon Contes is a former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
Sports TV News
Neil Everett Exits ESPN After 23 Years
“ESPN changed my life, but now it’s time for me to change my life.”
Neil Everett’s SportsCenter days are over. Front Office Sports reports that the anchor has chosen to say goodbye to ESPN after 23 years at the network.
“ESPN changed my life, but now it’s time for me to change my life,” Everett said. “Time to write a new chapter.”
The network reportedly offered Everett a new deal. Had he agreed to it, the anchor would have taken a salary reduction.
This is a significant moment for SportsCenter. Everett moving on means one of the show’s longest-tenured partnership comes to an end. He had worked with Stan Verrett since 2009.
Everett’s exit comes in the same week that it was revealed Chris Chelios would not return to the network’s NHL coverage next season. The Walt Disney Company is currently in the middle of trying to cut 7000 jobs to save $5.5 billion.
As for the future, Everett says he will seek to increase his TV role with the Portland Trail Blazers. He has been part of the team’s broadcast crew on NBC Sports Northwest for the last two years.
Sports TV News
Chris ‘The Bear’ Fallica To Make FOX TV Debut on Belmont Coverage
“Everyone I’ve worked and interacted with at the company has been so helpful and open to someone who has spent his entire professional life elsewhere.”
As the college football season was winding down, fans found out one of the foundational members of the College Gameday staff would be leaving ESPN. Chris “The Bear” Fallica left the network and has been working for FOX since the new year. This weekend during the network’s coverage of The Belmont Stakes, he will finally make his TV debut for his employers.
“It’s been great. This will be my first TV appearance, so I’m excited,” Fallica said in an interview with FOXSports.com. “But we’ve been cranking out content on the digital side since January, and I’m very happy with how the USFL picks have been going (4-0 last week for those of you counting at home). Everyone I’ve worked and interacted with at the company has been so helpful and open to someone who has spent his entire professional life elsewhere.”
Fallica, who worked for ESPN for nearly three decades, is going to be a major presence in FOX’s gambling content both on air and online. Making picks is nothing new. He had been doing it on College GameDay for years prior to his exit.
In addition to making football picks, horse racing is going to be a major part of what The Bear does for FOX. While this will be his TV debut on FOX, Fallica put the spotlight on one of his colleagues.
“It was a great decision to bring Tom [Durkin] back for this call. His voice is synonymous with the sport for a generation of racing fans, so it will be a treat to hear him call a race again.”
Durbin is coming out of retirement to call the race. This is the first year that the Belmont is airing on FOX as part of a rights deal with the New York Racing Association.
Sports TV News
FOX Reportedly Considering Replacing Reggie Bush on Big Noon Kickoff
“Marchand writes that the favorite to replace the 2005 Heisman Trophy winner is the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner. Mark Ingram II is expected to retire from the NFL and join FOX.”
It looks like changes are coming to FOX’s college football coverage. Andrew Marchand reports that the network is considering replacing Reggie Bush on Big Noon Kickoff.
Bush and the network reportedly argued over money before the 2022 season. FOX kicked the tires on multiple options, including Desmond Howard and Robert Griffin III of ESPN. Eventually, it decided to bring Bush back on a one year deal. With that deal set to expire and the two sides again at an impasse, FOX is eyeing other options.
Marchand writes that the favorite to replace the 2005 Heisman Trophy winner is the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner. Mark Ingram II is expected to retire from the NFL and join FOX.
If Ingram does join the show, he would be the first analyst from outside of the conferences FOX carries. Ingram played his college football at Alabama. He has since amassed more than 8000 yards over 13 seasons in the NFL.
FOX declined to comment on the report. Marchand reports that with no deal finalized, there is an outside shot that Ingram returns to the NFL, Bush returns to FOX and there is no change at all. That, however, is considered a long shot.