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Jemele Hill Calls SportsCenter Role ‘Worst Job I Had’

“She never says that she sensed any malicious intent on the part of ESPN, but she does question a number of decisions made in the pre-production process that got SC6 off to a rocky start.”

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Jemele Hill

Jemele Hill was a guest on Jimmy Traina’s Sports Illustrated Media Podcast this week. Traina asked a lot about her past and present relationship at ESPN.

Hill revealed that Colin Kaepernick called her to better understand her side of the story regarding her exit from ESPN. It was something Kaepernick felt like he needed to know before signing the first look deal with Disney last week.

When asked about SC6, the version of SportsCenter hosted by Hill and Michael Smith, Hill said it was not the experience she was expecting.

“Of all the many jobs and roles that I got a chance to have at ESPN, that job is always gonna sit on the side as being the one that was the worst that I had there. Everybody came in well-intentioned. There’s a lot of blame to go around. I certainly accept mine and, I guess, by extension, Mike’s, in the sense that there were definitely things we could’ve personally done better.”

Simply put, Hill says the show was not set up to succeed. She never says that she sensed any malicious intent on the part of ESPN, but she does question a number of decisions made in the pre-production process that got SC6 off to a rocky start.

“If you go back, His and Hers did not end until December, and we were due to be on the air the day after the Super Bowl in February,” Hill said. “Considering the colossal amount of marketing and everything behind it and what they wanted it to be, it made no sense to rush this show on the air. We had less than five rehearsals. We didn’t know what the show was. We weren’t allowed to pick our coordinating producers, which I think was a big mistake.”

ESPN executives used Scott Van Pelt as an example of the success a personality-driven version of SportsCenter could have. Hill points out that Van Pelt was given an extended rehearsal period and was able to handpick his staff. His midnight edition of SportsCenter was not a fair bar to measure SC6 against.

“I think they liked a lot of the things we did on His and Hers,” Hill said in reference to the show she and Smith co-hosted from 2014 to 2017. “The things that made us an attractive fit were not things that necessarily fit SportsCenter.”

Viral videos, sketch comedy, and discussions of movies and music had never been a major part of SportsCenter before. The ad campaign ahead of the debut of SC6 promised that would be the case with Hill and Smith. She says that created a narrative that their version of SportsCenter wouldn’t be about sports.

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45th Annual Sports Emmy Awards Honors Best in Sports Media

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45th Sports Emmy Awards Logo
(Illustration) Logo – Courtesy: The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is holding 45th Annual Sports Emmy Awards from Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City on Tuesday night, honoring presentations, personalities and technology that made an indelible impact on the industry. Barrett Sports Media is tracking results of the awards, with winners highlighted in green beneath each category.

Outstanding Live Special

Live SpecialEntity/Entities
The MastersCBS
The 105th PGA ChampionshipCBS
Super Bowl LVIIICBS
Super Bowl LVIIINickelodeon Productions
CBS Sports
NFL Films
The 119th World SeriesFOX

Outstanding Live Series

Live SeriesEntity/Entities
FOX CFPFOX
FS1
FOX NFLFOX
Monday Night FootballABC
ESPN
Monday Night Football with Peyton & EliESPN2
Omaha Productions
Sunday Night FootballNBC
Peacock

Outstanding Playoff Coverage

Playoff CoverageEntity/Entities
American League Championship SeriesFOX
FS1
College Football Playoff SemifinalsESPN
MLB Postseason on TBSTBS
NFC ChampionshipFOX
NFL Playoffs on NBCNBC
Peacock

Outstanding Edited Event Coverage

Edited Event CoverageEntity/Entities
All Access – Davis vs. Garcia: EpilogueShowtime
NFL Draft: The Pick Is InThe Roku Channel
NFL Films
Skydance Sports
NFL Game Day All Access (Super Bowl LVIII)YouTube
NFL Films
Road To The Super BowlCBS
NFL Films
2023 Special Olympic World GamesABC

Outstanding Edited Special

Edited SpecialEntity/Entities
Chasing Greatness: Coach K x LeBronTNT
CrownCBS Sports Network
E60 – The Crossover: 50 Years of Hip Hop and SportsESPN
ESPN Films
GR8TNESSESPN
You Are Looking Live!CBS
NFL Films

Outstanding Hosted Edited Series

Hosted Edited SeriesEntity/Entities
E60ESPN
Kickin’ ItParamount+
Golazo Network
The Pivot PodcastYouTube
Real Sports with Bryant GumbelHBO
Max
The Shop UNINTERRUPTEDYouTube
UNINTERRUPTED

Outstanding Esports Championship Coverage

Esports Championship CoverageEntity/Entities
Blast.tv Paris Major 2023BLAST
2023 Call of Duty League Championship Weekend
New York Subliners vs. Toronto Ultra
Twitch
YouTube
Esports Engine
Activision Blizzard
Intel Extreme Masters Cologne 2023 Grand Finals
ENCE vs. G2
Twitch
YouTube
ESL FACEIT Group
League of Legends Worlds 2023 Final
T1 vs. Weibo Gaming
LoLEsports.com
Twitch
YouTube
Riot Games
VALORANT Champions 2023 Grand Final
Paper Rex vs. Evil Geniuses
ValorantEsports.com
Twitch
YouTube
Riot Games

Outstanding Short Documentary

Short DocumentaryEntity/Entities
DreamcasterMSG Network | MSG+
456 Studios
Lord + Thomas
DaHouse Audio
Citizen Music
Vicaps
Helo
Extraordinary Stories
One-Armed Wonder: The Extraordinary Story of Jimmy Hasty
UEFA.tv
Noah Media Group
NFL 360 – GoneNFL Network
NFL Films Presents – Lahainaluna HighFS1
NFL Films
SC Featured – Nothing Else MattersESPN+

Outstanding Long Documentary

Long DocumentaryEntity/Entities
The Deepest BreathNetflix
A24
Motive Films
Ventureland
Full CircleVimeo On Demand
Level 1 Productions
KelcePrime Video
Amazon MGM Studios
Skydance
Very Y Productions
9.14 Pictures
The Saint of Second ChancesNetflix
Tremolo
Stampede Ventures
StandShowtime
SHOWTIME Sports Documentary Films
MSM

Outstanding Documentary Series

Documentary SeriesEntity/Entities
Catching LightningShowtime
Bat Bridge Entertainment
GoliathShowtime
Village Roadshow Television
Religion of Sports
Super League: The War for FootballApple TV+
Words + Pictures
All Rise Films
UntoldNetflix
Propagate
Stardust Frames
RAW
The Players’ Tribune

Outstanding Documentary Series – Serialized

Documentary Series – SerializedEntity/Entities
Football Must Go OnParamount+
Formula 1: Drive to SurviveNetflix
Box to Box Films
Hard Knocks
Training Camp with The New York Jets
HBO
Max
NFL Films
Monster FactoryApple TV+
Vox Media Studios
Public Record
QuarterbackNetflix
NFL Films
Omaha Productions
2PM Productions

Outstanding Studio Show – Weekly

Studio Show – WeeklyEntity/Entities
College GameDayESPN
FOX CFP: Big Noon KickoffFOX
FS1
FOX NFL SundayFOX
Inside the NBA on TNTTNT
The NFL TodayCBS

Outstanding Studio Show – Daily

Studio Show – DailyEntity/Entities
MLB TonightMLB Network
NBA CountdownESPN
ESPN2
NFL LiveESPN
ESPN2
Pardon The InterruptionESPN
Rydholm Projects, Inc.
SportsCenterESPN

Outstanding Studio Show – Limited Run

Studio Show – Limited RunEntity/Entities
College GameDayCollege Football PlayoffESPN
FOX MLB: The PostseasonFOX
FS1
Inside the NBA Playoffs on TNTTNT
Postseason NFL CountdownESPN
Road to the Final FourTNT

Outstanding Journalism

Journalism TitleEntity/Entities
CNN FlashDocs – “Blindsided”CNN
E60 – “Peace of Mind: Psychedelics in Sports”ESPN
E60 – “The Perfect Machine”ESPN
Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel
“A Blind Eye: Switzerland and the Corruption of World Sport”
HBO
Max
Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel
“Call of Duty: How War is Destroying Ukrainian Sport”
HBO
Max

Outstanding Short Feature

Short Feature TitleEntity/Entities
College GameDay – “The Legacy of Tyler Trent”ESPN
NFL 360 – “The Chief Who Walked The Sea”NFL Network
NFL 360 – “Heroes”NFL Network
NFL 360 – “Miracle”NFL Network
The NFL Today: Super Bowl LVIII – “Just Win Baby!”CBS
Sunday Night Football – “Madden & Stingley”NBC
Peacock
Thursday Night Football
“Marshawn Lynch ‘N Yo City: Intercouse, PA (Yes, this is a real place)”
Prime Video
Amazon MGM Studios

Outstanding Long Feature

Long Feature TitleEntity/Entities
Outside The Lines – “Jordan McNair: The Freedom Within”ESPN
Playing Fields
“Ornella: Knocking Down Social Prejudices Pursuing Her Olympic Dream”
Olympic Channel
Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel
“No Surrender: One Man’s Battle with ALS”
HBO
Max
SportsCenter – “SC Featured: Dear Mrs. Reid”ESPN
SportsCenter – “SC Featured: Running for Martin”ESPN
UnredeemableGolf Channel

Outstanding Open/Tease

Open/TeaseEntity/Entities
The 149th Kentucky Derby – “Timeless”NBC
Peacock
Monday Night Football – “In the Air Tonight”ESPN
ABC
NHL Winter Classic on TNT – “If This Wall Could Talk”TNT
Sunday Night Football – “Heidi”NBC
Peacock
Super Bowl LVIII – “My Way”CBS

Outstanding Interactive Experience

Interactive ExperienceEntity/Entities
College Football Playoff MegaCast – Rose Bowl GameESPN
ESPN2
ESPN Deportes
ESPNU
ESPNews
SEC Network
ESPN App
ABC
LHN
Fan Controlled Racing Watch PartyTwitch
Kick
Fan Controlled Sports & Entertainment
The Magic and Mystery of US Open Champion – Carlos AlcarazESPN.com
NCAA March Madness LiveMarch Madness Live
Thursday Night Football – Black Friday Football StudioPrime Video
Amazon MGM Studios
Thursday Night Football – Event Coverage Optionality/CustomizationPrime Video
Amazon MGM Studios

Outstanding Digital Innovation

TitleSpecific Innovation (if applicable)Entity/Entities
Big City Greens ClassicFully animated live sporting event with integrated real-time animated talentESPN+
Disney Channel
Disney XD
Disney+
Beyond Sports
Silver Spoon Animation
Disney Television Animation
DreamcasterMSG Network
MSG+
Weber Shandwick
Helo
MLB NextAR AppMajor League Baseball
Red Bull ErzbergrodeoCross-platform storytelling with broadcast, web widgets and AR AppRed Bull TV
Red Bull Media House
ProteGear
TeraVolt
Girraphic
Thursday Night FootballMachine Learning on Prime VisionPrime Video
Amazon MGM Studios

Outstanding Personality/Studio Host

Studio HostEntity/Entities
Malika AndrewsESPN
ESPN2
ABC
TNT
Kevin BurkhardtFOX
FS1
Rece DavisESPN
Ernie JohnsonTNT
TBS
Scott Van PeltESPN
ESPN2
ABC

Outstanding Personality/Play-by-Play

Play-by-Play AnnouncerEntity/Entities
Mike BreenABC
Joe BuckESPN
ABC
Ian EagleCBS
TNT
TBS
Kevin HarlanTBS
CBS
TNT
truTV
Mike TiricoNBC
Peacock

Outstanding Personality/Studio Analyst

Studio AnalystEntity/Entities
Charles BarkleyTNT
Nate BurlesonCBS
Ryan ClarkESPN
ESPN2
ESPN+
ABC
Kirk HerbstreitESPN
Mina KimesESPN
ESPN2
ABC

Outstanding Personality/Event Analyst

Event AnalystEntity/Entities
Troy AikmanESPN
ABC
Cris CollinsworthNBC
Peacock
Greg OlsenFOX
Bill RafteryCBS
TNT
John SmoltzFOX
FS1
Tom VerducciFOX
FS1
MLB Network

Outstanding Personality/Sideline Reporter

Sideline ReporterEntity/Entities
Erin AndrewsFOX
Kaylee HartungPrime Video
NBC
Peacock
Tom RinaldiFOX
FS1
Holly RoweESPN
ESPN2
ABC
Tracy WolfsonCBS
TNT

Outstanding Personality/Emerging On-Air

Emerging On-Air TalentEntity/Entities
Mookie BettsBleacher Report
TBS
FOX
Noah EagleNBC
Peacock
Carli LloydFOX
FS1
Taylor RooksTNT
NBA TV
Bleacher Report
Amazon
Jay WrightCBS
CBS Sports Network
TNT

Outstanding Technical Team Event

Technical Team EventEntity/Entities
The MastersCBS
NASCAR on NBCNBC
Super Bowl LVIIICBS
Thursday Night FootballPrime Video
Amazon MGM Studios
2023 US OpenESPN
ESPN2
ESPN+
ABC

Outstanding Technical Team Studio

Technical Team StudioEntity/Entities
FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023FOX
FS1
FOX NFL – “Stage A”FOX
NFL DraftESPN
ABC
The NFL Today – Super Bowl LVIIICBS
Thursday Night FootballPrime Video
Amazon MGM Studios

Outstanding Camera Work – Short Form

Short Form TitleEntity/Entities
The 115th Belmont Stakes –
“31 Lengths: Secretariat”
FOX
NFL 360 – “Heroes”NFL Network
NFL Films Presents – “Optex Lens”FS1
NFL Films
The NFL Today: Super Bowl LVIII – “Just Win Baby!”CBS
Super Bowl LVIII – “My Way”CBS

Outstanding Camera Work – Long Form

Long Form TitleEntity/Entities
E60 – “Sacred Dog”ESPN
Freeride Skiing – “Descendance”YouTube
Legs of Steel
Hard Knocks: Training Camp with The New York JetsHBO
Max
NFL Films
UnredeemableGolf Channel
Vamos VegasYouTube

Outstanding Editing – Short Form

TitleEntity/Entities
The 149th Kentucky Derby – “Timeless”NBC
Peacock
NFL 360 – “The Chief Who Walked The Sea”NFL Network
NFL 360 – “Heroes”NFL Network
NHL on TNT – “Show and Tell”TNT
Super Bowl LVIII – “My Way”CBS

Outstanding Editing – Long Form

TitleEntity/Entities
Freeride Skiing – “Descendance”YouTube
Legs of Steel
Hard Knocks: Training Camp with The New York JetsHBO
Max
NFL Films
KelcePrime Video
Amazon MGM Studios
Skydance
Very Y Productions
9.14 Pictures
Under Pressure: The U.S. Women’s World Cup TeamNetflix
Words + Pictures
FIFA
Time Studios
UnredeemableGolf Channel

The Dick Schaap Outstanding Writing Award – Short Form

Outstanding Writing – Long Form

Outstanding Music Direction

TitleEntity/Entities
E60 – “The Crossover: 50 Years of Hip Hop and Sports”ESPN
ESPN Films
E60 – “Sacred Dog”ESPN
ESPN+
Showtime Singers
The Golden BoyHBO
Max
Unrealistic Ideas
ViaMar Productions
NBA on TNT – “50 Years of Hip Hop”TNT
Super Bowl LVIII – “My Way”CBS

Outstanding Audio/Sound – Live Event

TitleEntity/Entities
FOX MLBNetflix
Box to Box Films
FOX NASCARFS1
Nascar Studios
Little League World SeriesOutside TV
The IRONMAN Group Productions
NASCAR on NBCNetflix
Religion of Sports
Sunday Night BaseballNFL Network
Sunday Night FootballNetflix
NFL Films
Omaha Productions
2PM Productions
Super Bowl LVIIICBS

Outstanding Audio/Sound – Post-Produced

TitleEntity/Entities
Formula 1: Drive to SurviveNetflix
Box to Box Films
FOX NASCAR: Race Hub
“The Championship: Radioactive”
FS1
Nascar Studios
2023 IRONMAN World ChampionshipOutside TV
The IRONMAN Group Productions
McGregor ForeverNetflix
Religion of Sports
NFL 360 – “Heroes”NFL Network
QuarterbackNetflix
NFL Films
Omaha Productions
2PM Productions
Vamos VegasYouTube
TORQ

Outstanding Graphic Design – Event/Show

Outstanding Graphic Design – Specialty

Outstanding Studio or Production Design/Art Direction

The George Wensel Technical Achievement Award

Outstanding Promotional Announcement

Promotional AnnouncementEntity/Entities
FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 –
“USA vs. The World”
FOX
The Golden Boy – “Who Am I?”HBO
Max
Zealot UK
2023 NBA Finals – “We Are All in the Finals”NBA Social
Stanley Cup – “First Kiss”NHL Network
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN – “Battle of the Baddest/Rumble”ESPN
ESPN+
Park Pictures

Outstanding Public Service Content

Public Service ContentEntity/Entities
FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 –
“Common Goal”
FOX
FS1
Hometown HopefulsNBC
NBCSports.com
NFL on CBS – “Football for Everyone”CBS
CBS Sports Network
Notre Dame Football – “What Would You Fight For?”NBC
Youth Flag Football – “Let’s Play”NFL Network

Outstanding Studio Show in Spanish

Outstanding Feature Story in Spanish

Outstanding On-Air Personality in Spanish

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Report: TNT Still in Play to Retain NBA Media Rights

The report states that no official offers have been finalized at the moment, hence the lack of having to match an offer.

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TNT Sports Logo
(Illustration) | TNT Sports Logo – Courtesy: Warner Bros. Discovery | Studio J – Courtesy: Raeford Dwyer Photography

Negotiations for the next round of media rights for the NBA remain ongoing as we await a final resolution. Reports have stated that The Walt Disney Company and Amazon Prime Video have reached the framework of agreements for respective rights packages, presumably leaving one more series of games that could go to the incumbent Warner Bros. Discovery’s TNT Sports or Comcast’s NBCUniversal.

If Warner Bros. Discovery were to lose the NBA, there is ambiguity towards provisions surrounding matching rights; however, the company has not yet reached that point, according to a new report from Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports. The “B” package would reportedly contain a conference final every other year while the “C” package would reportedly include the in-season tournament, play-in games and early-round playoff series.

TNT Sports, formerly known as Turner Sports, is a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Discovery, which has had a relationship with the league in various iterations since the 1984-85 season. Although TNT Sports president and chief executive officer Luis Silberwasser stated at the company’s Upfront event last week that it was looking forward to next season and reaching an agreement that makes sense for all parties, it reportedly may need to pay more for less inventory. NBCUniversal is reportedly set to bid $2.5 billion a year for NBA rights, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal, which would more than double the reported $1.2 billion paid annually by Warner Bros. Discovery.

The report states that no official offers have been finalized at the moment, hence the lack of having to match an offer. Alex Sherman of CNBC reported that potential litigation could take place if Warner Bros. Discovery matches but the league decides to accept NBCUniversal’s deal. Charles Barkley, studio analyst for Inside the NBA, has expressed on numerous occasions that the negotiations are stressful and that there is uncertainty surrounding the result. Barkley, along with his colleagues Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny “The Jet” Smith, all reportedly have opt-out clauses in their contracts should Warner Bros. Discovery lose broadcasting rights to the NBA.

TNT will be the broadcast home of the Western Conference Finals between the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves beginning on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. EST. Kevin Harlan, Stan Van Gundy, Reggie Miller and Allie LaForce will be on the call, while the Inside the NBA crew will provide pregame, halftime and postgame coverage. Golden State Warriors forward and four-time NBA champion Draymond Green will join the show throughout the series as well, first reported by Jon Lewis of Sports Media Watch.

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TNT Sports Draws Its Largest Early Round NBA Playoff Audience Ever

The game delivered 8.41 million viewers across TNT and truTV.

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TNT Sports Logo (2024 Warner Bros. Discovery Upfront)
Courtesy: Derek Futterman, Barrett Sports Media

This past weekend, TNT Sports had one of the best sporting events you can have, a Game 7. The Minnesota Timberwolves and the Denver Nuggets were tied at three games apiece in their second round NBA playoff matchup and with superstars Anthony Edwards and Nikola Jokic and a Sunday night primetime slot, it was set up to do a big number. According to Jon Lewis of Sports Media Watch the game delivered 8.41 million viewers across TNT and truTV making it the most viewed first or second round playoff game ever to air on TNT.

Lewis reports the previous high for TNT was an Orlando Magic-Boston Celtics Game 7 in 2009, but also notes out-of-home viewing was not being tracked back then so it isn’t exactly an apples-to-apples comparison. He said the game had the fourth-largest audience for an opening or second round game since 2012 on any network.

The Pacers and the Knicks also played a Game 7 which went on while the final round of the PGA Championship was happening and brought in 6.45 million viewers on ABC.

Overall, Lewis shared the NBA playoffs are averaging 3.77 million viewers, which includes games on ABC, ESPN, TNT, truTV, and NBA TV. That number represents a decrease of 11% in viewership from a year ago.

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