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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.

Sports TV News

Chris Berman Says NBC Offered To Triple His Salary In 1989 to Leave ESPN

“(NBC) put an offer out there that was times three or four, which — ok — that took a while to get resolved.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Chris Berman has always felt like ESPN was home for him.

There have been a couple of instances throughout his more than four-decade career at The Worldwide Leader where Berman was entertaining offers to leave. But Berman told Jimmy Traina on the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast he always knew ESPN was where he needed to be.

One instance came in 1989 when ESPN was still somewhat a single fledgling sports channel. Berman at the time was weighing leaving Bristol for NBC.

“ESPN was a different place,” Berman said. “We were only one channel then, remember.”

“(NBC) put an offer out there that was times three or four,” he added. “Which — ok — that took a while to get resolved.”

Berman said in terms of his career, deciding to remain at ESPN turned out to be the right choice.

“My God it’s the greatest move I never made,” he said. “At the time I was gonna be the number two guy behind Bob Costas doing football.

“Just job-wise, forget money and this – I’m not in it for that anyway,” Berman added. “I started at 16 thousand bucks.”

Chris talked about the coverage the potential move received. He said the decision was about something bigger than money. He loved getting to cover sports every day.

“That was not the point,” he said. “I wasn’t leveraging anything, and again thank God I’ve been here 43 years.”

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Sports TV News

ESPN, ESPN2 To Air 5 Hour NBA Trade Deadline Special Thursday

Jordan Bondurant

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The NBA trade deadline is this week, and ESPN is going all-in on coverage.

ESPN announced Monday that it will air a five-hour special across ESPN and ESPN2 making sure every deal leading up to the deadline is covered.

The NBA Today Trade Deadline Special will air starting at 1:00 PM on Thursday on ESPN, and the final two hours leading up to the official deadline will air on ESPN 2.

From Los Angeles, Malika Andrews will host. She will be joined by Jalen Rose, Zach Lowe, Chiney Ogwumike, Kendrick Perkins, Richard Jefferson, Ramona Shelburne, Brian Windhorst, and Vince Carter.

Adrian Wojnarowski will be breaking news from Bristol alongside Tim Legler and Bobby Marks. Meanwhile, Stephen A. Smith and Michael Wilbon will be weighing in from Scottsdale, Arizona from ESPN’s Super Bowl set.

Several other ESPN NBA reporters will also be contributing coverage throughout the afternoon.

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Sports TV News

Tom Brady: I’ll Join FOX in 2024

“Even in the future, I wanna be great at what I do. That takes time strategizing, and learning, and evolving.”

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Many have questioned whether Tom Brady will actually join FOX Sports’ top NFL booth after he retires. Today, we have that answer.

During an appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, Brady confirmed he will indeed join Kevin Burkhardt in the network’s top NFL booth, but not until the 2024 season.

“Decompression is important,” Brady said, noting he’ll join the network’s NFL coverage after a year off from the game. “You’re on this kind of really crazy treadmill/hamster wheel, loving the moment, loving the journey, (but) at the same time there’s a daily fight. I have an appreciation to those who are so committed to showing up every day and putting in their max effort to their life and their career.

“I think — for me — I want to be great at what I do. So last week, talking with the people at FOX Sports and the leadership there allowing me to start my FOX opportunity in the fall of 2024 is something that’s great for me.”

Brady added he needs time to absorb a new career before jumping in head first.

“Take some time to really learn, become great at what I want to do, become great at thinking about the opportunity, and make sure I don’t rush into anything. Even in the future, I wanna be great at what I do. That takes time strategizing, and learning, and evolving, and I have so many people to rely on that can support me in that growth, too.”

The seven-time Super Bowl winning quarterback concluded by saying there are other aspects of his life outside of football that “need some catching up and energy”. He went through a high-profile divorce from supermodel Gisele Bündchen, reportedly stemming from his refusal to retire after the 2021 NFL season.

Brady signed a reported 10-year, $375 million contract with FOX Sports to join the network’s top NFL announcing crew, and serve as a brand ambassador in May of last year.

The addition of Brady to the FOX Sports booth creates a potential log jam in the analyst role. Current FOX Sports top NFL analyst Greg Olsen has received high praise from many both inside and outside the industry for his work with Burkhardt. Olsen hasn’t been shy about his wish to remain in the network’s top booth, saying that while the situation “sucks”, he is a “big boy” and “knows what he signed up for”.

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