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Dave Roberts Sings Praises Of ESPN TV Lineup

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Overseeing ESPN’s radio and TV lineup is a highly scrutinized job. For Dave Roberts, ESPN’s Senior Vice President of Production, the recipe for success features interesting topics, talent and diversity.

Speaking to Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports, Roberts discussed ESPN’s TV lineup, beginning with the success of Get Up. Mike Greenberg’s weekday morning TV show is the perfect example of needing to fine-tune content, while giving it time to grow.

Get Up has had quite a turnaround thanks to the leadership of Mike Greenberg and his team and also the cast of characters who are on that program,” Roberts said as he referred to the morning television show as a “juggernaut.”

“The No. 1 priority for what makes that program are interesting topics, breaking news coverage equal to those interesting topics and a mix of diverse voices,” Roberts added. “You will see up to six or seven different people on that program from all backgrounds — male, female, Black, white — throughout the week.”

Another show that had a recent rebound under Roberts’ watch is the 6pm edition of SportsCenter. Following a ratings dip during the SC6 era with Jemele Hill and Michael Smith which lasted from 2017-2018, the show returned to its roots to better meet the expectations viewers have for the SportsCenter brand. 

“I don’t want to be perceived as criticizing the people who were on the show prior to the change, because they both were very talented and brought a lot to the table. But our focus with this edition of SportsCenter is to fit those expectations that SportsCenter has, which is to cover the news, show the best and most compelling highlights of the day, put them in context and bring the best that we have in the area of storytelling,” Roberts told Front Office Sports.

One show that continues to perform well is First Take led by Stephen A. Smith. Even after losing Skip Bayless to FS1 in 2016, First Take hasn’t missed a beat with the addition of Max Kellerman and Molly Qerim, along with its move from ESPN2 to ESPN. 

First Take is just an interesting program to watch,” Roberts said. “It doesn’t shy away from topics that others might consider to be controversial. People like to watch and, frankly, people love to watch Steven A. whether they love him or hate him.”

As far as rumors of potentially reuniting Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless, Roberts chose not to speculate on the pending free agent when asked by McCarthy.

Sports TV News

Mike Tirico, Tom Brady, Manningcast Win Sports Emmys

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The annual Sports Emmys were handed out on Tuesday night, and some usual names and new names ended up taking home hardware.

Among the usual names were NBC’s Mike Tirico, who won for Outstanding Personality/Studio Host, and soon-to-be Sunday Night Football broadcast colleague Cris Collinsworth, who was named Outstanding Personality/Sports Event Analyst.

But among the new names as Sports Emmy winners include Tom Brady and both Eli and Peyton Manning.

Brady’s Man in the Arena saga won Outstanding Documentary Series, while the Mannings were rewarded for their work on the Monday Night Football Manningcast, which won Outstanding Live Series.

Here’s a rundown of some of the key Sports Emmy winners:

Here is a full list of winners and nominees for the 2022 ceremony.

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Sports TV News

Joe Buck Says He Won’t Miss World Series

“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game.”

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USA Today

Among the bigger chain reactions set off by Joe Buck leaving FOX for ESPN was the sudden vacancy in FOX’s main MLB broadcast booth.

The 2022 World Series will mark the first time since 1995 that Buck will not be on the microphone.

Speaking to Chris Long on his podcast Green Light, Buck hopes to be in a more exotic location watching World Series games this fall.

“I would like to be in Cabo San Lucas with a margarita in my hand and a half-smoked cigar watching Game 7 of the World Series,” Buck said. “Cheering on Joe Davis and John Smoltz, and Ken Rosenthal, and Tom Verducci, and Pete Macheska and Matt Gangl and right on down the line.”

Buck added he’ll take pleasure in turning the broadcast off if it’s Game 7 and there’s an insurmountable lead. But the broadcasting legend said even on a bigger scale, not calling any baseball games at all this season, let alone the World Series, is a bit surreal after covering the sport for so long.

“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game,” he said. “And that’s really weird to me, but I walk away really proud of what I and we did.”

He added that he will not miss the opportunity, because he does not feel like he will “leave any unfinished business” in FOX’s MLB booth.

Buck further praised his FOX colleagues and said it was time for a change. He knows Joe Davis will thrive in the opportunity.

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NFL Likely To Launch NFL+ Streaming Service This Summer

“A source tells Fischer that a $5 per month price has been discussed for NFL+.”

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According to the Sports Business Journal, consumers could be downloading NFL+ by July. Now, just what NFL+ will be is still yet to be finalized.

Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal reported in the site’s newsletter that live games will certainly be at the center of the league-owned streaming service. It is likely to only be available on phones and tablets with no option to stream to a larger monitor.

The viewing options would be limited. No out of market games would be available on the app. It is meant to replace the deals that recently expired with Yahoo and mobile phone carriers that recently expired.

The app could also include other content. Radio calls, team-created digital content, and league-owned podcasts are all options. 

NFL+ would make NFL Media more valuable. The league is trying to sell an equity stake in its linear TV and digital media properties. Amazon and Apple are considered the most likely to make a deal. 

A source tells Fischer that a $5 per month price has been discussed for NFL+. The pricing structure can and likely will change before the app hits the market.

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