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NBC Turns Conference Call Into Doc Emrick Tribute

“Among those that participated were NBC Sports executive producer Sam Flood, NHL Comissioner Gary Bettman, and NBC colleagues Al Michaels and Eddie Olczyk.”

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NBC hosted a conference call on Monday to give the media a chance to speak to Mike “Doc” Emrick in the wake of announcing his retirement. While plenty of reporters and hosts got to ask questions, the call took an unexpected turn for some.

The network invited NBC and NHL colleagues to join the call. They were introduced as special guests before offering words of praise and congratulations to Emrick. Among those that participated were NBC Sports executive producer Sam Flood, NHL Comissioner Gary Bettman, and NBC colleagues Al Michaels and Eddie Olczyk.

Bettman told Emrick that he was “just a treasure,” noting that hockey is not going to be the same without his passion.

“There’s nobody who does a play-by-play as well as you do,” the Commissioner said. “And I just want to thank you for all of the incredible energy and effort you’ve given us and our fans, in particular the insights you give them to the game. The experience you give them watching hockey is just outstanding, and both personally and professionally we’re going to miss you. I’m going to miss you.”

Eddie Olczyk started by thanking Emrick for welcoming him as a teammate 14 years ago when the duo was first put together by NBC brass. He went on to say that even if the messages have not gone directly to Emrick, he has heard from plenty of people in the league that want to pass well wishes onto the legendary play-by-play man.

“My phone, my email has been swamped since late last night. Been hard conversations with a lot of people, communicating with our teammate Brian Boucher, Jonesy, and hearing from legendary hockey players like Ron Francis, Denis Savard, sending their well wishes, players like Ulf Samuelsson and Luke Richardson, Todd Marchant. The appreciation for everything you have given to our game is that we’re all much better for having you in our lives and we will miss you.”

Al Michaels was the final “special guest” to participate in the call. He compared Doc Emrick to his former partner John Madden. He noted that while Madden won a Super Bowl and is remembered as a great coach, it was his contributions as a broadcaster that made the biggest impact on the NFL. Michaels said he hopes fans know that Emrick had the same kind of impact on hockey.

“So in your retirement I would like you to create a video game,” Michaels said. “Because I think of you much as I think of John Madden, as a man who has been as important to the National Hockey League as anybody, and I say that because you have made the game so much more relevant, interesting, relatable, exciting, and I think just in listening to you, people who love hockey and are in that cult, but we love you, and you’ve also brought a lot of people into the game who might not otherwise have paid attention to hockey.”

Emrick was a little sheepish about all of the love. In fact, was the call ended, he was more concerned about what wasn’t said than what was. He asked the call moderator to please offer any reporters that wanted to ask a question but did not get the chance to an email address. Emrick said he would be happy to respond to questions there to make sure everyone got what they needed.

Sports TV News

Ian Rapoport: I Have Never Thought It is Me vs Adam Schefter

“I don’t even think that, it’s just I report what I know, and he reports what he knows.”

Jordan Bondurant

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In terms of NFL insiders, Ian Rapoport and Adam Schefter are the two biggest names out there. And sometimes it can be a race between the two to get the biggest scoops first. Especially now with the NFL coaching carousel in full swing.

This week two teams hired new head coaches – the Broncos traded two first round picks to the Saints to acquire the rights to Sean Payton and the Texans signed DeMeco Ryans.

Rapoport tweeted that Denver had pursued Ryans up until the day they announced the trade for Payton.

Not even 15 minutes later, Schefter appeared to clarify the information out there with the two teams.

On The Pat McAfee Show on Thursday, Pat McAfee referred to the conflicting information as a “source off.”

Ian said he stood behind what he put out there.

“I know it’s fun to call it a source off or whatever, but for me I reported what I had based on the best information I can get – based on talking to many, many people throughout the course of the last month,” Rapoport said from the Senior Bowl. “And then whatever happens as a result of this I don’t really mind.”

In terms of any sort of rivalry between him and Schefter, Rapoport doesn’t view it as a head-to-head matchup.

“I don’t even think that, it’s just I report what I know, and he reports what he knows,” he said. “And everyone can sort of judge for themselves whichever way to go.”

McAfee gave kudos to Rapoport for his reporting on the Ryans situation. He also said it’s a good thing Rapoport doesn’t worry himself too much about what other insiders are doing.

“I think you should feel good about it, but I do like a good source off,” McAfee said. “And I appreciate the fact that you don’t view it as you versus Schefter. But you two are at the top of the game. So that’s a compliment more so than anything.”

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Sports TV News

AEW Considers Launching Streaming Service

“It’s possible an AEW streaming service could be independent, but many are hopeful AEW’s offerings would be available on HBO Max or Discovery+ akin to how WWE Network is now available on Peacock.”

Jordan Bondurant

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All Elite Wrestling is looking into launching its own streaming service.

According to reporting from Bloomberg, a source “familiar with management’s thinking” said AEW is looking to strike a deal with broadcast partner Warner Bros. Discovery.

Since launching in 2019, AEW now puts on two weekly shows on Warner channels TBS and TNT and airs two shows on YouTube.

Last year AEW acquired Ring of Honor from Sinclair Broadcast Group. As part of that deal, AEW took ownership of RoH’s extensive content library Honor Club. So much like WWE did with WWE Network when it launched in 2014, AEW could launch its streaming service and have all of Ring of Honor’s content in a one-stop shop.

It’s possible an AEW streaming service could be independent, but many are hopeful AEW’s offerings would be available on HBO Max or Discovery+ akin to how WWE Network is now available on Peacock.

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Sports TV News

NBC Officially Unveils Noah Eagle, Todd Blackledge as New Big Ten Booth

“With their collective college football experience and great enthusiasm for the game, Todd, Noah and Kathryn join a production team that can’t wait to kick off the Big Ten season.”

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It’s officially official: Noah Eagle, Todd Blackledge, and Kathryn Tappen will join the Big Ten on NBC booth when the network begins airing the conference’s football package in 2023.

NBC made the announcement Thursday, after weeks of speculation about the moves.

“We are excited to showcase Big Ten Saturday Night on the NBC Sports’ primetime marquee,” said NBC Sports Executive Producer Sam Flood. “When you hear Todd’s voice, you know it’s a big college football game. It has been that way for decades.

“Noah is one of the industry’s rising young play-by-play commentators, who has excelled calling numerous sports across multiple platforms for a wide range of audiences. We are thrilled to pair him in the booth with Todd.

“Kathryn has told the stories of so many memorable Notre Dame Football moments over the last decade in her on-field reporting and interviews,” Flood continued. “With their collective college football experience and great enthusiasm for the game, Todd, Noah and Kathryn join a production team that can’t wait to kick off the Big Ten season.”

Blackledge joins NBC after working as a college football analyst for the network for the past 17 seasons. Previously, he was the an analyst for CBS and ABC, making 2023 his 30th consecutive season covering college football as an analyst.

Eagle is the son of broadcasting legend Ian Eagle, and currently serves as the radio voice of the Los Angeles Clippers. He comes to NBC after calling college football games for FOX Sports in 2022.

Tappen has spent the past nine seasons working NBC’s college football coverage with Notre Dame. Eight of those nine seasons were spent as the network’s sideline reporter before anchoring the studio coverage from South Bend in 2022.

2023 will mark the beginning of a seven-year contract for NBC to air Big Ten football games in primetime. The move is one of the biggest notable expansions in the college football arena for the network since its partnership with Notre Dame began in 1991.

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