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Ernie Johnson Explains Angriest He’s Ever Been At Charles Barkley

“As entertaining as he is, Barkley doesn’t seem like the easiest person to work with.”

Brandon Contes

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Originally set to debut last year, TNT’s four-night documentary on Inside the NBA, titled The Inside Story is finally set to premiere this week

For more than 30 years, Inside the NBA has entertained basketball fans, continuing to grow in popularity with its current cast, featuring host Ernie Johnson along with analysts Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O’Neal. The show reached new heights with the addition of Barkley’s unfiltered personality in 2000, and later rounded out the current cast with O’Neal in 2012.

Over the course of more than 20 years It’s not surprising to hear the relationship may have been strained at various times during their tenure together. Prior to the documentary airing, Sports Illustrated’s JimmyTraina shared a clip of the hosts discussing the time a usually even-keeled Ernie Johnson lost his cool on set because Barkley ripped his show notes in half. 

“He didn’t speak to us the rest of the show,” said Smith, who was guilty of encouraging Barkley. “I was scared. I was like ‘Ernie might swing on me.’ He was like, ‘You started it because you gave him the notes.’”

As entertaining as he is, Barkley doesn’t seem like the easiest person to work with. If I had to guess the worst incident he caused during his more than two decades on Inside The NBA, I probably would’ve picked something other than tearing notes in half. But Johnson explained, it was a sign that Barkley and Smith didn’t respect what he did for the show. And for someone with Johnson’s work ethic and credentials, feeling disrespected is much worse than ripped paper. 

Beginning Wednesday, March 4, the four-night documentary presented by TNT will look back at the effect the show made on the NBA. Over 100 interviews were conducted for the documentary, featuring personalities such as Bob Costas, Snoop Dogg and Magic Johnson. Further exemplifying their impact on the sport, Inside The NBA will also be honored with the Curt Gowdy Transformative Media Award later this year.

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NEWS: F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

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Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

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Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

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FOX Sports VP: ‘USFL Proves Spring Football As Valuable As Rising Properties’

“We want to show we belong in that category, and I think that happened.”

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Michael Mulvihill says the USFL accomplished exactly what FOX needed it to. It proved there is a large enough audience for spring football that it has a value on par with some of the hottest properties in sports media right now.

 “All we wanted to do is demonstrate that spring football can do viewership at the levels of Premier League, NHL regular season, Formula One or MLS,” the FOX Sports Executive VP said according to Sports Business Journal. “We want to show we belong in that category, and I think that happened.”

While none of those properties are pulling in the kind of media rights money the NFL or major college football is, Mulvihill pointed out that all of them have been in the news for the right reasons.

“You’re talking about properties that have all recently negotiated deals at substantial increases, or with F1, people know it’s about to.”

The USFL had a solid broadcasting footprint with games airing on FOX, NBC, FS1 and USA. Regular season games for the first year of the revived league averaged just under 700,000 viewers.

Mulvihill said fans behaved exactly how he expected them to in the first season of the USFL. Without any team loyalties, he isn’t surprised that people watched less of an average USFL game than they did the NFL or college football.

The USFL Playoffs begin this weekend. Canton, OH will host the league’s first championship game on July 3.

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