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Kirk Herbstreit To Headline ABC’s NFL Draft Coverage

All three days of the draft, which goes from April 29 to May 1, will be telecast on ABC, ESPN and the league’s own NFL Network with plans to include two nights of primetime coverage on Thursday and Friday nights, according to the NFL.

Kate Constable

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Kirk Herbstreit will headline coverage of the 2021 NFL Draft on ABC, according to Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports.

The ESPN “College GameDay” analyst will focus on storytelling for the casual NFL and college football fans.

In the report, McCarthy notes, “Herbstreit, a five-time Emmy Award winner — three for Best Studio Analyst and two for Outstanding Event Analyst — has been a game-changer for Disney when it comes to the battle for NFL Draft rights.”

Also returning to draft coverage are ESPN’s Maria Taylor and Jesse Palmer, who were both part of the 2020 coverage. McCarthy notes that Todd McShay is also expected to join them for coverage for ESPN’s sister network. McShay was unable to be a part of last year’s coverage due to testing positive for COVID-19.

All three days of the draft, which goes from April 29 to May 1, will be telecast on ABC, ESPN and the league’s own NFL Network with plans to include two nights of primetime coverage on Thursday and Friday nights, according to the NFL.

FOS reports that “Get Up” host Mike Greenberg will anchor Days 1 and 2 of the draft (the first three rounds), while “College GameDay” host Rece Davis will anchor Day 3 (the last four rounds) for both ESPN and ABC. 

Sports TV News

3.72 Million Tune In To See LeBron James Break Scoring Record

Jordan Bondurant

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Lakers star LeBron James surpassed the NBA’s all-time scoring record on Tuesday night, and TNT benefitted from the milestone ratings wise.

According to Sports Media Watch, Tuesday night’s game averaged 2.98 million viewers. That figure made it TNT’s biggest regular season audience in over two years.

The broadcast peaked at 3.72 million around 11:45 p.m. when James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the record.

Reporting also indicated that the game was the number one single-network program on TV in key demographics.

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Sports TV News

Disney Makes ESPN Independent Division In Corporate Restructuring

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN

Disney is in the process of reorganizing and restructuring the company, and details have emerged about the company’s plans for ESPN.

Deadline reported on Wednesday that ESPN will be one of three standalone segments comprising Disney. Entertainment and Parks, Experiences & Products are the other two segments.

The reorganization comes amid the exit of former CEO Bob Chapek and the re-entry of CEO Bob Iger. As one of Iger’s first moves back running Disney, he announced a restructuring of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

It was also reported that Jimmy Pitaro will continue as the president of ESPN.

In total, more than 7,000 jobs will be eliminated after the restructuring.

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Sports TV News

Roger Goodell: ‘Wouldn’t Surprise Me’ To See Thursday Night Football Move to Flex Scheduling

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon.”

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Thursday Night Football

In 2023, Monday Night Football will join Sunday Night Football in having the ability to flex NFL games into its window. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday Night Football could someday join that elite club.

During his “State of the League” speech Wednesday, Goodell said Thursday Night Football having the ability to flex matchups “wouldn’t at all surprise me”.

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon,” the NFL Commissioner said.

ESPN bargained for the ability to move higher profile games into Monday Night Football during its negotiations with the league for the next television contract that begins this upcoming season.

NBC has long held the ability to shift a select number of games from earlier windows into the Sunday Night Football primetime slot.

Amazon Prime Video just completed the first of an 11-year contract that sees the streaming platform spend nearly $1 billion per year on the Thursday Night Football package.

One of the largest storylines of Amazon’s debut season with the NFL was the near-constant ridicule from play-by-play announcer Al Michaels over the lackluster TNF schedule. Michaels made headlines over several weeks for his candor on the lack of interesting matchups, going as far as to joke that if the schedule didn’t improve he would retire.

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