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James Miller: Jimmy Pitaro Doesn’t Have The Flexibility For Kenny Mayne

Deitsch and Miller discussed future prospects for the latest personality to leave ESPN.

Russ Heltman

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Source: Getty Images

Kenny Mayne’s abrupt departure from ESPN has dominated headlines this week. The longtime “SportsCenter” anchor was offered a 61 % pay cut to essentially do the same amount of work as his previous contract. It’s a mystery where Mayne, 61, will end up, but The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch discussed the exit and the state of the industry with James Andrew Miller on his podcast. The author has written books on ESPN, Saturday Night Live, and the talent agency CAA.

“ESPN used to be this gigantic buffet, and they had enough money coming in,” Miller said on the podcast. “It was fantastic. Steve Bornstein, George Bodenheimer, and John Skipper were able to sign all these people. Even though you didn’t have them doing the lion’s share of the work, it was all these different kinds of personalities, and Kenny [Mayne] was one of them. Jimmy Pitaro doesn’t have that kind of flexibility, those days are gone.”

The pandemic has hurt live sports television ratings across the board, and it’s unfortunately led to plenty of media companies implementing layoffs, including ESPN. In Mayne’s case, he is betting on himself in a world where ESPN voices like Dan Le Batard and Jemele Hill have carved out space.

“At the same time, we see a lot of networks cutting back and reducing salary; the salaries are not the same as they used to be. There is as you say, more opportunity,” Miller said. “Kenny obviously has the freedom to be able to do that, and I think that’s going to serve him well. He is going to be very entrepreneurial in the marketplace, and this is a guy that has a lot of ideas and can execute on them.”

Mayne has confirmed he will not go quietly into retirement as he starts searching for a new venture after working at ESPN since 1994. Check out the full podcast from Richard Deitsch right here.

Sports TV News

CBS: Calling Meeting With Tony Romo ‘Intervention’ is ‘Complete Mischaracterization’

“We meet regularly with our on-air talent.”

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An opening question in broadcasting circles is ‘What happened to Tony Romo?’, with even CBS reportedly pondering the issue.

During The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast earlier this week, The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand claimed CBS attempted “an intervention” with its lead NFL analyst.

The intended mission of several alleged meetings with CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus and CBS NFL producer Jim Rikhoff was to return Romo to his previous heights, which were widely regarded as the best NFL analyst in the business.

CBS Sports has responded to the insinuation that the meetings would be classified as an “intervention” with a strong denial.

“To call this an intervention is a complete mischaracterization, we meet regularly with our on-air talent,” CBS Sports spokeswoman Jen Sabatelle told Marchand

Marchand added that CBS Sports officials plan to attempt to rectify the issues it sees with Romo again this offseason. Romo — who signed a 10-year, $180 million contract with CBS Sports in 2020 — is slated to call Super Bowl LVIII in 2024 with Jim Nantz.

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Sports TV News

Cameron Maybin Joining Detroit Tigers TV Booth

“All of us at Bally Sports Detroit are energized about this upcoming season and watching all the excitement unfold.”

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After being dropped from the New York Yankees booth on YES Network, Cameron Maybin has a new television home with the Detroit Tigers.

The 35-year-old Maybin had three separate one-year stints with the Tigers during his 15-season big league career. Maybin was drafted by the franchise with the 10th overall selection of the 2005 MLB Draft.

A report from the Detroit Free Press adds that the Tigers will rely on Craig Monroe as its primary color commentator alongside play-by-play announcer Matt Shepard. Monroe played six of his nine MLB seasons in Detroit and was a member of the team’s 2006 World Series club.

Additionally, former Tigers relief pitcher Todd Jones will also join the broadcast crew on Bally Sports Detroit as an analyst for the 2023 season. Jones pitched for Detroit from 1997 through 2001 and also from 2006 through 2008.

“Tigers baseball is always a winner,” Bally Sports Detroit Senior Vice President and General Manager Greg Hammaren said Thursday in a statement. “All of us at Bally Sports Detroit are energized about this upcoming season and watching all the excitement unfold.

“Our crew behind the scenes and our engaging talent on camera are the best in the business. Starting with spring training, we are committed to bringing Tigers fans the absolute best coverage all season long.”

The news of Maybin and Jones joining the Bally Sports Detroit booth comes on the heels of the network failing to reach an agreement with Hall of Fame pitcher Jack Morris to return to the network. The Free Press report claims Morris was offered a reduced role with the television broadcaster, but declined.

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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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