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Kevin Neghandi Back On Spelling Bee Duty For ESPN2

Neghandi last hosted the event in 2017.

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Courtesy: NICK CAITO / ESPN IMAGES

Kevin Neghandi is back in the saddle for this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee after a few years away from the event. The show returns to ESPN2 this summer following a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic. ESPN2 is airing the semifinals and finals of the event live on June 27 and July 8.

Neghandi last called the Spelling Bee in 2016 and 2017. Paul Loeffler joins him as a familiar face in the booth. A finalist in 1990 and the voice of Fresno State athletics, Loeffler returns as an expert analyst for his 15th Spelling Bee. 

Veteran reporter Jen Lada is handling reporting duties from the stage. Lada has reported stories on “College Gameday” and “College Football Live” since 2015.

“I’m thrilled to be returning as host of the Scripps National Spelling Bee,” Negandhi said. “Due to my schedule in 2018 and 2019, I missed out on the fun, but it’s great to be back to share the stories about the competitors and what drives them at a young age to be the best in the world. I’m looking forward to teaming up again with the best in the business in Paul Loeffler, Jen Lada, and producers Bryan Jaroch and Steve Ackels, and the rest of our dedicated crew who love the Bee and what it stands for.”  

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the country’s longest-running educational program, getting its start in 1925. This is the 27th consecutive Spelling Bee that ESPN has broadcasted. Fans can expect a virtual event up until the Finals on July 8. Every round leading up to the Finals is airing on ESPN3.

ESPN is also returning its Play Along channel on ESPNU. Spelling Bee fanatics can try to pick the correct spelling of words while contestants are working through them in real-time. The Spelling Bee has set up a website for fans to follow along.

Sports TV News

Gus Johnson: Aqib Talib Has A Very Bright Future In TV

“The duo joined the Sports Media with Richard Deitsch podcast on The Athletic this week.”

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Gus Johnson

This Sunday, FOX will unveil a new broadcast team as Gus Johnson and 12-year NFL veteran cornerback Aqib Talib will be on the call for the Vikings-Cardinals matchup.

Calling games isn’t new for Talib. He was in the booth for two games last season, and he was part of the Los Angeles Rams’ preseason television crew. However, he has never done a game with Johnson, who fans are excited to hear on NFL games again. 

The duo joined the Sports Media with Richard Deitsch podcast on The Athletic this week. Johnson is very high on Talib’s future in the business. 

“Aqib had called games last year and we talked about me calling some games and it kind of just fell into place,” the excitable play-by-play man said. “It was kind of the perfect situation for us to work together because we feel really confident and strong about Aqib’s talent. We think he has a very, very bright future as a broadcaster. They wanted to put him with someone who had a little experience and I was excited about getting back in the NFL. The way I like to say it, it was perfect…It’s going to be a lot of fun.” 

Talib mentioned that he has an eight-game schedule at FOX this season. He will call Cardinals-Jaguars in Week 3 and Lions-Bears in Week 4 with Johnson.

“I thought we sounded good. I’m a people person, so I will vibe with just about anybody you put me with,” Talib said of his partner. “When I was with Gus, Gus has a way with making me more comfortable. When we did the practice game, I just felt more comfortable sitting there. After hanging out with Gus, I can tell you right now I will feel a lot more comfortable than any other booth I have sat in because we are building a relationship.”

When viewers hear Talib call games, they are getting more of the defensive perspective as opposed to hearing an analyst that is a quarterback. Johnson is drawn to Talib’s authenticity and insinuated that he may be a little jealous of the broadcast industry the former defensive back is starting in versus the one Johnson himself walked into.

“I’ve heard Aqib do games and yes he does sound different and that’s a good thing because nobody’s made up the same way. It’s a different sound from what we are accustomed to hearing, but I think it is a great sound and I think the sound is going to continue to improve as he does this more. The world is changing, that’s what I realize. I’m 54 years old, I look at the world and I see how people react to authenticity and it is kind of refreshing. I came in at a time where there was kind of a standard sound. This is going to be fun.”

With Johnson’s enthusiasm that for calling games and Talib’s different perspective on the game, this should make for a fun broadcast duo. 

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Sports TV News

Boomer Esiason: No Coach Wants To Be On In-Season Hard Knocks

“This is like the NFL jamming it down somebody’s throat, and I’m sure their owner out there obviously had to give the blessing for it or it’s not going to happen.”

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Boomer Esiason

During last night’s electrifying matchup between the New York Giants and Washington Football Team, the National Football League announced that HBO’s Hard Knocks will be producing its first ever in-season episodes centered on the Indianapolis Colts. In a statement released by the National Football League, excitement was communicated about this new opportunity to expand the show’s coverage of the action on- and off-the-gridiron.

“We could not be more thrilled to bring ‘Hard Knocks’ and the remarkable behind-the-scenes access it provides for an entirety of an N.F.L. season,” said N.F.L. Films senior executive Ross Ketover. “Thanks to HBO, along with the incredible cooperation from the Colts, we are able to deliver a groundbreaking new edition of the series.”

That excitement was not as much shared on a cloudy, damp Friday morning in New York City following a devastating loss by the Giants. Following their critiques of Daniel Jones, head coach Joe Judge and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, Boomer & Gio took some time on WFAN to speak about the implications this announcement will surely have on different stakeholders across the league.

“There’s no coach in the NFL that wants this,” said Boomer Esiason, former NFL MVP. “This is like the NFL jamming it down somebody’s throat, and I’m sure their owner out there obviously had to give the blessing for it or it’s not going to happen.”

Hard Knocks followed the Dallas Cowboys during training camp and the preseason this year after finishing third in the NFC East division in 2020, which included losing star quarterback Dak Prescott to an ankle injury. Esiason continued in his analysis on the ramifications of the momentous announcement, which divulged that multiple new episodes of the nearly 20-year series would begin premiering on Nov. 17.

“The head of the union should be fired if the HBO sponsorship money is not a part of the salary cap negotiation,” said Esiason. “I’m sure that it is; I’m assuming that it is.”

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Sports TV News

Hard Knocks Launching In-Season Edition In November

“Hard Knocks In Season: The Indianapolis Colts will debut on November 17.”

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Hard Knocks

The Indianapolis Colts are making their first appearance on Hard Knocks and we won’t have to wait until next summer to see it. The team will be at the center of the first ever in season edition of the HBO docuseries. 

Hard Knocks In Season: The Indianapolis Colts will debut on November 17. Fans will get to follow the team in real time as they push towards the end of the regular season. New episodes drop every Wednesday in HBO and HBO Max through the end of the team’s season. 

“We could not be more thrilled to bring Hard Knocks and the remarkable behind-the-scenes access it provides for the entirety of an NFL season,” Ross Ketover, NFL Films Senior Executive said in a press release. “Thanks to HBO, along with the incredible cooperation from the Colts, we are able to deliver a groundbreaking new edition of the series.”

The announcement was made during the halftime show of Thursday Night Football this week. The Colts dropped a hype video on the team’s official Twitter page immediately after. 

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