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Cooper Manning Talks Media Rise

Manning has expanded his media roles over the past few years.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: Getty Images/Bob Levey

Cooper Manning has been hard at work on his Soup with Coop podcast. Now he’s got his sights set on this week’s College Bowl reboot from NBC. Manning chatted with the New York Post about the first few months of doing his quirky show on The Volume Podcast Network and what might be in store on NBC Tuesday night.

“It’s really just light-hearted, fun, and hopefully interesting,” Manning said about his podcast. “I probably screw that up and make it less interesting, and it’s probably my fault, but I’m trying my best… I love when the guests start making fun of me and giving me a hard time… all my notes you might as well just burn them because the episode just takes its own life.”

Manning stays true to the podcast title by sharing a bowl of soup on the show with guests he chooses himself, although they get to pick the type of soup. Famous names to grace the program include Bob Costas, Ric Flair, and Herschel Walker.

“We interview Herschel Walker soon,” Manning said to the New York Post. “He eats bean soup every day and is all muscle and stud-like, and he’s a soup eater — that kind of blew me away.”

Manning is a prominent piece on the upcoming College Bowl which airs Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on NBC. College students from all over the country are representing their schools in a four-round bracketed tournament to award the Capital One “College Bowl” trophy. Peyton Manning is hosting the show while his brother fulfills sideline reporting duties.

“This is our opportunity to bring back a show that was really famous in the ‘60s and early ‘70s,” Manning said. “That was probably a little more academic than what we’re doing. Ours is going to be more fun, while mixing in questions about pop culture, sports, history, geography, and more.”

Check out the full interview with Manning right here.

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

Jordan Bondurant

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YES Network

The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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