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ESPN Spotlights Hosts & Anchors They’ve Re-Signed, Hired In 2021

The network has signed more than a dozen hosts and anchors to new deals in 2021.

Russ Heltman

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ESPN
Courtesy: ESPN

The more things change, the more they stay the same at ESPN, and they made that known in a Tweet from their PR account on Friday morning. The company has been in critic’s crosshairs for letting talent go, all while (justifiably) paying over $12 million annually to Stephen A. Smith.

The Maria Taylor contract negotiation put these issues front and center when reports leaked that she was looking for “Stephen A. money” to renew her deal. The network couldn’t agree on a fresh contract with Taylor, who has already made her debut with new employer NBC. Taylor joins Kenny Mayne and Ariel Helwani as high profile exits from Bristol in 2021, but ESPN has signed 15 on-air talents and counting in 2021 and wanted to make sure people don’t forget it.

“ESPN has re-signed or hired more than a dozen television anchors & hosts so far in 2021,” the Twitter post from ESPN PR read.

Neil Everett, Stan Verrett, Rece Davis, Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, Peter Burns, Brian Custer, Charli Arnolt, Dari Nowkah, Michael Eaves, Tony Reali, Ashley Brewer, Paul Finebaum, Gary Striewski, Alyssa Lang, and Chris Berman rounded out the featured group.

Reading between the lines a bit, it is interesting that the PR team chose to single out “anchors and hosts” in these featured hires. According to Andrew Marchand, those roles typically generate lower salaries at the top of the industry than TV opinion-makers bring in. 

Finebaum is the only member of this 15 person group that is spouting his opinions every day on ESPN platforms. Outside of a few opinion opportunities here or there, the rest of this group keeps some of ESPN’s biggest properties on the right track through unbiased hosting.

It could be much ado about nothing like the Aaron Rodgers “drama” this offseason, but it sure seems like a targeted post by ESPN. Critics have lobbed napalm their way, yet the network has the receipts and talent to fire back in force.

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Draymond Green, JJ Redick Sell Out Live Podcast Show

The show will collaborate for the first time and it will mark an interesting time in the thrusting of new media onto the public consciousness.

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Old Man Draymond

The two new and most visible faces of the new media influx have teamed up for a live show that will take place in New York City. Draymond Green and JJ Redick are bringing their respective podcasts to the stage for a live experience.

On Monday (June 27), Draymond Green’s The Draymond Green Show and JJ Redick’s The Old Man and the Three will seek to entertain an already sold out audience at The City Winery in New York City.

The show will collaborate for the first time and it will mark an interesting time in the thrusting of new media onto the public consciousness. JJ Redick has earned universal praise for how he has handled his career post-retirement from the NBA, including appear often opposite Stephen A. Smith on ESPN’s First Take as well as the network’s myriad of other programming.

Draymond Green has been very public with his podcast that has very publicly recorded episodes minutes after Warriors games. He has recently invoked his mantra that he isn’t a part of the media (despite signing a contract with Turner Sports and Colin Cowherd’s The Volume). Instead he insists he is a part of the aforementioned new media.

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Scott Van Pelt Not Hurt By Draymond Green’s “New Media” Comment

“He’s the one that said it. Isn’t he the one who said he’s new media? I was just trying to give him credit in saying, ‘Look, you now have control of your narrative and you can go do your podcast now.’”

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Scott Van Pelt

We have heard an awful lot in the fast month about “new media” with a large section of that discussion coming in regards to athletes in or formerly in the NBA. One such interaction was between a member of that new media and Scott Van Pelt.

After Game 5 of the NBA Finals, a victorious Draymond Green was interviewed on SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt. In the interview, Van Pelt asked Green about dealing with the outside “noise” around the Finals. After Green gave a to-be-expected type answer, Van Pelt followed-up with the initial comment that start a wave.

Van Pelt: You’re part of the media now and you get to control the conversation from your perspective and I know you’ll-

Green: New media.

He then corrected Van Pelt’s assertion that Green had stated Stephen A. Smith was new media by saying:

Green: And by the way go watch The Draymond Green Show. I said Stephen A. sometimes acts like the new media. Sometimes he doesn’t. That’s on you, but nonetheless, don’t just lump me in with media, baby. It’s the new media.

Scott Van Pelt appeared on the SI Media Podcast and was asked about this exchange.

“I didn’t get that,” Van Pelt said of Green’s resistance in being associated with the word “media.”

“He’s the one that said it. Isn’t he the one who said he’s new media? I was just trying to give him credit in saying, ‘Look, you now have control of your narrative and you can go do your podcast now.’”

Van Pelt went on about Green’s categorizing of Smith and other media as a separate column of media.

“I guess what Draymond actually said was sometimes he’s new media. I don’t give a shit who’s what…I think now as it relates to media, there’s no new and old because people that are in the old media are doing the new media and people that are in new media are cutting through in ways that people in old media didn’t think they ever would many years ago. I guess all I’m saying is whatever Stephen A. is, he exists in both lanes and Draymond, clearly his content cuts through on his podcast or with me.

I wasn’t hurt by it. I didn’t take it like he was mad at me. I was just correcting the semantics. It didn’t trouble me. Whatever. However Draymond frames what Stephen A. Smith is or what any of us are, it doesn’t feel important. I think it’s important he has that place where he wants to do his thing. And I think people are interested in hearing from the guy that was just out there not long after saying what he has to say.”

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Big Cat Asks For Listeners’ Help Booking Kevin Durant on Pardon My Take

“On a recent edition of the podcast, Big Cat talked about how the Brooklyn Nets star has continued to snub requests to come on the show.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Barstool’s Big Cat has been trying to book NBA star Kevin Durant on Pardon My Take for five years, but the former MVP just won’t say yes.

On a recent edition of the podcast, Big Cat talked about how the Brooklyn Nets star has continued to snub requests to come on the show.

“We want Kevin Durant on this show, and he has just alpha-ed me so hard at this point,” Big Cat said. “I need people to start replying to his tweets saying just go on Pardon My Take.”

It’s not like KD has given Big Cat the cold shoulder. Big Cat said Durant has responded to his DMs on Twitter before, even wishing him Happy Thanksgiving one year. But so far all attempts to get Durant on PMT have been futile.

“Maybe if we start getting some rings, then he’ll be like, ‘Yeah they’re an elite team, and I want to join up with them. And maybe I can help them win something,'” PFT Commenter said, referencing the fact that PMT is yet to be recognized with any podcasting awards.

Durant did more or less tell the podcast on Twitter he wasn’t interested on Wednesday.

Durant’s response probably still won’t deter Big Cat from trying to get Durant on the show, but at least they know where KD stands.

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