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Tony Kornheiser: Obama PTI Tribute Is ‘Greatest Honor’

“I get tears in my eyes. I’m not kidding. I am stunned by this. I had no idea this was happening.”

Ricky Keeler

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The 20th anniversary of Pardon The Interruption took place on Friday and many people have given their thoughts on what the show means to them. During Friday’s show, one person sent in a video message to Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon that they were completely surprised by. That was the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. 

On Monday’s edition of The Tony Kornheiser Show, Kornheiser spent time at the beginning of the show to talk about what the segment from Obama meant to him and how surprised he was to receive it. He was told by Matthew Kelliher, the coordinating producer of PTI, to not have any happy’s planned for the end of Friday’s show and that it would be a taped piece instead.

I’ll write an introduction for it thinking all along that it would be a dopey montage of junk Wilbon and I had done over 20 years. I wouldn’t watch it because it would depress me how old I am,” said Kornheiser. 

As Kornheiser starts to read the introduction, the crew at PTI did something that never happens on the show before Obama appeared on the screen and it eventually left Kornheiser stunned.

“I read the introduction and then on the screen. They enable me to see the screen and that doesn’t usually happen. I’m usually staring into prompter or staring into Wilbon, but not what’s on television. Barack Obama starts to talk and I am stunned.

“He doesn’t just say congratulations. He goes on for about 3 minutes. He says some funny stories about us with the added benefit of being true and then he says the nicest things about the show and what the show means and how the show fits into the fabric of the United States of America and why he likes it and why he thinks it’s important. I get tears in my eyes. I’m not kidding. I am stunned by this. I had no idea this was happening.”

In fact, Kornheiser said he had nothing planned to say after what he thought was just going to be a taped montage of the show.

“At the end, what I had said to Mike [Wilbon] before we got to the segment. Look, it is some sort of taped deal, why don’t you come out of it, you say what you want to say and I’ll just take us to Big Finish. Mike’s speechless. Now I have to say something. I just said, he looks better than we do.”

Kornheiser has been honored for a lot of different things, but he says that this is the greatest honor he has ever received.

“It’s the greatest honor to me. I can tell you that getting a doctorate from my school or being in the Hall of Fame at my high school.  Those are great honors, but to have the former President of the United States of America tell you and tell everyone watching how much he likes the show and what the show means. That was thrilling and so generous. You can tell I was affected by this.” 

Sports TV News

ESPN’s NFL Programming Sees Big September Growth

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

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For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

Sunday NFL Countdown is averaging 1.4 million viewers per show thus far in 2022. That up 15% from 2021’s first three shows of the NFL season. The season premiere – Sunday, Sept. 11 – averaged 1.6 million viewers, tying the network’s best Week 1 audience for the show since 2016 and is up 35% year-over-year.

NFL Live experienced large growth too. The episode airing after the first NFL Sunday, on Monday September 12, averaged 664,000 viewers which beat every NFL Live episode last season, including the most-watched episode on 2021 (December 17) which grabbed 635,000 viewers.

Monday Night Countdown is averaging 1.3 million viewers for its two, non-staggered September episodes, which aired in its traditional timeslot (6-8 pm).

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ESPN Assigns Broadcast Teams for MLB Wild Card Round

In preparation for the postseason, ESPN has assigned the broadcast teams for the series forthcoming.

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David Berding/Getty Images

There are just a few games left in the MLB season and the postseason begins this weekend with the Wild Card round. In preparation, ESPN has assigned the broadcast teams for the series forthcoming.

Andrew Marchand reports that the team assigned to the presumptive New York Mets Wild Card series will be Karl Ravech, David Cone and Eduardo Perez. The Mets still mathematically can win the NL East but they trail the Braves by two games with three to play.

He also reports that the St. Louis Wild Card series will be called by Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez. The Cleveland series will be broadcast by Boog Sciambi and Doug Glanville while the Toronto series will be called by Dave Flemming, Jessica Mendoza and Tim Kurkjian.

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Sports TV News

Stugotz: ‘Sean McDonough Hates The Aaron Judge Cut-Ins’

“If you look at the numbers, if you look at the interest, if you look at the revenue that it generates for the networks, it makes more sense to have an Aaron Judge at-bat interrupted by an Iowa State field goal attempt than it does the other way around.”

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College football fans are not being shy with how they feel about Aaron Judge. Whether it is private conversations or social media posts, people are making their disdain for the cut-ins to college football games on ESPN networks when the Yankee slugger comes to bat known. On Monday morning, Stugotz added that it isn’t just fans that are unhappy.

The Dan Le Batard Show discussed the second straight week of cut-ins on Monday morning. Stugotz pointed out that one of ESPN’s primary college football voices sounds just as annoyed as fans are.

“Sean McDonough hates the toss to Aaron Judge,” he said. Hates it!”

Last week, ESPN and ABC cut into games when Judge was sitting on 60 home runs. This week, he was sitting on 61. A 62nd home run would be the most in American League history.

Stugotz added that has to be part of McDonough’s frustration.

“In his defense, what are we cutting in for? I have no idea if [Aaron Judge] is breaking a record, what record he’s breaking, if he’s clean. I have no idea!”

Producer Mike Ryan Ruiz said the fact that Judge is yet to deliver is making the cut-ins more frustrating for fans.

“I think what hurts the whole thing is that Aaron Judge has been terrible during these cut-ins,” Ruiz said. “He’s been God awful during these cut-ins. I haven’t seen a single home runs during one of these cut-ins. There was genuine fury at a watch party I was at. Fury! At Aaron Judge.”

A popular criticism of ESPN has been that this kind of attention would not be paid to Aaron Judge if he was chasing a mark that wasn’t the home run record if he played anywhere other than New York. According to Ryan, the mistake is bigger than that. Why would regular season baseball ever interrupt college football?

“If you look at the numbers, if you look at the interest, if you look at the revenue that it generates for the networks, it makes more sense to have an Aaron Judge at-bat interrupted by an Iowa State field goal attempt than it does the other way around.”

There are four games left in Major League Baseball’s regular season. You can bet college football fans will make plenty of signs for College GameDay if Judge cannot hit number 62 before the playoffs start.

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