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Cris Collinsworth: NBC Wanted To Do The Maddencast Years Ago

“There was a time when they wanted John Madden to do the games and I’m in the studio and they always sort of had this dream of two analysts doing the games.”

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Fans of the NFL have heard Cris Collinsworth’s voice on either NBC or FOX at some point on Sundays in their lives. He is more known for being an analyst than doing play-by-play, but it was an idea that NBC thought of trying when they got the rights to football back. 

On the latest episode of the Just Getting Started with Rich Eisen podcast, Collinsworth talked about his broadcasting journey and an idea NBC had that was similar to what Peyton and Eli Manning are doing now at ESPN.

“There was a time when they wanted John Madden to do the games and I’m in the studio and they always sort of had this dream of two analysts doing the games. I would sort of do the play-by-play and John would be the caller, but it would be much more of a conversation about football than a traditional broadcast. Like Peyton and Eli sort of.”

“They fly a jumbo jet 747 across the country. They take the whole NBC Sports team to John Madden’s studios. We go in to do this game. I’m doing the play-by-play. I’m sort of like how hard can it be?  I started doing some practice games before that. They put a microphone on me and Merril Hoge came and they would record them and we would call the games.”

However, when Collinsworth tried to do play-by-play, he quickly learned that he could not call the game the same way he does as an analyst. 

“I couldn’t undo what I had learned to do my whole life. When I broadcast the game, I don’t watch the football. A lot of times, I lose where it is. I think Al’s job is to tell you what’s happening to the football and my job is to tell you something you didn’t see. When I’m trying to do play-by-play, now I’ve got to watch the football. I didn’t really know just getting on-the-air, that’s a lot harder than you think it is.”

As the story goes on, Dick Ebersol tells Collinsworth if he wants the job, he can have it. However, Ebersol also mentioned that he had the chance to get Al Michaels and now the two are partners on the NBC broadcast years later. 

According to Collinsworth, Ebersol has been an important figure in his life. Collinsworth told Eisen that at one point, he could have stayed at FOX or gone to CBS at the time. He was going to go to CBS, but something Ebersol said made him change his mind: 

“He said ‘you are very good at football and breaking it down and serious and you’re edgy. They are going to teach you how to have fun with broadcasting. They are going to teach you that broadcasting is more than just the game. It’s a story. It’s a sense of humor. It’s a welcome into my home.’ I thought about it a long time and I was definitely going to be the fourth wheel on that show, but I was happy that I did.”

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ESPN Decides Not To Send Reporters To Beijing For 2022 Winter Olympics

ESPN originally planned to send four reporters to Beijing to provide coverage.

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One day after NBC announced that none of its 2022 Winter Olympics broadcast teams will work on-site from Beijing and instead work remotely, ESPN has made a similar decision.

On Thursday, the network announced that it won’t send any news personnel to China to cover the Winter Games. According to its official release on the matter, ESPN originally planned to send four reporters to Beijing to provide coverage. But those four will now work remotely with the numerous television and digital personnel assigned to the Olympics.

ESPN.com already has a section dedicated to its Olympics coverage and plans will continue to provide the site with feature content along with scoreboards, medal counts, and additional information and statistics that will be updated in real-time. That Olympics content will also be available on the ESPN app.

Though video restrictions for Olympics highlights will be in place, SportsCenter will also report on results from Beijing and run reports and features on the Beijing games. (NBC holds exclusive rights in the U.S. for Olympics video footage.)

“The safety of our employees is of utmost importance to us,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN’s executive VP, event and studio production, in the network’s announcement. “With the pandemic continuing to be a global threat, and with the COVID-related on-site restrictions in place for the Olympics that would make coverage very challenging, we felt that keeping our people home was the best decision for us.”

The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics begin with the opening ceremony Friday, Feb. 4.

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2022 Baseball Hall of Fame Election Results Exclusively Revealed On MLB Network Jan. 25

Greg Amsinger, Brian Kenny, and Lauren Shehadi will host MLB Network’s extensive Hall of Fame election coverage.

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This Tuesday, Jan. 25, the 2022 National Baseball Hall of Fame election results will be announced exclusively on MLB Network at 6:00 p.m. ET in a four-hour announcement show.

Beginning at 4:00 p.m. ET, National Baseball Hall of Fame President Josh Rawitch will reveal the results live from the Hall of Fame Plaque Gallery in Cooperstown, as voted by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA). MLB Network’s Hall of Fame program on Tuesday will be simulcast on MLB.com and in the MLB app on connected devices.

Greg Amsinger, Brian Kennyand Lauren Shehadi will host MLB Network’s extensive Hall of Fame election coverage. This will include analysis from 2018 Ford C. Frick Award winner Bob Costas, MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds, and MLB Network insiders and Hall of Fame voters Jon Morosi, Joel Sherman and Tom Verducci.

During the program, there will be clips from a players-only roundtable discussion on the 2022 BBWAA ballot hosted by Reynolds and featuring MLB Network analyst Yonder Alonso, three-time Gold Glove Award winner Mike Cameron and 2007 Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy.

More of baseball’s elite will also join the programming, including Cleveland Guardians manager Terry Francona, 2022 BBWAA Career Excellence Award winner Tim Kurkjian, three-time Manager of the Year Award winner Jim Leyland, and longtime baseball journalist and Hall of Fame voter Rob Parker. MLB Network will cover the ballot results across its studio programming, including Hot Stove (9:00 a.m. ET), High Heat (1:00 p.m. ET) and MLB Now (2:00 p.m. ET).   

According to MLB Network’s official release, the live pre-announcement show will also feature the following content:

  • A Tom Verducci essay on 2022 being the final year on the ballot for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.
  • A feature by customized piece by hip-hop legend and baseball diehard Chuck D on which questions fans and voters face as this year’s announcement approaches.
  • Brian Kenny looks at each of the eight first-year candidates on the Hall of Fame ballot.
  • Short videos on the atmosphere surrounding Hall of Fame Weekend in Cooperstown, the Plaque Gallery, and candidates anticipating getting “the call.”

Prior to the Tuesday announcement, Brian Kenny will host MLB Now live from the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday, Jan. 24 at 2:00 p.m. ET. And following the election results on Wednesday, Jan. 26, MLB Network will cover the announcement across its daily studio programming.

MLB Network will also exclusively air the 2022 National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Sunday, July 24.

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ESPN, FS1 Morning Studio Shows Drew Big Ratings Monday After Cowboys’ Playoff Loss

Dallas losing a playoff game in embarrassing fashion compelled plenty of viewers to tune in for sports debate shows.

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Monday morning following the Dallas Cowboys’ 23-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in their NFL Wild Card playoff game was very good for sports daytime TV. Both ESPN and FS1 boasted big, record-setting ratings for their studio debate shows, with viewers obviously wanting to know what on-air personalities and analysts thought of the Cowboys’ bumbling last-second failure.

On ESPN, Get Up drew 658,045 viewers, a six percent increase from the show’s previous season-high, set a week earlier. First Take attracted 918,386 viewers, the largest audience for that program. That total seven percent higher than the show’s prior best number, set on Dec. 28, 2019.

Fans clearly wanted to see Stephen A. Smith take delight in the Cowboys’ demise, also perhaps knowing that Hall of Fame Dallas receiver Michael Irvin was sitting across the desk from him Monday.

As mentioned, FS1 benefited from the Cowboys losing as well. Skip and Shannon: Undisputed brought in 442,000 viewers, the highest audience that show has ever attracted. Fans surely tuned in to see the reaction from Cowboys fan Skip Bayless and the taunts he’d receive from Shannon Sharpe.

The Herd with Colin Cowherd also earned its best ratings on FS1, drawing 290,000 viewers for Monday’s show. The network would also like you to know that the audience for both programs has gotten a boost year-over-year, with Undisputed enjoying an 89 percent increase and The Herd up 20 percent.

The Cowboys have always been a big ratings draw for the NFL’s television partners. Apparently, Dallas losing a playoff game in embarrassing fashion provides a significant benefit for the shows responding to the weekend’s major sporting events.

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