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ESPN Adds Commentator Angela Rye as Special Correspondent

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to give culturally relevant stories a voice on this iconic platform.”

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As Black History Month begins, ESPN is adding award-winning commentator Angela Rye to its roster of special correspondents. (Her work will not be limited to the month of February.)

Rye, who was previously a political commentator for CNN, will contribute essays, topical features, and commentaries on sports-related matters of race, culture, and social justice issues across the network’s shows and digital platforms, according to an official announcement. Additionally, she will appear in-studio and produce stories under the ESPN Black History Always banner, which was launched last year.

“Sports plays a critical role in our culture, bringing joy to us all in the midst of unprecedented challenges,” Rye said in ESPN’s announcement. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to give culturally relevant stories a voice on this iconic platform.”

Among the subjects will Rye will cover for ESPN are the impact of Jackie Robinson 75 years after breaking baseball’s color barrier, the 50th anniversary of Title IX, athletes’ role in social justice movements, and those making a difference at HBCUs.

Some of Rye’s features will include topics such as Jackie Robinson’s impact 75 years after he broke the color barrier; a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX; the role athletes play in social justice movements; and difference makers at HBCUs.

In addition to her work for ESPN, Rye will continue appearing on The Breakfast Club syndicated radio show and her podcast On One with Angela Rye. She has provided analysis and commentary for a variety of outlets, including NPR, HBO, NBC, ABC, and CNN. Her production company, 206 Productions, has made several award-winning documentary specials for BET.

“Angela is one of the most talented and distinctive commentators of race and culture working today,” said ESPN senior vice president for NBA and studio production David Roberts.

“Her strong connection and commitment to the Black community will serve this series of vitally important stories on African American athletes making history and a positive difference throughout the year. We are thrilled she decided to join the ESPN family and look forward to collaborating.”

Sports TV News

Expanded NFL Season And Playoffs Could Cost NBC Golden Globes

“The 2023 edition of the show was on NBC after the two sides struck a one-year deal back in September.”

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There’s no hiding the fact that the NFL reigns supreme in TV ratings. Unfortunately for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which puts on the Golden Globe Awards, the NFL is too strong to compete against.

Since the NFL expanded the regular season to 17 games over 18 weeks, and added a seventh playoff team in each conference, in 2021-22, NBC’s obligation to football has taken precedent over its obligation to airing the Golden Globes.

The award show this year aired on Tuesday, January 10. On January 8, NBC aired the final regular season game of the year on Sunday Night Football between the Lions and Packers. The game drew an audience of 23.9 million, which NBC said was the highest rating a SNF finale has gotten in six years. NBC carried an AFC wild card playoff game this past Sunday night with the Bengals and Ravens. That game averaged 21.2 million.

Meanwhile the Golden Globes drew in 6.3 million. That number was down 9% compared to the 2021 ceremony. NBC didn’t air the Golden Globes in 2022 amid a Los Angeles Times expose into the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

With the HFPA mired in scandal and waning interest in their award show, NBC could be done with the Golden Globes. The 2023 edition of the show was on NBC after the two sides struck a one-year deal back in September. So there are questions abound about if NBC will continue to air it. However knowing that even with the expanded season and playoffs, the option to shift the award show to later in January on a Sunday night after NBC has fulfilled its obligation to the league is on the table. But that could throw a wrench in the award season schedule as well.

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Sports TV News

LIV Golf Nearing TV Deal With The CW Network

“LIV Golf television analyst David Feherty had hinted that the upstart league could potentially have a deal in place with The CW Network for American television rights.”

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According to a report from Front Office Sports, LIV Golf has laid out a deal with The CW Network for television carriage in the United States.

The deal is a multi-year agreement that will see the tour own real estate in lesser-viewed time slots on the network. A revenue-sharing relationship between the tour and the television network is expected to be struck.

LIV Golf television analyst David Feherty had hinted that the upstart league could potentially have a deal in place with The CW Network for American television rights.

After a standup comedy show in West Palm Beach last week, Feherty reportedly told the crowd “Have you heard of CW? I might get fired for this, but…,” according to report from Tom D’Angelo of The Palm Beach Post.

Sports Business Journal reporter John Ourand had previously reported a deal between the Saudi-backed breakaway golf tour and the network was likely.

Nexstar Media Group — the nation’s largest television owner — is the majority owner of The CW Network. There are around 220 affiliates of the network on over-the-air television stations. Rumors of an acquisition of LIV Golf’s rights come on the heels of The CW Network being linked to the potential launch of a college football bowl game that would air exclusively on the network.

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Sports TV News

Stephen A. Smith: ‘I Don’t Feel Obligated To Agree With Black Community’

“I want the Black community to always know that they have somebody in me that’s going to at least tell the world what we’re feeling and why, whether I agree with it or not.”

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Stephen A. Smith is out promoting his new memoir Straight Shooter. He recently sat down for a conversation with Men’s Health magazine.

Interviewer Rachel Epstein covers a wide variety of topics with Smith. Some are about what can be found in the book. Some are about the First Take star’s public perception.

She asked how Smith balances the responsibility of representing the Black community with his brand. On ESPN, Smith is known for being unique and unapologetic for his sometimes over-the-top persona.

“Number one by being fair,” he said. “By trying to gather as much information and educate myself on issues as much as I possibly can.”

He added that he has never felt pressure to think a certain way or say a certain thing. Even if pressure existed, he prides himself on not giving in to it.

“I never feel an obligation to agree with my community. I believe we all have a right to think the way we want to think. But I do feel a responsibility to make sure that the perspective emanating from my community is heard, even if I disagree.”

Stephen A. Smith is one of the highest-paid and most visible employees at ESPN. He said that a certain responsibility comes along with that status. He wants the Black community to know that even if he doesn’t agree, he will make sure people know what he is hearing when he is on TV talking about an important subject.

“I want the Black community to always know that they have somebody in me that’s going to at least tell the world what we’re feeling and why, whether I agree with it or not.”

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