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Dan Orlovsky’s ESPN Contract Reportedly Set to Expire Soon

If ESPN lets Orlovsky go to free agency, other networks — notably Amazon — have interest in hiring him.

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Add another name to ESPN’s list of on-air talent facing contract renewals in the weeks and months to come.

Outkick’s Bobby Burack reports that Dan Orlovsky’s contract is set to expire in the next few months. And apparently, the NFL and college football analyst’s possible availability was a popular topic among media, agents, and executives in Los Angeles during Super Bowl week.

ESPN presumably wants to re-sign Orlovsky and keep the crew for what’s become a popular NFL Live show together. The network’s reboot of the show with Laura Rutledge, Marcus Spears, Mina Kimes, and Orlovsky not only resonates with TV viewers, but also engages with fans on social media with clips of behind-the-scenes and off-air frivolity in addition to highlights from the show.

In addition to NFL Live, Orlovsky appears regularly on Get Up, First Take, and calls college football games. He’s regarded highly by network executives as well as powerful on-air figures like Stephen A. Smith.

But if ESPN lets Orlovsky go to free agency, other networks — notably Amazon — have interest in hiring him. He could fill either a top game analyst role or a prominent studio analyst position at another network. Though it’s difficult to imagine he would be as valuable across so many platforms as he is with ESPN.

Two years ago, there were also reports that Orlovsky had attracted interest from NFL teams about joining their coaching staffs. That outcome seems unlikely here, considering that Orlovsky moved his family (with four children) to Connecticut when he was hired by ESPN (after contributing to NFL Network’s Good Morning Football based on analysis he was posting online).

Part of the reason Orlovsky wanted to go to ESPN was because he had the opportunity to call college football games in addition to his NFL studio analysis. That’s not an option he would have at other networks. Of course, a generous offer could compel him to look past that.

The report of Orlovsky’s contract expiring soon follows up on news (via the New York Post‘s Andrew Marchand) that ESPN has several other deals running out, including those for Randy Moss, Tim Hasselbeck, Booger McFarland, and Brian Griese. (Sunday NFL Countdown host Samantha Ponder is also nearing free agency.)

Yet of all the names mentioned here, it seems most likely that Orlovsky would be the one ESPN brings back, if it comes to that.

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Chris Fallica Leaving ESPN for FOX

Neither FOX or ESPN would comment on the situation, but in the Awful Announcing report it’s believed that there will be a send-off of some sort for Fallica on Saturday.

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A prominent sports betting voice featured on ESPN’s College GameDay will be heading to rival FOX and their Big Noon Kickoff show starting in 2023. According to Awful Announcing, Chris Fallica, affectionately known as “The Bear”, will make his last appearance on GameDay will be this weekend.

Fallica has been with ESPN since 1995. Since 2013, Fallica had been featured on GameDay making betting picks with his patented “Bear’s Board”.

Neither FOX or ESPN would comment on the situation, but in the Awful Announcing report it’s believed that there will be a send-off of some sort for Fallica on Saturday.

Fallica joins Tom Rinaldi as the second former GameDay voice to jump over to FOX and be featured on Big Noon Kickoff.

Both shows have experienced incredible viewership growth this season. For GameDay, there have been several weeks this season that have seen some of the largest audiences in the show’s history.

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Tim Brando Believes Executives Look For Familiarity, Not Great Voices For Announcers

“Executives are going more for people they think they audience knows from having been in the studio. As opposed to man that’s a great voice, that guy really gets it, and his judgement is fantastic.”

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Tim Brando has seen the broadcasting industry has evolved in a lot of ways through the years, but one thing that’s remained constant is how infrequently some of the announcing gigs with major networks open up to younger voices.

That’s mainly because you have veteran talent already occupying those positions with no plans for the immediate future to step aside.

On a recent edition of The Sports Talkers Podcast, FOX Sports broadcaster and host Tim Brando spoke to Stephen Strom about the reality that many broadcasters face.

“Yeah there are a lot more jobs, but there are fewer great jobs,” Brando said. “A lot of guys are getting jobs, but it’s like a dead end.”

But in terms of hiring younger talent for network jobs, he thinks it’s become more about adding faces to broadcast booths rather than voices.

“There’s a tendency I think now in our business to hire more visible and perhaps more popular talent because they’ve been in the studio,” he said. “But they’re not ready to be in the booth. Not everybody can do both well.”

Tim added that there’s a nuance to calling play-by-play versus working studio coverage. Brando said that perhaps it has a lot more to do with young broadcasters bypassing getting their start in radio and going right into TV.

“It seems to me that in some circles anyway in our business, executives are going more for people they think they audience knows from having been in the studio,” he said. “As opposed to man that’s a great voice, that guy really gets it, and his judgement is fantastic.”

Brando did mention some of the younger voices at FOX who have risen to the bigger opportunities in the booth, and how they ultimately worked their way up. He said he’s had the chance to offer advice to a few of them and act as a mentor in a way, because that’s how it was for him breaking into the industry.

“I believe in pouring into the young broadcasters out there, I really do,” he said. “Because Curt Gowdy poured into me. I think there’s a responsibility and a level of accountability for the generation before to help those that are coming up that you really respect.”

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MLB Network Airing 38 Hours of Winter Meetings Coverage

Coverage will begin on Sunday at 7 p.m. with MLB Tonight leading into the announcement of the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee’s election results for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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The annual winter meetings for MLB are set to take place in-person for the first time since 2019 next week, and MLB Network is ready to bring viewers all the coverage possible from San Diego.

The network is devoting 38 hours of live programming on-site, with shows like MLB Tonight, Hot Stove, High Heat, MLB Now and Intentional Talk emanating from the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel.

Coverage will begin on Sunday at 7 p.m. with MLB Tonight leading into the announcement of the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee’s election results for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Fans tuning in to MLB Network can expect to see Greg Amsinger, Fran Charles, Brian Kenny, Stephen Nelson, Alanna Rizzo, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, Lauren Shehadi and Matt Vasgersian hosting their respective shows throughout the week. Sean Casey, Mark DeRosa, Al Leiter, Cameron Maybin, Kevin Millar, Dan O’Dowd, Steve Phillips and Harold Reynolds will contribute coverage as analysts.

MLB Network will also carry coverage of the inaugural draft lottery from the winter meetings on Tuesday, December 6 at 8:30 p.m.

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