Are you looking forward to finally seeing Winning Time when it debuts on HBO? If you answered yes, you are very different from a number of people associated with the NBA. A cover story for The Hollywood Reporter by Lacey Rose details that the league, the Lakers, and several players have expressed a distinct lack of support for the series in various ways.
The league did not get creative input on the series. It also did not authorize the use of any logos or trademarks. NBA lawyers have already reached out to HBO to point this out.
As for the former players, Rose writes that several of the stars of the Showtime-era Lakers “allegedly detest [Winning Time’s] very existence.” She has sources that say former players are worried about just how much of the real story is going to be told. They wish they or the league had some way to “whitewash” what makes it to the screen.
Magic Johnson, in particular, doesn’t seem thrilled. He told TMZ that he “is not looking forward” to the show’s debut. He could be concerned about being painted in an unflattering light. He could also be concerned that the project will create competition for his own project, an auto-biographical docu-series at Apple TV+ in April. He and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who has also expressed reservations, will be part of a documentary for Hulu about those teams that the Lakers are behind.
HBO is pulling out all the stops to promote Winning Time. That included a private party and special screening in Cleveland that members of the team and NBA officials declined to attend. Rose contacted the Lakers for her article and received a response that read “We have no comment as we are not supporting nor involved with this project.”
Executive Producer Adam McKay hopes that some of those people will have their minds changed once they see the finished product.
“We’re coming at this with good intentions, but these guys don’t know that,” he told Rose. “They’re used to a certain degree of media that’s always going after them, and if I could talk to them, I’d say, ‘No, no, don’t worry, we’re going to paint the whole picture,’ but I get it, they don’t know me or [our showrunner] Max Borenstein, and it’s their right to really not like it.”
WWE Moving Smackdown From FOX to USA in 2024
“Under the terms of the deal, NBCUniversal will produce four primetime WWE specials each year too. Those will run on NBC.”
All good things must come to an end. That is the case with the relationship between the WWE and FOX. Smackdown will leave the network next year and return to USA Network in a new media rights agreement.
Several reports from earlier this year have indicated that FOX was unlikely to renew the deal.
A five-year deal worth a reported $287 million per year between the WWE and NBCUniversal begins in October 2024. It will put Smackdown on USA, where it ran from 2016 until 2019, and has a total value of more than $1.4 billion.
Under the terms of the deal, NBCUniversal will produce four prime time WWE specials each year too beginning during the 2024-25 season. Those will run on NBC.
“It’s a privilege and thrill to continue NBCU’s decades-long partnership with WWE which has helped cement USA Network’s consistent position as the top-rated cable entertainment network in live viewership,” Frances Berwick, chairman of NBCUniversal Entertainment, said in a statement. “With Friday nights on USA, primetime specials on NBC, and the WWE hub on Peacock, we’ll continue to use the power of our portfolio to super-serve this passionate fanbase.”
This does not mean all of WWE’s media rights are accounted for. The company is still in discussions for a new deal for Raw, which it expects to reach next year.
USA has enjoyed a more than 20-year relationship with Raw. It has been the anchor of the network’s Monday night programming and is routinely WWE’s most-viewed TV product.
NBCUniversal’s Peacock is also the home of WWE Network. The addition of Smackdown should strengthen the company’s position with the WWE.
Ourand reports that while the signs seem to indicate that WWE will exclusively be doing business with NBCUniversal, nothing is decided. Disney and Amazon have both met with TKO Holdings about acquiring some WWE programming and the companies have discussed the potential for Raw to move to a different night as part of a new deal.
ESPN Decision Not to Show Nick Chubb Replay ‘Out of Respect to the Viewers’
“We viewed the replays in our production truck immediately after the play and decided to use discretion out of respect to the viewers and Nick Chubb.”
The decision made not to show a replay of Nick Chubb’s injury on ABC’s Monday Night Football broadcast has been met with scrutiny. The network did not offer a detailed explanation for the decision.
“We viewed the replays in our production truck immediately after the play and decided to use discretion out of respect to the viewers and Nick Chubb,” an ESPN spokesperson said when asked by The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch how the decision was made.
The spokesperson added that the decision did not come down from network brass. It was made onsite by the Monday Night Football production crew.
On the broadcast, Troy Aikman revealed that the injury was “as bad as you can imagine” after Joe Buck told the audience that he had been informed that the network had decided not to replay the interview.
While some members of the public praised the decision, some sports media professionals have had the opposite reaction, including Dan Patrick, who said ABC had a duty to the viewers to show a replay to put the sport and the event in context.
Marcellus Wiley has ‘No Love & No Respect’ for Stephen A. Smith’s Ethics
“I love the truth more than any of these fools, and the truth is, you cannot attack Max’s credentials.”
Marcellus Wiley doesn’t want to hear Stephen A. Smith caping for Shannon Sharpe. He said its hard to overlook the hypocrisy of the ESPN star saying it is unfair to see Sharpe “pushed out” of Undisputed when he did the same thing to Max Kellerman on First Take.
Smith said that he has no ill-will towards Kellerman but did not like hosting First Take with him. He claimed that his ultimatum to ESPN management that one of them had to go was about the show not resonating with audiences the way it used to.
“He got Max fired. Put off the show,” Wiley said. “It’s hard to say. Stephen A felt threatened point blank. Ain’t no way around it.”
Wiley says that part of Stephen A. Smith’s problem with Terrell Owens is that Owens touched a nerve with his joke that Kellerman sounded Blacker than Smith. Wiley said that for whatever reason, it is something Smith remains sensitive about.
He also took Smith to task for claiming that he knows the story behind Sharpe’s ouster from FS1 but cannot tell it. Wiley says Smith has a more compelling story to tell and that people just want to hear him own up to why Kellerman had to go.
“I still got love for Stephen A,” Wiley said. “At the same time, you know me, I love the truth more than any of these fools, and the truth is, you cannot attack Max’s credentials.”
He added that for all of the talk about Kellerman never being the right fit for First Take, he can remember working with Kellerman on ESPN Los Angeles and hearing Smith call to try and convince Kellerman to move to New York to join First Take.
“Grandma always said ‘can’t makes sense out of nonsense.’ Let me say this. Stephen A gets a salute from all, especially me, because I respect his work ethic. But right now, and a lot of people are seeing it right before our very eyes, no love and no respect for your ethics.”