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MSG Networks, Caesars Sportsbook Launching ‘One Course with JB Smoove’ Series

“Watch me on ‘One Course with JB Smoove’ as I indulge in my two favorite things – eating, talking and laughing… Wait, that’s three!”

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MSG Networks is giving viewers a chance to all be Caesars. (Just like Cooper Manning, Caesar’s favorite.) MSG Networks and Caesars Sportsbook are partnering on a new interview series featuring Caesar himself (at least for the sportsbook’s current ad campaign), actor and comedian JB Smoove.

One Course with JB Smoove, Presented by Caesars Sportsbook premieres Friday, Feb. 25 at 11 p.m. ET. Smoove will sit down for a meal with a special cast of guests, including celebrity athletes, actors, comedians, and musicians over 12 episodes. Each episode will air after an MSG Network New York Knicks or New York Rangers telecast.

Friday’s premiere features Saturday Night Live cast member Kenan Thompson as the guest. A second episode will debut Sunday, Feb. 27 at 11 p.m. ET with Eli Manning sitting down with Smoove.

The entire lineup of One Course with JB Smoove, Presented by Caesars Sportsbook is as follows:

  • Friday, February 25 Kenan Thompson
  • Sunday, February 27 Eli Manning
  • Wednesday, March 2 Tracy Morgan
  • Sunday, March 6 CC Sabathia
  • Tuesday, March 8 Susie Essman
  • Friday, March 11 Roy Wood Jr.
  • Tuesday, March 15 Richard Kind
  • Wednesday, March 16 Heidi Gardner
  • Tuesday, March 22 Judy Gold
  • Friday, March 25 Fat Joe
  • Monday, March 28 Tina Fey
  • Tuesday, March 29 Henrik Lundqvist

Caesars Sportsbook branding will be prominently featured throughout the show, naturally, and “Betting 101” segments with brand ambassador Kenny Mayne will also be included in each episode.

One Course with JB Smoove provides us another opportunity to entertain and story-tell,” said Caesars Digitial chief marketing officer Sharon Otterman.

“When we partnered with MSG Networks, our goal was to create compelling content to entertain and delight sports bettors across New York state. We always knew that having JB Smoove (aka “Caesar”), an incredible guest list and a talented production team come together would create engaging content to captivate New Yorkers.”

The dinner interview series is something of a revival for Smoove, who hosted Four Courses with JB Smoove on MSG Networks for four seasons, beginning in 2013.

Each episode of One Course with JB Smoove will also be available via streaming on MSG GO, in addition to MSG Networks. The network’s website, YouTube channel, and social media platforms will also feature additional content each week.

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

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The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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