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Sean Payton Also Drawing Interest From Amazon For ‘TNF’ Analyst Gig

Does this mean that talks with Fox hit a wall? Or are Payton and his representatives doing their due diligence in exploring all possible options?

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Just as reports circulated about Amazon showing interest in ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit for its Thursday Night Football analyst opening, news of the streaming platform meeting with another prospective broadcaster is making the rounds.

According to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, Amazon is meeting with former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton this week regarding the TNF gig. Perhaps this is the meeting that Amazon originally wanted with Sean McVay. Regardless, Florio reports this is the second time that Payton has met with Amazon executives, which would appear to indicate the sides are inching toward an agreement.

News of Payton meeting with Amazon comes just days after Fox reportedly entered negotiations with the coach. Does this mean that talks with Fox hit a wall? Or are Payton and his representatives doing their due diligence in exploring all possible options?

Previous reports indicated that Fox was more interested in Payton as a studio analyst, perhaps to eventually replace Jimmy Johnson for the coaching perspective on the Fox NFL Sunday studio crew. He could work on the Fox NFL Kickoff team before that or bounce between the two shows.

But with Troy Aikman reportedly leaving Fox’s No. 1 NFL broadcast team for ESPN and Monday Night Football, the network has an opening alongside Joe Buck and Payton would be a splashy name that attracts headlines (and, hopefully, viewers). And as Florio points out, Fox might not pay as much as Amazon but the over-the-air network has a greater reach and more established credibility with fans.

One concern with hiring Payton would be whether or not he intends to return to NFL coaching (notably the Dallas Cowboys) after taking a year off from the grind. Fox presumably would consider it less of an issue if they had to replace him on a studio crew after one season. But as the analyst on the No. 1 broadcast team, that seems more problematic in terms of developing on-screen chemistry and familiarity with viewers.

Putting play-by-play broadcaster Joe Buck in the position of working with two different analysts in consecutive seasons seems unfair to him. But maybe the subtext to such a move would be that this is an experiment.

There’s no guarantee Payton will be good as a broadcaster. And if he’s a flop, Fox could just move Greg Olsen up to that spot, which they could’ve done anyway. Any bad publicity from making changes so often might be offset by the big headlines attracted by putting a top NFL coach in the booth.

Of course, that’s making the presumption that Payton wants to return to coaching. Maybe he doesn’t, especially since the money in broadcasting is so much better for a far less demanding lifestyle.

Sports TV News

Cris Collinsworth Wonders If Tom Brady Knows Broadcasting Is a Hard Job

“It’s a seven day a week job. For somebody that has reached where he’s reached in the NFL and made that kind of money, I’m honestly really surprised.”

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Many in the sports media industry were surprised by the news that Tom Brady will join FOX Sports as the lead NFL analyst when he eventually decides to end his playing career. That includes the current lead analyst of NBC’s Sunday Night Football telecasts, Cris Collinsworth. 

“I’m a little surprised,” he said on the latest episode of The Cris Collinsworth Podcast. “There’s no amount of money they could throw at him that would have influenced him. He’s going to still be working weekends for half the year no matter what it is.” 

Collinsworth mentioned that he hears from most people and they ask him what the TV life is like when they are thinking about getting into the industry. Tom Brady was not one of those people. He hopes the GOAT knows what he is in for.

“It’s hard. I’m working on the airplane when I’m flying home from the other game. I’m working on the next game. It’s a seven day a week job. For somebody that has reached where he’s reached in the NFL and made that kind of money, I’m honestly really surprised. I guess the money now has gotten to the point where it’s of interest to everybody.” 

While some might be unsure about how Brady will do in the FOX NFL booth with Kevin Burkhardt, count Collinsworth in as one of those people who think Brady will do a great job.

“I think he’ll be fantastic. Every conversation I have ever had with him about the game of football, you always go oh, I didn’t know. He’s always been pretty open and honest with us. He has a real personal side to the game…He’s got it all, but I’ve got to say I am surprised.”

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Sunday Night Baseball Viewership Up On ESPN

“Telecasts are averaging 1.73 million viewers.”

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The first month of the 2022 MLB regular season has concluded and ESPN is celebrating an uptick in viewership for Sunday Night Baseball.

The network announced on Tuesday that viewership for Sunday Night Baseball is up 4% compared to this time last year. In addition to that, compared to the 2020 full season average, ratings are up 40%.

Telecasts are averaging 1.73 million viewers. The Dodgers/Cubs game on May 8 averaged 1.781 million and peaked at over 2.1 million viewers during the 8-8:15 p.m. window.

Karl Ravech, Eduardo Perez and David Cone comprise the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast booth, with Buster Olney contributing reports.

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Nickelodeon Gets Christmas Day NFL Game

“This will be the network’s first regular season game.”

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The NFL’s Christmas triple header will include a little slime this year. The afternoon game between the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams and Denver Broncos will be simulcast on CBS and Nickelodeon.

Nickelodeon has ramped up its NFL presence each year since 2020. The network has aired a kid-friendly broadcast of a Wild Card Round playoff game each of the last two seasons. Last year’s tile between the 49ers and Cowboys drew an audience of 41 million.

Before the start of last season, the studio show NFL Slimetime debuted. This will be the network’s first regular season game.

Kickoff is set for 4:30 pm Eastern on Christmas Day. No details of what Nickelodeon’s coverage may include are available yet. Nate Burleson, Noah Eagle and Nickelodeon star Gabrielle Nevaeh Green have been on the call of the network’s previous NFL broadcasts.

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