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Gregg Giannotti Asks If The Oscars Are Back After Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock

Gregg Giannotti broke down where the incident could have gone afterwards. As he points out, Rock initially seemed as if he wanted to retaliate with more jokes at Smith’s expense.

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Sure, the 2022 NCAA Tournament is down to the Final Four. And what a quartet it is with Villanova, Kansas, North Carolina, and Duke deciding the national championship in New Orleans. Normally, that would surely be the sports radio topic of the day.

But not after the 2022 Academy Awards, which provided a moment that dominated social media Sunday night. Will Smith walking up to the stage to slap presenter Chris Rock, after the comedian made fun of the actor’s wife will be referenced in video clips, memes, and best Oscars moments for quite possibly the rest of our lifetimes.

Every TV morning news show and radio show — sports or otherwise — covered the story on Monday. What else was there to talk about, really? And if the job is to react and give opinions on a subject, well, Smith slapping Rock is exactly the kind of story for that.

Monday morning’s Boomer & Gio on WFAN was no exception. The two already cover sports and culture, along with personal stories and behind-the-scenes happenings in the studio, as any good morning show should. So naturally, the Smith-Rock incident came up.

Beyond recapping the slap itself and the moments that led up to it, Gregg Giannotti broke down where the incident could have gone afterwards. As he points out, Rock initially seemed as if he wanted to retaliate with more jokes at Smith’s expense. And there’s a lot of material to mine, especially in regards to Smith’s open marriage with Jada Pinkett Smith.

Rock also briefly looked backstage at producers, presumably wondering if the show was going to continue or go to a commercial break. When it became apparent that the show would go on, Rock maintained his composure (though was briefly flustered, as anyone likely would be) to present the award for Best Documentary Feature.

And the show did indeed go on. As Boomer Esiason pointed out, that included Smith winning the Best Actor award for his performance in King Richard, leading to a bizarre speech in which the star talked about protecting family. Then he apologized to the Academy and those in attendance, but not to Rock.

Giannotti wrapped up the segment by saying he thought that “the Oscars are now back.” Is Hollywood’s self-congratulatory night a must-see event again?

If not for The Slap, most of the talk about the Oscars would have been about what a terrible, disjointed show it was, with features and performances filling up space instead of awards being presented. Not to mention that nearly all of the 10 Best Picture nominees — including the eventual winner CODA — were films that a majority of people didn’t see, whether because they weren’t popular in mainstream culture or because audiences still haven’t fully embraced going back to theaters.

Certainly, bringing an “anything can happen” anticipation and suspense to the proceedings could lead to more people paying attention. But people tuning in to see somebody else rush the stage or another incident of violence can’t be what the Academy or ABC wants.

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Andy Gresh: ‘Greg Olsen Got Pushed Out for the Greatest Player in the History of the Game’

“Even in the world of tight ends he doesn’t scratch the surface of where Tom Brady has been.”

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Photos of Andy Gresh and Greg Olsen and a logo for WEEI
Gresh Photo Courtesy: Audacy Olsen Photo Courtesy: FOX Sports

The Sports Emmy Awards were handed out last night and one particular award caught the attention of WEEI’s Gresh & Fauria show in Boston. Hosts Andy Gresh and Christian Fauria talked about the category of Outstanding Personality/Event Analyst where the nominees were Troy Aikman, Cris Collinsworth, Greg Olsen, Bill Raftery, John Smoltz and Tom Verducci.

Olsen won the award, and the show played the audio from his acceptance speech. “I think there’s a lot of people wondering what I’m going to say right now,” Olsen said. “Coming into tonight, people asked me, they say, ‘What’s your biggest threat to your future in the business?’ And everyone’s like, ‘Oh, Brady and this,’ and I think it’s Andy from ‘Toy Story.’ If he gets in, (Cris) Collinsworth, (Troy) Aikman, we’re dead. But I really appreciate it.”

Olsen later added, “I don’t know what the future holds, all I know is I love talking football, I love talking ball, I love studying it, I love seeing where the game is going. Wherever that takes me, whatever level it is, I’m more committed to the game of football now.”

It was the “I don’t know what the future holds” part of what Olsen said that caught the host’s attention. They took that as Olsen pouting and not being happy to be on the No. 2 FOX Sports NFL team. Fauria used the term “pushed out” and Gresh wanted to make a point about that.

“Again, Greg Olsen got pushed out for the greatest player in the history of the game,” Gresh said. “And they’re not firing him, they’re moving him to the No. 2 spot… and guess what, if you don’t keep that gig, the only thing that’ll be on the epitaph of the career resume is that you got bumped by Tom Brady. You’re good, settle in for No. 2, wait your turn somewhere else…but even in the world of tight ends he doesn’t scratch the surface of where Tom Brady has been.”

Fauria painted the picture a little differently as he is not of the belief Tom Brady is going to be a great NFL analyst. “It’s funny because here comes a guy who was just recognized by all his peers…deciding between all these guys, he was the best one,” he said. “And he got pushed out for a guy who has never done it before…and there is not some sort of given that he is even going to be good at it. He could suck at it.”

Gresh replied back, “If you are at the FOX upfronts and you got a chance to go in a room, are you going to pick the one with Greg Olsen or the one with Tom Brady? …Brady is not going to let himself fail at this. He is not going to look like a big idiot.”

“Just the assumption that Brady is going to be great at this I think is a stretch” replied Fauria.

As for Olsen, Fauria believes if he continues the way he has started, he will come out on top in the end. “I guarantee you at some point in time, when his contract runs out, and he tells all the streaming services that all exist now, he ends up being the guy. He’s fine. And he lost his job to the greatest football player ever.”

Gresh is not nearly as big of an Olsen fan and said, “If Greg Olsen was so great, are the other networks going to fall all over themselves to try and hire this guy? Will ESPN say, ‘maybe we will get rid of Aikman and put Olsen in there?'”

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Charles Barkley: ‘I Would Listen’ Before Making Decisions About NBA Broadcast Future

“For the people I work with, man, it just sucks right now.”

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Charles Barkley
Courtesy: Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images

The NBA is reportedly formalizing deals with The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal and Amazon for its next television media rights contract that would take effect beginning in the 2025-26 season. If Warner Bros. Discovery is unable to match or decides not to engage in such discussions, the company would lose broadcasting rights to the NBA and terminate a 40-year relationship that dates back to the 1984-85 campaign. At the same time, this has caused many sports fans to ponder over the future of Inside the NBA, a multiple-time Emmy Award-winning studio show featuring Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny “The Jet” Smith and Shaquille O’Neal.

Barkley, who signed a 10-year contract extension along with his colleagues on the show, confirmed in a recent interview on ESPN Cleveland that he has an opt-out in his deal should TNT Sports lose broadcasting rights to the NBA. Smith and O’Neal reportedly hold a similar clause with the future of Inside the NBA and the NBA on TNT remaining unknown. Barkley appeared on SiriusXM NBA Radio following the report from Tom Friend of Sports Business Journal on Wednesday morning and described the sentiment surrounding these negotiations.

“It sucks right now,” Barkley said. “For the people I work with, man, it just sucks right now. There’s nothing I can say because I worry about all the people I work with.”

Barkley explained that he enjoys golfing and/or fishing on a daily basis and does not look at losing the NBA as being fired. In fact, he hopes the Western Conference Finals quickly conclude so he can go back to playing golf every day over the next four months. The part that concerns him is the fact that he estimates 200 people could lose their jobs at the company should the relationship with the NBA come to a close. Although it remains unknown if anyone would sign with another network, the widespread perception is that all four members of the show would be coveted free agents.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen with Amazon, ESPN or if we lose it to NBC, so I’m not sure how to answer that question,” Barley said. “I just don’t know. Ernie [Johnson] would not go to another network – I’m damn sure about that. But I would listen; I would listen before I made any decisions.”

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Chris LoPresti: Brendan Burke Ranks First in Yankees Radio Announcer Rotation

“For me to critique anyone – the last play-by-play I did was women’s hockey at Quinnipiac like 15 to 18 – no, got to be almost 20 years ago now – so what do I know?”

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Chris LoPresti

As the New York Yankees continue the 2024 season, game broadcasts on WFAN are utilizing a rotation of play-by-play announcers. This came after the retirement of John Sterling in April following 36 years calling games for the organization. Within the rotation over the last few seasons when Sterling was unable to make a game are Justin Shackil, Rickie Ricardo, Brendan Burke and Emmanuel Berbari. A successor for the position has not yet been named, nor is it known when such a move could happen; however, there has been discussion pertaining to the broadcasts themselves on Boomer & Gio in morning drive on WFAN.

Last week, co-host Gregg Giannotti offered Berbari constructive criticism towards his home run call and stated that there was room for improvement. He ultimately wanted him to find a middle ground between his “Gone, goodbye” home run call and the signature call Sterling delivered for Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. After playing another clip of Berbari announcing a home run this week, Giannotti asked anchor Chris LoPresti to rank the four Yankees play-by-play announcers in the rotation.

“I’ve got to go Brendan Burke first,” LoPresti replied. “I’ll be honest – I have a lot of respect for Rickie [Ricardo]; he’s been doing it a long time. I haven’t heard enough of him because I don’t generally listen to the Spanish broadcast obviously and he hasn’t done that many games regularly on the Fan.”

Giannotti then asked LoPresti if he was taking Ricardo out of consideration for the list, to which he replied that it was not the case. Conversely, LoPresti felt that he was not able to provide an informed opinion on the matter, but followed up by articulating that Ricardo could rank at the top of the list if it was based on the energy they bring to the broadcast. Co-host Boomer Esiason explained that LoPresti had just said he didn’t listen to him, leading Giannotti to ask again how he would rank the rest of them.

“I’ll go [Justin] Shackil, Rickie [Ricardo], Emmanuel [Berbari],” LoPresti said, “and I love Emmanuel…. Again, he’s relatively new to doing the Yankee broadcasts – obviously he has minor league experience. For me to critique anyone – the last play-by-play I did was women’s hockey at Quinnipiac like 15 to 18 – no, got to be almost 20 years ago now – so what do I know?”

Giannotti and Esiason both emphasized that LoPresti is a consumer of the broadcasts and a baseball fan, hence why he is offering his opinion on the matter. LoPresti previously worked with Shackil at SiriusXM and has known him longer than Berbari; however, he has worked with Berbari more in recent years.

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