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Adam Silver, Nick Saban Welcome Stephen A. Smith Back to ESPN

“While he spent most of the day on a boat alongside Molly Qerim and Michael Irvin, Smith did receive his fair share of ribbing.”

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If you tuned in for First Take over the summer, chances are you didn’t see much of Stephen A. Smith. That changed on Monday as he returned to work after a lengthy recovery from shoulder surgery.

While he spent most of the day on a boat alongside Molly Qerim and Michael Irvin, Smith did receive his fair share of ribbing.

First Take producers lined up a series of celebrity messages welcoming Stephen A. Smith back to work. Among them was Nick Saban.

“I had my hip replaced and was back to work the next day,” the Alabama football coach said. “Now, they don’t make ‘em like they used to and some people just do anything to get a day off.”

Smith said that he could believe Saban returned to work a day after hip replacement surgery and that because Saban is the GOAT amongst college football coaches, Smith was willing to take the criticism.

The standout message came from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. He questioned the double standard of what fans knew about Stephen A. Smith versus what Stephen A. Smith expects to hear from Silver’s players, coaches and teams.

“I know that you and the media expect complete transparency when it comes to the NBA, particularly when it comes to injuries, but I get it. ‘Shoulder surgery.’ That’s all we’re told,” Silver said in a video. “Definitely a different standard when it comes to the media.”

Smith admitted that he enjoyed the video message from the Commissioner.

“Adam Silver got me good on that one,” he said. But the ESPN star did feel the need to defend himself and explain why it took him so long to come back.

“First of all, I was owed time off. Let’s be clear about that! Second off, excuse me. Cuff torn, bicep, labrum, plus a bone spur? I’ve been going through rehab four days a week on my vacation! I didn’t go away.”

Sports TV News

ESPN’s NFL Programming Sees Big September Growth

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

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NFL Studio

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

Sunday NFL Countdown is averaging 1.4 million viewers per show thus far in 2022. That up 15% from 2021’s first three shows of the NFL season. The season premiere – Sunday, Sept. 11 – averaged 1.6 million viewers, tying the network’s best Week 1 audience for the show since 2016 and is up 35% year-over-year.

NFL Live experienced large growth too. The episode airing after the first NFL Sunday, on Monday September 12, averaged 664,000 viewers which beat every NFL Live episode last season, including the most-watched episode on 2021 (December 17) which grabbed 635,000 viewers.

Monday Night Countdown is averaging 1.3 million viewers for its two, non-staggered September episodes, which aired in its traditional timeslot (6-8 pm).

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Sports TV News

ESPN Assigns Broadcast Teams for MLB Wild Card Round

In preparation for the postseason, ESPN has assigned the broadcast teams for the series forthcoming.

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Wild Card
David Berding/Getty Images

There are just a few games left in the MLB season and the postseason begins this weekend with the Wild Card round. In preparation, ESPN has assigned the broadcast teams for the series forthcoming.

Andrew Marchand reports that the team assigned to the presumptive New York Mets Wild Card series will be Karl Ravech, David Cone and Eduardo Perez. The Mets still mathematically can win the NL East but they trail the Braves by two games with three to play.

He also reports that the St. Louis Wild Card series will be called by Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez. The Cleveland series will be broadcast by Boog Sciambi and Doug Glanville while the Toronto series will be called by Dave Flemming, Jessica Mendoza and Tim Kurkjian.

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Sports TV News

Stugotz: ‘Sean McDonough Hates The Aaron Judge Cut-Ins’

“If you look at the numbers, if you look at the interest, if you look at the revenue that it generates for the networks, it makes more sense to have an Aaron Judge at-bat interrupted by an Iowa State field goal attempt than it does the other way around.”

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College football fans are not being shy with how they feel about Aaron Judge. Whether it is private conversations or social media posts, people are making their disdain for the cut-ins to college football games on ESPN networks when the Yankee slugger comes to bat known. On Monday morning, Stugotz added that it isn’t just fans that are unhappy.

The Dan Le Batard Show discussed the second straight week of cut-ins on Monday morning. Stugotz pointed out that one of ESPN’s primary college football voices sounds just as annoyed as fans are.

“Sean McDonough hates the toss to Aaron Judge,” he said. Hates it!”

Last week, ESPN and ABC cut into games when Judge was sitting on 60 home runs. This week, he was sitting on 61. A 62nd home run would be the most in American League history.

Stugotz added that has to be part of McDonough’s frustration.

“In his defense, what are we cutting in for? I have no idea if [Aaron Judge] is breaking a record, what record he’s breaking, if he’s clean. I have no idea!”

Producer Mike Ryan Ruiz said the fact that Judge is yet to deliver is making the cut-ins more frustrating for fans.

“I think what hurts the whole thing is that Aaron Judge has been terrible during these cut-ins,” Ruiz said. “He’s been God awful during these cut-ins. I haven’t seen a single home runs during one of these cut-ins. There was genuine fury at a watch party I was at. Fury! At Aaron Judge.”

A popular criticism of ESPN has been that this kind of attention would not be paid to Aaron Judge if he was chasing a mark that wasn’t the home run record if he played anywhere other than New York. According to Ryan, the mistake is bigger than that. Why would regular season baseball ever interrupt college football?

“If you look at the numbers, if you look at the interest, if you look at the revenue that it generates for the networks, it makes more sense to have an Aaron Judge at-bat interrupted by an Iowa State field goal attempt than it does the other way around.”

There are four games left in Major League Baseball’s regular season. You can bet college football fans will make plenty of signs for College GameDay if Judge cannot hit number 62 before the playoffs start.

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