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Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth ‘Already Comfortable’ Together

“I understand there’s going to be a transition period of time, but we’ve already spent a lot of time together, obviously, getting ready for this season,” Collinsworth said.

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NBC’s primetime Sunday Night Football booth is bringing a new look to both its booth and its broadcast as it seeks to become primetime television’s number one show for the 12th straight year. With the regular season quickly approaching, the broadcast team of Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth, and Melissa Stark has worked throughout the summer to build a working chemistry with one another.

Mike Tirico enters this role after previously serving as the voice of Monday Night Football on ABC from 2006 to 2015, a role he entered replacing Al Michaels when NBC acquired the Sunday-night rights . Since that time, he has been the host of NBC’s Football Night in America and also continues to be the host of primetime coverage of the Olympic Games.

Now, as Michaels joins his producer Fred Gaudelli at Amazon Prime Video, Tirico will once again take his seat in the booth. While he knows Michaels set a high standard, he is confident that he and his colleagues can continue to reach it, especially following their call of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game from Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio in early August.

“If I learned anything in Canton, it’s that my instincts are to be trusted,” Tirico said. “We’re going to be fine. Everybody communicates; everybody connects, gets along [and we are] similar-minded folks. Sometimes when you look at sports television, I think the most valuable thing is putting together a group that fits and works well together.”

Being just the fourth full-time play-by-play announcer on Sunday Night Football is certainly something Tirico does not take lightly; however, at this stage in his career, it does not profoundly influence his mindset, if at all. With the start of the regular season on the precipice, Tirico is excited to get started and become a weekly fixture during primetime football on Sunday nights.

“It’s an assignment that I’ve worked for,” Tirico said. “I feel like I’ve completely prepared for [it] and I am surrounded by the best people. For me, there’s no angst about being the next person in that chair.”

Cris Collinsworth remains the constant in the broadcast booth as he enters his 14th season as an analyst in the booth. Now as he famously slides in the broadcast open each week, it will be Tirico instead of Michaels on his right. The change is not entirely distressing to Collinsworth, considering he and Tirico have previously called 21 NFL games together since 2016: more than a full season’s worth. With a new host of colleagues joining the team, he understands the importance of developing synergy among team members, but entering this season, he does not feel the previous flow has abated significantly.

“I understand there’s going to be a transition period of time, but we’ve already spent a lot of time together, obviously, getting ready for this season,” Collinsworth said. “There’s a real comfort already to just being a part of the group and being friends and being able to tell jokes about each other and on each other that typically don’t come until you’ve known somebody a couple years at least, and it’s just like a group I’m used to hanging out with already. I hope that’s what comes across on the air.”

Joining Tirico and Collinsworth on the broadcast team from the sidelines is Melissa Stark, a longtime reporter in both sports and news media. Stark had been an NFL Network host for the past 11 seasons following a stint at NBC News and MSNBC. She is set to return to the sidelines for the first time in nearly 20 years, as she previously worked in the role for Monday Night Football on ABC but left it in order to start a family.

“Sports was always my passion, so now here I am coming back four teenagers later,” Stark said. “[I’m] so excited to work with the very best in the business… and excited about all the new resources that we have on the sidelines.” Season 17 of Sunday Night Football on NBC will commence with the kickoff game between the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams and Buffalo Bills on NBC and streaming on Peacock.

Three days later, the first Sunday night matchup of the year takes place when Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, which will include the premiere of a new show open for the broadcast featuring 8-time Grammy Award winning singer Carrie Underwood. Both matchups are set to kick off at 8:20 EST/7:20 CST.

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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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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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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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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