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Stephen A. Smith: I Want To Be Considered ‘Greatest TV Talent in History’

“That’s what I want to do. That’s what I want to accomplish.”

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Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A. Smith continues to be one of sports media’s most entertaining and busy personalities in the media. In addition to his work on ESPN and his podcast, he wrote a best-selling book and occasionally appears on General Hospital as an actor. Smith, however, is not satisfied with his accomplishments thus far, and has lofty goals in mind.

“I want to end my career being recognized as arguably the greatest television talent in history,” Smith said on the Tamron Hall Show. “That’s what I want to do. That’s what I want to accomplish.”

Smith recently started his own production company – Mr. SAS Productions – and it has a hand in producing the ESPN alternate telecast titled NBA in Stephen A’s World. His visions, however, penetrate beyond sports, looking for ways to further augment his versatility and fulfill his goals. Smith had previously mentioned running for the U.S. presidency and floated a political future, all while being the featured commentator on his top-rated morning show.

“I’m going to pursue acting,” Smith revealed. “I finally made a decision to do that. That’s something that I want to do because I like portraying other characters and finding myself marrying that character. The challenge of it – because I think it makes me better on television.”

He outlined his journey to working at ESPN and becoming one of the most popular sports media personalities in his book, and has spoken about it on many occasions. During his interview with Tamron Hall, she quotes something he told Vanity Fair about his formative years and how he cultivated the knowledge to work in sports media.

“I couldn’t rap. I wasn’t a good enough basketball player. I wasn’t a good enough athlete, or an artist where thousands of people are packing in an arena to watch me,” Smith said in the previous interview. “But I learned to read and write and comprehend, and I scratched, not clawed, and I worked my ass off.”

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Stanley Cup Playoffs: First Round NHL Games on ESPN Up 65%

The Washington Capitals-New York Rangers game, which the Rangers won 4-1, is now the most-viewed Game 1 of a first round NHL playoff series ever on cable.

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The Stanley Cup playoffs got underway this weekend in the NHL and ESPN is off to a hot start in terms of audience. Sunday’s first round games on ESPN and ESPN2 averaged 1.04 million total viewers, up 65% over 2023’s Game 1 average.

The Washington Capitals-New York Rangers game, which the Rangers won 4-1, is now the most-viewed Game 1 of a first round NHL playoff series ever on cable, averaging 1.3 million viewers. The game peaked at 1.5 million viewers.

The Colorado Avalanche and Winnipeg Jets played their first game on ESPN with the Jets taking a wild 7-6 win over the Avalanche. That game is now ESPN2’s most-viewed first round NHL playoff game ever and the third most-viewed Game 1 of a first round NHL Playoff series ever on cable, averaging 1.1 total viewers and peaking at 1.4 million viewers.

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Report: ESPN, TNT Have NBA Matching Rights

“Although the exclusive negotiating period has ended, we are still in discussions with Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery regarding our media deals.”

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As the NBA’s exclusive negotiating period came to an end last night, new information about the agreement has come to light. Sports Business Journal’s Austin Karp is reporting both ESPN and TNT have matching rights for any deal presented to the NBA. The report says this goes for the linear broadcasts as well as streaming.

A source at the NBA told Karp, “Although the exclusive negotiating period has ended, we are still in discussions with Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery regarding our media deals.”

Alex Sherman of CNBC had reported last week the exclusive negotiating window, which started on March 9, would most likely expire without a deal in place. Karp’s report says he believes the deal was 75% done prior to the window beginning.

Numerous reports have indicated that the league is looking to add a streaming element into its next deal and is looking for an increase in rights fees. Amazon, Apple, YouTube TV, Comcast (NBCUniversal/Peacock) and Netflix have all expressed potential interest.

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Tegna, Indiana Fever Partner for Local TV Package

“This is an exhilarating moment for women’s sports. The WNBA and Fever are leading the charge with this groundbreaking local broadcast rights agreement.”

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Logos for Tegna and the Indiana Fever and a picture of Caitlin Clark
Photo Courtesy: ESPN

The Indiana Fever and superstar Caitlin Clark will be seen on television a lot, both nationally and now locally as well. The Fever and Tegna announced a partnership earlier today to air 17 games between local NBC affiliate WTHR and MeTV affiliate WALV.

“So many new fans are tuning in to watch the world’s best basketball players compete in the WNBA, and the Fever have built a roster of incredible young talent that has caught the attention of basketball fans all over the globe,” Rick Fuson, CEO of Pacers Sports & Entertainment, said in a release. “Tegna and WTHR have been amazing local partners for years, and we are excited that more fans than ever before will get the chance to watch these amazing athletes play.”

The release also noted Tegna was working on expanded access outside of Indianapolis.

“This is an exhilarating moment for women’s sports. The WNBA and Fever are leading the charge with this groundbreaking local broadcast rights agreement,” Dave Lougee, President and CEO of Tegna, said in a release. “The remarkable journey of Caitlin Clark and her teammates has captured the hearts and minds of millions. We’re thrilled to deliver all the Fever action to every household in the Indianapolis region.”

The national TV package for WNBA games, which is aired on ABC, ESPN, Prime Video, CBS Sports Network, NBA TV and Ion will carry 36 of the Fever’s 40 games. The four games not being carried will be covered by the local package with Tegna. Several games will air on both a national and a local station.

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