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CBS Sports Airing ‘You Are Looking Live!’ Special on Super Bowl Sunday

“The only thing that we insisted on is that they had to be live shots, and that’s how we came up with, ‘You Are Looking Live.'”

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The NFL Today
Courtesy: Mary Kouw, CBS

CBS Sports will premiere You Are Looking Live! The Show That Changed Sports Television Forever, an hour-long original special detailing the history and evolution of The NFL Today. The studio program helped redefine the sports television landscape when it debuted in 1975 with host Brent Musburger and analysts Irv Cross and Phyllis George. Musburger hosted the show for 15 seasons before leaving CBS Sports, but the indelible legacy he left on the program and sports television as a whole remains palpable to this day. Musburger recently starred in a promo for the special presentation, which includes a recreation of the original studio for The NFL Today.

Musburger also coined the catchphrase, “You Are Looking Live,” which came from a friend of the father of Bob Fishman, the director of the show. Since his friend liked to bet on totals for the game, he wanted to see the weather at locations around the NFL. As a result, the show began airing live shots of footage from stadiums where the games were being played – the first of which was from Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill.

“We just shot the one stadium, and then it went from there,” Musburger said. “The only thing that we insisted on is that they had to be live shots, and that’s how we came up with, ‘You Are Looking Live.’”

After Musburger departed the program, Greg Gumbel took over as its host for the ensuing years before the network lost the broadcast rights to the league. Upon reacquiring a package of AFC games, Jim Nantz was at the helm for six seasons and has fond memories of his time on the set. He considers it an honor to be linked with the other hosts and the show, feeling somewhat intimidated by Musburger from the beginning because of the reverence and esteem he has for him. While auditioning for the show, Nantz remembers a manifestation of the moment and how surreal it was for him to embark on the endeavor.

“I stepped up – there was an actual little step-up on the set – and there was Brent’s chair,” Nantz recalled. “On the back of that chair was a little thin steel rod with just masking tape, and it said ‘Brent;’ somebody had just written it with a Sharpie.”

James Brown currently hosts The NFL Today and considers it a great honor to continue the program that Musburger, Gumbel and Nantz worked to establish and collectively maintain. All four hosts participated in a media conference call on Monday, and Brown took the time to reflect on his relationship with each one of his predecessors.

He has had friendships with both Gumbel and Nantz for many years; in fact, he continues to welcome Nantz onto the show to preview games which he is calling alongside Tony Romo. Moreover, Brown affirmed that Musburger served as a prime example of how to handle the highs and lows of the business equally.

“I just wanted to say I appreciate the way that you carried yourself and modeled yourself because excellence is in your DNA,” Brown said to Musburger.

“The way he directed his way through a show and traffic-copped it to a flawless level that can’t ever be repeated,” Nantz said regarding Musburger. “We’ve got to remember that in that day and age, there was no ESPN. We waited all week for the show and it was 30 minutes, and the rating on it was double digits.”

When Gumbel took over for Musburger, he felt somewhat frightened to attempt to take the position with which Musburger had become synonymous. Viewing it as if he was going to take Mickey Mantle’s position in the batting order, he worked to thrive in the role while having an understanding of the standard that had been left.

“It was daunting because Brent wrote the book on it,” Gumbel said. “I don’t think that anybody has ever done it better, and I don’t know what framework he was working from but it worked. The fact that I got to sit in the same chair and do the same thing or try to do the same thing that he did was an incredible honor.”

Musburger recognized the popularity of the show when someone extemporaneously requested his autograph while out to dinner with his wife. Reminiscing on his days hosting the show, he feels that he worked alongside the best crew possessing synergy that made the show work. Additionally, he explained how the show served as an effective precursor to other programming from CBS, including 60 Minutes, which had aired in the middle of the week before moving to Sundays.

“Mike Wallace was a big football fan; he used to come by the studio,” Musburger said. “We laughed about it through the years, but the lead-in the NFL gave to shows like 60 Minutes – it became what it is today. It’s the No. 1 entertainment vehicle in the world.”

CBS Sports is set to broadcast the AFC Championship Game next Sunday when the Kansas City Chiefs go on the road to face the Baltimore Ravens. The winner of that game will face the NFC champions in Las Vegas, Nev. on Sunday, Feb. 11 from Allegiant Stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII, which will be presented live on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.

As a whole, the NFL on CBS attained its most-watched regular season since reacquiring broadcast rights to the league in 1998, averaging 19.345 million viewers, which is up 5% from last year. The broadcast property notched three of the top five most-viewed games this season, led by the Washington Commanders’ matchup against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving with an average of 41.762 million viewers. Paramount+ also garnered its most-streamed NFL regular season on record, which was paired with double-digit year-over-year (YoY) growth in households, minutes and average minute audience (AMA).

You Are Looking Live! The Show That Changed Sports Television Forever will premiere on Sunday, Feb. 11 at 1 p.m. EST/10 a.m. PST, which leads into a four-hour edition of The NFL Today prior to the network’s broadcast of Super Bowl LVIII. James Brown will host Super Bowl coverage for the 12th time in his broadcast career, and Jim Nantz, Tony Romo and Tracy Wolfson will be on the call for the championship game with Evan Washburn, Jay Feely and Gene Steratore.

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The Sports Media Industry Remembers ESPN NFL Insider Chris Mortensen

“Upon learning of Mortensen’s passing, members of the sports media industry flocked to social media to remember the ESPN legend.”

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ESPN has lost a legend. Longtime NFL insider Chris Mortensen passed away Sunday morning at the age of 72. Mortensen spent more than three decades working for the worldwide leader in sports. The news of his passing was first made public by ESPN PR.

Affectionally referred to by his colleagues as ‘Mort’, Chris Mortensen contributed to ESPN’s NFL programs, SportsCenter and was the network’s top news breaker for years. He earned the Pro Football Writers of America’s Dick McCann Award in 2016, receiving his honor at the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s enshrinement ceremony in August of that same year. It was also the same year when Mortensen broke the news of Peyton Manning retiring from the NFL.

Unfortunately, 2016 was also the year when it was revealed that Mortensen was diagnosed with Stage 4 throat cancer.

“Mort was widely respected as an industry pioneer and universally beloved as a supportive, hard-working teammate,” ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro said in a statement. “He covered the NFL with extraordinary skill and passion, and was at the top of his field for decades. He will truly be missed by colleagues and fans, and our hearts and thoughts are with his loved ones.”

In 2023, Mortensen stepped away from his role at ESPN to focus on his health, family and faith. Prior to joining ESPN he wrote for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution covering the Falcons, Braves and the NFL He was also a columnist for The Sporting News and a consultant with CBS Sports’ ‘NFL Today’.

Chris Mortensen is survived by his wife, Micki, and son, Alex. Upon learning of his passing, members of the sports media industry flocked to social media to remember the ESPN legend.

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Struggles Continue for ‘Undisputed’ On FS1

According to Sports Media Watch, the Feb. 27 edition of the program had 50,000 viewers, the lowest in the show’s history.

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Skip Bayless
Courtesy: @SkipBayless on Instagram

It’s been raining and pouring for Undisputed over the last few months — and February saw an all-time low for the long-running Skip Bayless vehicle. According to Sports Media Watch, the Feb. 27 edition of the program had 50,000 viewers, the lowest in the show’s history.

Among the shows that defeated Undisputed head-to-head were a re-air of Get Up on ESPN2 and first-round Dubai Open tennis on The Tennis Channel, according to Sports Media Watch.

Undisputed has been in dire straits for months. According to figures provided by USTVDB, the show passed 200,000 viewers just twice since August — the Monday, Sep. 4 edition that featured new co-hosts Michael Irvin, Keyshawn Johnson, and Richard Sherman and took place after the University of Colorado’s win over TCU, and the Monday, Jan. 15 edition following another Dallas Cowboys playoff loss, this time a blowout at the hands of the Green Bay Packers. Its viewers were likely there to revel in Bayless’ misery as a vocal Cowboys fan. For perspective, First Take enjoyed its most-watched episode ever on Jan. 15 with an average of 1.5 million viewers.

The show routinely averaged near or over 200,000 viewers but saw a sudden decline once co-host Shannon Sharpe left the show following last year’s NBA Finals. Sharpe then joined First Take, which saw its most-watched year ever in 2023, averaging almost 500,000 viewers per episode, and hasn’t slowed down at all.

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Minnesota Twins Add Former Outfielder Denard Span to Rotating Group of Analysts

Span played 11 years in the major leagues, started his career with the Twins, and will now join the Bally Sports North rotation of analysts for Twins games.

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Former Twins outfield Denard Span making a catch
Courtesy: Getty Images

Minnesota Twins broadcaster Bally Sports North is adding another baseball alumnus to its airwaves. According to The Athletic’s Twins beat reporter Aaron Gleeman, Denard Span will join the Bally Sports North rotation of analysts for the 2024 MLB season.

Span played 11 years in the major leagues and started his career with the Twins. After five years in Minnesota, he left for the Nationals, where he had perhaps his best statistical season in 2014. He went on to play for the Giants, Rays, and Mariners before retiring after the 2018 season.

Bally Sports North’s analysis desk includes Hall of Famer Justin Morneau, former World Series champ Roy Smalley, along with former Twins LaTroy Hawkins, Glen Perkins, and Trevor Plouffe. The analysts will call games alongside play-by-play man Cory Provus, who will move from radio to television full-time this season. The guys will be joined by Audra Martin and Katie Storm, who will provide on-field reporting.

According to KTTC, Provus is a three-time winner of Minnesota Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sports Media Association and before joining the Twins, spent three seasons in Milwaukee where he did play-by-play with Hall of Famer Bob Uecker.

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