Et Cetera of Sports Media#7

Demarus Dye| BKD TV Insiders

It’s time for another edition of the Et Cetera of Sports Media, we have updates & the latest news going on in the world of Sports Media.


Bill Simmons has landed at HBO

Source: Awful Announcing

Just over a month after rumors surfaced that HBO was pursuing Bill Simmons, the premium cable network and the former ESPN personality announced a multi-year agreement that includes a weekly TV show and a production deal.

As reported by the New York Times‘ John Koblin, Simmons’ new talk show will debut in 2016 and his contract with HBO begins in October. According to The Hollywood Reporter‘s Lacey Rose, the show will not only be available on the regular HBO collection of networks but also on the HBO Go and HBO Now services, featuring stories and guests from both the sports and culture landscapes.

Simmons’ production deal with HBO will include creating video, podcasts and features for the network and its various digital platforms. Additionally, he’ll have a consulting role with HBO Sports working on developing shows and documentaries. (Rose specifically mentioned that Simmons will work with HBO Sports president Ken Hershman on non-boxing-related programming.)

“We have been fans of Bill Simmons and his work for a very long time,” HBO president of programming Michael Lombardo said in an official statement. “His intelligence, talent and insights are without precedent in the areas he covers. We could not be more thrilled for him to bring those talents to HBO and to become a signature voice at the network, spanning the sports and pop culture landscapes.”

Simmons also had a quote in the statement: “It’s no secret that HBO is the single best place for creative people in the entire media landscape. From the moment I started talking to Michael and Richard [Plepler, HBO chairman and CEO], it was hard to imagine being anywhere else.”

Keith Olbermann out at ESPN on July 31

Source: Sporting News

Keith Olbermann, host of the popular talk show “Olbermann,” has not been able to agree on a new contract with ESPN and will be out when his current deal expires July 31

“Keith is a tremendous talent who has consistently done timely, entertaining and thought-provoking work since returning to ESPN,” the statement read. “While the show’s content was distinctive and extremely high quality, we ultimately made a business decision to move in another direction. We wish Keith nothing but the best and trust that his skill and ability will lead him to another promising endeavor.”

Olbermann’s departure comes two months after ESPN declined to renew the contract of fellow intransigent personality Bill Simmons.

Simmons was famously suspended in September for calling Goodell a “liar” on his “B.S. Report” podcast.

Olbermann was also known for his sharp criticism of Goodell on his show, at one point calling for his resignation amid the NFL’s mishandling of domestic violence issues among players. Last week, The Hollywood Reporter reported ESPN wanted to insert a clause in Olbermann’s next contract to stop him from doing “commentary” on Goodell.

Olbermann, who started with ESPN as a “SportsCenter” host, first left in 1997 to work for NBC Sports and MSNBC. He also worked for Fox before returning to ESPN in 2013 on a two-year contract with the promise of his own show.

Colin Cowherd out at ESPN, Moves to Fox Sports, now out sooner after controversial remarks about Dominican baseball players

Source: Richard Deitch of & Awful Announcing

Traug Keller says ESPN did everything it could to retain Colin Cowherd. When the radio host suggested he wanted to move his base of operations from Bristol, Ct. to Los Angeles, ESPN management greenlit the proposal. Extra television opportunities? You bet, the company said. Keller, a longtime ESPN executive, would know the details of such contractual negotiations. The senior vice president of production business divisions oversees all aspects of the ESPN’s audio business including talent, staffing, national programming content, scheduling and event production. He’s also enjoyed a good relationship with Cowherd since hiring the host in 2003 to replace Tony Kornheiser for the late morning time slot on ESPN Radio.
But while ESPN’s offer was aggressive, it was not enough. Last week The Big Lead’s Ryan Glasspiegel broke the story that Cowherd was leaving ESPN at the end of his current contract. While an official contract has yet to be signed as of this writing, Cowherd is heading for Fox Sports as Keller’s quote above indicates. Negotiations are currently finalizing between that network’s brass and Cowherd’s reps. One of the questions remaining for Fox was whether ESPN would let Cowherd out of his contract early, keep him on air until the end of his contract, or pay him to sit on a California beach until his contract’s end. Keller would not confirm an end date for Cowherd but he did say it would be an amicable parting. I’m told Cowherd’s ESPN contract ends in December but he’ll be off ESPN well before that.
What will Cowherd do for his new employer? Here’s some informed speculation after four days of speaking with people inside and outside of Fox Sports: Look for Cowherd to host a nationally syndicated show on Fox Sports Radio that’s fully simulcast on Fox Sports 1. I’d also look for him to have a separate 30-minute or 60-minute presence on Fox Sports 1. Glasspiegel reported that one potential idea would have Cowherd on FS1 at 6 p.m. ET to compete with SportsCenter. Two Fox sources confirmed such an idea is being kicked around. Fox hiring Cowherd will reunite the host with Jamie Horowitz, his former boss on ESPN’s Sports Nation who last April was brought in by Fox to oversee all programming, marketing and scheduling for Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2. Horowitz is currently kicking around a ton of pilots for both networks, presumably some involving two hosts screaming and blaming LeBron James for the Greek economic crisis.
Now in the wake of his controversial remarks about Dominican baseball players on his Thursday radio program, ESPN has taken Colin Cowherd off the air.  Cowherd had announced he was leaving ESPN at the end of his current contract, but there was still believed to be at least a few months left on the deal. And unlike Bill Simmons, who has not made any ESPN appearances since ESPN President John Skipper announced the network was not re-signing him, Cowherd was carrying on with business as usual for the foreseeable future.  (John Ourand reported his last day was supposed to be next Friday.)Until now, that is.

Cowherd: “It’s too complex? I’ve never bought into that ‘baseball is too complex.’ Really? A third of the sport is from the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic has not been known in my lifetime as having world class academic abilities. A lot of those kids come from rough backgrounds and have not had opportunities academically that other kids from other countries have. Baseball is like any sport. It’s mostly instincts. A sportswriter who covers baseball could go up to Tony La Russa and make an argument and Tony would listen and it would seem reasonable. There’s not a single NFL writer in the country who could diagram a play for Bill Belichick. You know, we get caught up in this whole ‘thinking-man’s game.’ Is it in the same family? Most people could do it. It’s not being a concert pianist. It’s in the same family.”
Charles Davis to call NFL games full time, Joel Klatt to lead CFB Analyst on Fox

Source: Richard Deitch of

Charles Davis was working at the U.S. Women’s Open Golf Championship in Lancaster, P.A. earlier this month—the Fox Sports analyst was hosting coverage of a Featured Group for the company’s digital coverage—when he received a call from John Entz, the executive producer for Fox Sports and Fox Sports 1. Davis thought Entz wanted to talk a little golf, but Entz had an entirely different reason for calling:

He was moving Davis from college football to the NFL.

“I had heard about Donovan McNabb’s unfortunate trouble and had wondered how and if things might be affected on the NFL side,” Davis said. “I knew that Donovan had been tabbed to call games this fall. But nowhere in my grey matter, my frontal lobe, did it ever occur to me that if McNabb was not going to call games, I would get the call. Normally, there’s an inkling, some talk about moves before they occur, but this happened so fast that the grapevine never even got activated. There was never a thought that if an opening occurred my name would be part of the discussion. I was already happily part of the lead college football broadcast team for Fox Sports and prepping to attend conference media days and for the season. I cannot emphasize just how surprised I was to get that call from John Entz. My legs literally buckled for a second.”

Davis is being assigned to work with Thom Brennaman on what will be Fox’s No. 3 or No. 4 team depending on your own subjective analysis. It is not a new partnership. Davis and Brennaman have worked together for about 35 to 40 games, including seven bowl games and two full seasons together with the Big Ten Network.

With Davis getting the bump to the NFL, Fox has named Joel Klatt as its lead college football analyst. Klatt will work with Gus Johnson and reporter Molly McGrath on the network’s top college team. The new group’s first assignment comes on Thursday, Sept. 3, whens Utah hostsMichigan on Fox Sports 1 (7:30 PM ET) in Jim Harbaugh’s first game as the head coach of the Wolverines.

Klatt had previously called Thursday and Friday college football games on Fox Sports 1 and last year worked in studio for the network’s lead college football pregame, halftime and postgame shows.

Saturday Nights in the NBA will change Next Season

Source: ESPN MediaZone

Beginning in January, ESPN on ABC will launch a new, weekly prime-time NBA series with the debut of Saturday Night NBA on ABC. The exclusive, eight-game schedule – featuring the sport’s biggest stars and most compelling matchups – will begin January 23, 2016 with weekly game telecasts at 8:30 p.m. ET. NBA Countdown – ABC’s and ESPN’s NBA pre-game show – will precede the games at 8 p.m. The announcement was made today by ESPN President John Skipper and Disney/ABC TV President Ben Sherwood. Game selections will be announced in the coming weeks. (The ABC schedule is below).

As a result of this new prime-time series, ABC and ESPN will now combine to televise NBA games four days per week (Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday), January-April, including three in prime-time. ABC had previously aired doubleheaders on Sundays as part of its NBA Sunday Showcase and will now air one exclusive game on Saturday nights and one on Sunday afternoons.  In total, ABC will broadcast 16 exclusive regular-season NBA games, beginning on Christmas Day. ESPN will continue to televise weekly, prime-time doubleheaders on Wednesdays and Fridays, generally at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. throughout the regular-season.

NBA on ABC schedule – 2015-16 regular-season

Date Time (ET) Broadcast
Fri., Dec. 25 2:30 p.m. NBA on Christmas Day
Fri., Dec. 25 5 p.m. NBA on Christmas Day
Sat., Jan. 23 8:30 p.m. Saturday Night NBA
Sat., Jan. 30 8:30 p.m. Saturday Night NBA
Sun., Jan. 31 3:30 p.m. NBA Sunday Showcase
Sun., Feb. 7 2 p.m. NBA Sunday Showcase
Sat., Feb. 20 8:30 p.m. Saturday Night NBA
Sun., Feb. 21 3:30 p.m. NBA Sunday Showcase
Sat., Feb. 27 8:30 p.m. Saturday Night NBA
Sat., Mar. 5 8:30 p.m. Saturday Night NBA
Sun., Mar. 6 3:30 p.m. NBA Sunday Showcase
Sat., Mar. 12 8:30 p.m. Saturday Night NBA
Sun., Mar. 13 3:30 p.m. NBA Sunday Showcase
Sat., Mar. 19 8:30 p.m. Saturday Night NBA
Sun., Apr. 3 3:30 p.m. NBA Sunday Showcase
Sat., Apr. 9 8:30 p.m. Saturday Night NBA

.(Note: NBA Countdown will precede NBA Sunday Showcase games, generally, at 3 p.m.)

Saturday Night NBA on ABC will join the network’s successful college football package – ABC Saturday Night Football – which debuted as the first of its kind in 2006. Saturday Night NBA on ABC will also be available on both the ESPN3 and WatchESPN platforms. ABC and ESPN are entering their 14th consecutive season as a national broadcast partner of the NBA (since 2002-03 season).The entities will begin a new rights agreement at the commencement of the 2016-17 season.

Fox NFL Kickoff” studio show will move from Fox Sports 1 to Fox

Source: Awful Announcing

Fox Sports is the first of the broadcast networks to make the jump as Sports Business Journal reports the company will be moving its Fox NFL Kickoff show from cable (FS1) to network television (Fox).  The show will now serve as a lead in for Fox NFL Sunday for a new two hour block of Sunday morning NFL pregame coverage.

Competition among NFL pregame shows will ramp up this fall as Fox plans to start its broadcast coverage an hour earlier.

The “Fox NFL Kickoff” studio show will move from Fox Sports 1 to Fox, where it will lead into the network’s highly rated “Fox NFL Sunday.”

Network affiliates have been asked to clear an extra hour on Sunday mornings so that Fox’s NFL programming can start at 11 a.m. ET. Fox has started shopping the show to advertisers and is in discussions with several clients about a presenting sponsorship to the show, a Fox executive said.

Why move the show off of Fox Sports 1 to the Fox mothership?  Well, it could be another additional outlet for prospective signee Colin Cowherd.  And with SI reporting Fox will be paying Colin Cowherd in the $6 million per year, they’re not going to have him on a show only getting 76,000 viewers on Fox Sports 1.  Those were the kind of numbers Fox NFL Kickoff drew on the nascent cable network.

Suzy Kolber Signs extension to stay @ ESPN

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 27:  ESPN personality Suzy Kolber at AT&T Stadium on October 27, 2014 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Source: Awful Announcing

Over the years, Suzy Kolber has become closely associated with NFL coverage on ESPN. Whether it’s been as a sideline reporter, the on-site host on Monday Night Football or a studio host on its numerous NFL shows, Kolber is a mainstay on football for the Worldwide Leader. Kolber has signed a new deal that will keep her with the network for another four years.

ESPN has placed Kolber on the short list to replace Chris Berman on Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown if and when he decides to retire. It’s well-deserved as Kolber has certainly paid her dues at ESPN and at Fox.

You may remember along with Keith Olbermann, Stuart Scott and Mitch Albom, she helped to launch ESPN2 in 1993, then left to go to Fox in 1996 where she reported on the NFL and hosted the last season of the NHL on the network. Kolber returned to ESPN in 1999.

It was in 2001 when ESPN placed her as the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football. Over the past few years, Kolber has hosted portions of ESPN’s tennis coverage at the French Open and Wimbledon plus was the pre-race host on NASCAR.

But Kolber is best known for her football hosting now and will continue to be part of the NFL on ESPN for at least the next four years.

ESPN Resigns Ryen Russillo to a mutli-year deal

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 1.33.12 PM

Source: Awful Announcing

With his contract up later this year, ESPN Radio host Ryen Russillo will be staying in Bristol.  ESPN confirmed to Awful Announcing that Russillo has come to terms on a new contract to remain at the network.

An ESPN spokesperson said, “We have reached a multi-year agreement with Ryen. We look forward to our future together.”

Russillo has grown into an integral part of ESPN Radio’s lineup and the network as a whole.  He first joined ESPN Radio in 2006 and became Scott Van Pelt’s co-host for his afternoon radio program in 2009.  Russillo’s name was added to the marquee in 2012 when he signed a new contract with ESPN and he has also hosted college football and NBA content on radio as well.

With SVP leaving radio and moving to a new full-time role as a late night SportsCenter anchor, it is expected that Russillo will continue with the show that now bears his name.  It remains to be seen if Russillo will host it in a solo effort in the long term or whether he will be joined by a new co-host.  Whatever the case, with the departures at ESPN this summer, expect Russillo’s role to grow at the network in the next few years.


Trey Wingo Signs New ESPN Deal, Will Host New NFL Insiders Sunday Morning Show


Source: Awful Announcing

Fox isn’t the only network tinkering with its NFL Sunday pre-game coverage recipe. Awful Announcing has learned that ESPN will be debuting a new Sunday edition of NFL Insiders which will replace the first hour of Sunday NFL Countdown. The move is part of a soon-to-be announced multi-year extension for Trey Wingo, whose role with the network will expand.

Wingo’s new deal guarantees the longterm Bristol veteran will enter a third decade of employment at ESPN having joined ESPN in 1997.

The new Sunday Morning NFL Insiders show will partner the popular host with Adam Schefter, Chris Mortensen and Louis Riddick for one hour leading into a shortened Sunday NFL Countdown.

The new Sunday edition of NFL Insiders will debut on September 13th and will air regularly at 10am ET. ESPN’s pre-game coverage will also see some additional retooling too as the now two hour Sunday NFL Countdown will be moving to a more fluid “whip-around” type format. Schefter and Mortensen will continue to be involved in Countdown in addition to their new roles on Insiders. It’s believed that Matthew Berry will get a much more prominent role on Countdown as ESPN’s fantasy expert as well.



We would like to thank our sources for this article via the Pictures above & also a update from our last Et Cetera of Sports Media post, Mike & Mike will be staying in Bristol & not moving to NYC. Also the rumored third host Molly Qerim will not be joining Mike & Mike in the Morning but is now in as the Host of ESPN 1st Take with Skip Bayless & Stephen A Smith for the time being.


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