Demarus Dye| BKD TV Insiders
Well after our last Et Cetera of Sports Media#13 we had the Major Cuts from ESPN, now in this post we will start with some more cuts from another Sports publication & then changes with the NFL This Fall & end with a little aftermath from the ESPN Cuts.
Sports Illustrated cuts 5 writers including Lead CBB Writer Seth Davis
The big names in sports media continue to fall.
Respected basketball writer Seth Davis was laid off by Sports Illustrated on Thursday. Davis, who joined SI in 1995, was among five staffers laid off by the cost-cutting SI.
Beyond writing for SI, Davis is well-known to sports TV viewers for his work as a college basketball TV analyst at CBS Sports. He co-stars on CBS’ annual “Selection Sunday” March Madness show, along with Greg Gumbel and Clark Kellogg. He also hosts “The Seth Davis Show” on Campus Insiders.
Davis addressed his situation on Twitter, even managing to make a joke about fired FBI director James Comey.
Separately, he told Ryan Glasspiegel of The Big Lead he plans to continue writing.
“I have not an ounce of regret or bitterness. This is the way the industry is headed. SI is a great place with great people,” said Davis.
Beth Mowins to call Sept. 11 ESPN Monday Night Football late game with Rex Ryan
Veteran ESPN play-by-play voice Beth Mowins and new NFL studio analyst Rex Ryan will call the Los Angeles Chargers vs. Denver Broncos game from Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium on Sept. 11 at 10:15 p.m. ET as part of ESPN’s season-opening Monday Night Football doubleheader.
The Chargers-Broncos game will immediately follow ESPN’s MNF opener – New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings (6:55 p.m.), featuring Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden and reporter Lisa Salters.
With this assignment, Mowins – who has signed a new multiyear extension to remain with ESPN – will become the first female announcer to call a National Football League game since 1987 and the first female broadcaster to call a nationally-televised NFL game. Gayle Sierens was the last woman to call an NFL game – the regional broadcast of a 1987 regular-season finale game on NBC.
“Beth has been an important voice in our college sports coverage and she has experience calling NFL preseason games. She deserves this opportunity,” said Stephanie Druley, Senior Vice President, ESPN events and studio production. “ESPN is committed to putting talented women in high-profile positions and we look forward to Beth and Rex’s call of this game on our MNF opening night.”
Mowins added: “This is an amazing opportunity and I look forward to working with Rex and our entire ESPN team. As lifelong fans of the NFL Monday Night Football franchise, we want to bring the same passion to the broadcast as our predecessors have all done.”
Mowins joined ESPN as a play-by-play commentator in 1994. She has called college football games since 2005 and is a staple on ESPN’s regular-season men’s and women’s basketball schedules. She has called NCAA Championships in basketball, softball, soccer and volleyball and has been the voice of the Women’s College World Series for more than 20 years, among other assignments. She has also called Oakland Raiders preseason NFL games in the Bay Area since 2015.
Ryan, the former Buffalo Bills and New York Jets head coach, joined ESPN earlier this year after a guest analyst appearance for Super Bowl LI. In addition to calling his first MNF game, Ryan will make weekly appearances on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown pregame show this fall as a studio analyst. He and Mowins previously worked together on the Florida State Garnet and Gold spring game in April.
ESPN senior coordinating producer Tim Corrigan, ESPN/ABC’s lead NBA producer, will again oversee production of the MNF doubleheader game.
Jay Cutler to replace John Lynch in the NFL on FOX #2 Commentator Crew
New York – Former NFL Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler becomes a rookie once again, this time in the broadcast booth. Cutler joins FOX Sports as game analyst for the 2017 NFL season, sitting alongside play-by-announcer Kevin Burkhardt, analyst Charles Davis and sideline reporter Pam Oliver. The announcement was made today by John Entz, President of Production & Executive Producer, FOX Sports.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Jay to the FOX Sports family,” Entz said. “We’re very excited about the potential he brings to the booth and are looking forward to hearing his analysis during what is sure to be another great season of the NFL on FOX.”
Drafted by the Denver Broncos, Cutler was the 11th pick overall in the 2006 NFL Draft. The gunslinger quickly earned his spot on the field, replacing veteran quarterback Jake Plummer toward the end of his rookie season. After three years in Colorado and a trip to the 2009 Pro Bowl, Cutler achieved one of his childhood dreams when he was traded to the Chicago Bears. Cutler spent the majority of his professional career under the lights at Soldier Field, leading the Bears to an appearance in the 2010 NFC Championship Game. He ends his eight-year run in Chicago holding several franchise records, most notably the organization’s all-time passing leader. Cutler finishes his career with a total of 2,782 completions, 32,467 passing yards and 208 touchdowns.
“This is an exciting new chapter for me in football,” said Cutler. “I love the game so much and look forward to having a lot of fun on the road this year for FOX Sports.”
A leader on and off the field, Cutler is profoundly committed to the Jay Cutler Foundation. Founded in 2008, its mission is to improve the quality of life for underprivileged children and those suffering from diabetes. A native of Santa Claus, Ind. Cutler graduated from Vanderbilt University where he was a three-year captain for the Commodores. In addition to earning SEC Offensive Player of the Year accolades during his senior year, Cutler set several school records.
Tony Gonzalez to FOX NFL Kickoff
NEW YORK, NY – A presumptive lock for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Tony Gonzalez joins FOX Sports as a studio analyst beginning with the 2017 season. Gonzalez will be a fixture on FOX NFL KICKOFF, FOX’s hour-long NFL pregame show preceding FOX NFL SUNDAY, airing each Sunday at 11:00 AM ET during the NFL season. The announcement was made today by John Entz, President of Production & Executive Producer, FOX Sports.
Gonzalez offers a fresh perspective and insightful analysis, drawing on his 17-year NFL playing career, where he established himself as one of the greatest tight ends in the history of the game. Following his retirement after the 2013 NFL season, Gonzalez took his talents to television, appearing as a regular studio analyst on “The NFL Today” (2014-16), and contributing to other NFL related programming on CBS.
“Tony is an impressive talent with an infectious personality, and is the perfect addition to our FOX NFL KICKOFF show,” said Entz. “He brings a unique outlook that will really round out the table.”
“I can’t wait for this upcoming season to get underway and begin working with the FOX Sports family,” said Gonzalez. “It’s a great opportunity for me to continue sharing my passion for the game while remaining close to home.”
A two-sport athlete at the University of California, Berkeley, Gonzalez chose a career in football over basketball after he was recognized as a consensus All-American tight end and named to the All-Pac-10 first team in 1996. After being drafted 13th overall in the first round of the 1997 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, Gonzalez embarked on an illustrious 17- year career with the Chiefs (1997-08) and Atlanta Falcons (2009-13).
A 14-time Pro Bowl selection, including 10 consecutive selections from 1999-08, Gonzalez currently holds the NFL record for touchdown receptions (111) and total receiving yards (15,127) by a tight end. He also finished his career second all-time in receptions with 1,325 while earning first-team All-Pro honors an impressive six times and was named first-team tight end on the 2000’s All-Decade Team. Gonzalez also holds a multitude of Chiefs franchise records, including in the categories of career receiving yards, career receiving touchdowns, career yards from scrimmage, receptions in a season, and seasons with 1,000 receiving yards.
He had been with CBS since 2001, but come this fall, Solomon Wilcots will not be calling games for the Tiffany Network. Wilcots released the news on Twitter this week:
Wilcots will continue calling Cleveland Browns preseason games, but as far as what he’ll do after that is a mystery. Wilcots was a defensive back with the Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers.
He then made TV into a successful career first as a local sports anchor in the Queen City, then as a sideline reporter on ESPN’s Sunday Night Football from 1998-2000, before joining CBS in 2001 as a game analyst.
His partners at CBS have included Ian Eagle, Kevin Harlan and Spero Dedes. Wilcots was also an analyst on NFL Network’s Playbook program and has made appearances on SiriusXM NFL Radio.
James Lofton to CBS from Westwood One
After learning that Solomon Wilcots was not being retained by CBS, the natural question was, who would take his place? Well, that answer has been provided.
NFL Hall of Famer James Lofton is joining CBS as an NFL analyst. Whether that will include working with Wilcots’ former booth mate Spero Dedes is unclear.
Lofton spent sixteen seasons playing in the NFL for the Packers, Bills, Raiders, Rams and Eagles. He also coached for seven seasons with the Chargers and Raiders.
He has been a steady member of Westwood One’s NFL coverage, working first for the network from 1999-2001, and then rejoining the broadcast group in 2009. Lofton has been a key contributor to the network’s Sunday Night Football radio broadcasts, but with his move to CBS he will have to vacate that position.
Nate Burleson replaces Bart Scott on the NFL Today on CBS
Nate Burleson, former NFL wide receiver and co-host of NFL Network’s Good Morning Football, will be joining CBS’ The NFL Today on Sunday mornings for the 2017 season, Burleson announced Monday.
Burleson will be alongside host James Brown, former Steelers coach Bill Cowher, former Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason and recently announced analyst Phil Simms on CBS on Sunday mornings.
“Nate is a rising star in this business with a dynamic personality and is the perfect complement to our veteran cast,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said in a statement. “He is knowledgeable, passionate, opinionated and, having recently played, we look forward to his perspective during the discussions and spirited debates with JB, Coach, Boomer and Phil. The addition of Phil and Nate to the show gives us one of the strongest casts for The NFL Today in years.”
Burleson played 11 seasons in the NFL, ending his career with the Detroit Lions in 2013. He was selected in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings.
“I’m honored,” Burleson said. “I went and auditioned and I tried to show them my skill set. I bring a little bit to the table that adds to an already fantastic crew. And once again, being a young guy in this new chapter of my life in TV, it’s a blessing.”
Burleson will continue his current co-host role on Good Morning Football Monday through Friday.
Changes coming to SportsCenter
ESPN’s long-term plans for its SportsCenter franchise are beginning to crystallize.
On Monday, the network announced extensions for several prominent anchors and outlined a new lineup of SportsCenter programming.
Here’s how it will shake out:
- SportsCenter:AM will air seven days a week, hosted by a combination of Sage Steele, Kevin Negandhi, Jay Harris, Randy Scott, Elle Duncan and Matt Barrie. The big news there is that Steele will return to Bristol after losing her place as the lead host on ESPN’s NBA coverage.
- SC6 with Michael Smith and Jemele Hill is not going anywhere. It will remain at 6 p.m. ET.
- The 11 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter will be hosted by Steve Levy, Kenny Mayne, John Anderson and John
Buccigross, four of the longest tenured and most recognizable anchors at ESPN. This will be the first time in nearly a decade Mayne will regularly host a show from Bristol.
- Scott Van Pelt will continue to host his show at midnight E.T.
- Neil Everett and Stan Verrett will keep their Los Angeles-based SportsCenter show at 1 a.m. ET.
- Hannah Storm will move from the 10 a.m. SportsCenter to a role hosting primetime specials and working on “high impact journalistic pieces” for E:60 and SportsCenter.
- Sarina Morales will serve as a “fan correspondent” for all editions of SportsCenter, “finding fun and unusual ways that fans express their love for sports.”
Mayne, Levy, Anderson, Buccigross, Steele and Storm have all signed new extensions to remain at ESPN, according to a release.
ESPN says this realignment will further the network’s goal of having personality-driven SportsCenter shows. The Worldwide Leader theorizes that consumers can go anywhere for sports news and that the only way to stage a successful highlight show is to build loyalty to individual personalities. Gone are generic SportsCenters with anchors you may or may no recognize (many of whom were laid off last month). In are branded SportsCenters with highly visible hosts.
ESPN has pushed this strategy for several years now, with mixed results. Scott Van Pelt’s highly personalized SportsCenter seems fairly popular, while SC6 (at least judging by Awful Announcing’s Twitter mentions and Facebook comments) seems less so, though ratings for both are fine.
ESPN is making big changes to its morning routine.
After 17 years, ‘Mike and Mike’ will break up and and a new morning show on ESPN Radio will take its place.
A new show hosted by Mike Golic and Trey Wingo will debut later this fall. The show will air from 6 – 10 a.m. ET. The daily ESPN Radio program will initially be simulcast on ESPN2 before moving to its permanent simulcast home on ESPNU. Golic’s son, Mike Golic Jr., will also contribute to the show.
Mike Greenberg, who hosted with Golic on ‘Mike and Mike’ since January of 2000, will host a new morning show on ESPN.
“One of the many benefits of working at ESPN is that change and evolution are in our DNA,” said Greenberg. “My run with Golic has been an incredible experience that I’ll always treasure, but having the chance to engage multiple voices every morning in a dialogue on each day’s sports stories will be a great new challenge.”
“With Mike & Mike ending later this year, I am looking forward to the opportunity to begin the next chapter of the ESPN morning show with Trey and my son Mike,” Golic said. “Both men will bring new and interesting voices to our morning conversations and help to create a fresh fun show for our audience. I appreciate the loyalty of those who have started their mornings with us over the years and hope they continue to do so for years to come.”
Greenberg’s new show has been speculated about in media circles for months, with Richard Deitsch of ‘Sports Illustrated’ first reporting the news in January.
Greenberg told Sporting News last month that he regrets news of ‘Mike and Mike’s’ eventual breakup leaked before he had a chance to address it on the air.
“My one regret in all this is if we do break up, and that’s certainly a very real possibility, I’m not denying that all, I would have really liked the first place our audience heard about that is to have been from us. On our show. Because it’s been a really special thing,” he said.
The format of Greenberg’s new show is still being worked out, but the concept may be similar to MSNBC’s popular “Morning Joe” with a series of rotating guests discussing the sports news of the day.
Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre to host new ESPN show at 12pm EST starting Next Year
Today at ESPN’s upfront a number of announcements are being made about the network’s schedule moving into 2018. Many of those details are already known such as Mike Greenberg’s new morning show on ESPN and Trey Wingo linking up with Mike Golic for the relaunch of Mike and not-Mike. Additionally, SportsCenter is getting yet another overhaul with news updates throughout the day.
One new nugget of information that comes from ESPN’s busy day of revelations for their 2018 schedule is a new weekday show that will begin in January that will star two of the network’s brightest young stars – Pablo Torre and Bomani Jones.
Jones (36) and Torre (31) have had a consistent presence on ESPN airwaves for a number of years and now they’ll get the chance to have a show all their own that will fall between First Take and Outside the Lines on ESPN’s daily schedule. Jones will also continue to host his show The Right Time on ESPN Radio while Torre has signed a new contract with the network.
Here is the announcement from ESPN:
ESPN rising stars Bomani Jones, host of ESPN Radio’s The Right Time with Bomani Jones, and Pablo Torre, senior writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com, will host a newly created one-hour live program premiering Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018 on ESPN from noon – 1 p.m. ET. More details about the show will be announced at a later date. The program will also be streamed live on the ESPN app and WatchESPN across all devices and platforms.
“Had someone asked me a year ago who I’d want to work with on a new TV show, I would have said Pablo Torre,” Jones said. “Now that it’s going to happen, I couldn’t be more excited. We have a chance to make something new, fresh and entertaining, and I can’t wait to take on that challenge.”
Torre added, “Bomani Jones happens to be one of my best friends in this strange business, not least because I wind up laughing while being challenged and enlightened every time we talk. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to turn ourselves into a live sports television show that’s as fun to watch as it will be to make.”
ESPN has signed Torre to a multiyear extension which will also afford him the opportunity to continue making regular appearances across a variety of shows and platforms including television shows Around the Horn, Pardon the Interruption, SportsNation, The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz and Highly Questionable. He will also continue writing for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com as well as regularly participate in ESPN’s “The Basketball Analogy” podcast. Torre joined ESPN in 2012.
Jones, whose new multiyear extension with ESPN was announced in December 2016, will continue to host The Right Time with Bomani Jones for three hours every weekday. He will remain as co-host of Highly Questionable until late June 2017. He will also continue to appear on a variety of ESPN television and radio shows. Jones joined ESPN full time in 2013.
We don’t know the format of the show yet, but it will likely fall in line with other programs we see throughout the day on ESPN with Jones and Torre offering their commentary on the events of the day. It makes sense that the pair would be the perfect bridge from the high volume of First Take to the in-depth reporting of Outside the Lines.
Much has been made of ESPN’s layoffs and the need to cultivate new stars and build from within. There arguably aren’t two better choices than Jones and Torre who offer a great mix of insightful commentary, relevancy, and humor. And their new weekday show is a great platform for new voices to help lead ESPN into a new age.