TV networks have been lined up in New York this week to do their “upfronts,” their press briefings on what their new fall lineups will be. You might not think sports networks would have much to do with something like that, being as unscripted as they are, but you, my friend, would have another think coming.
Of course you’d expect ESPN to talk about sports during its upfront, but Fox also spent a great deal of time on sports as well.
ESPN made public what many had known for a while, that the Mike & Mike radio show team would be broken up. Mike Greenberg will host a morning TV show starting Jan. 1. It will originate from New York City and run live from 4 to 7 a.m. Pacific time on ESPN and repeat from 7 to 10 a.m. PT on ESPN2.
That leaves Mike Golic looking for a new radio partner and it was announced this week that Trey Wingo will be the man starting later this fall. The weekday ESPN Radio morning show will initially continue to be simulcast on ESPN2, but will eventually move to ESPNU.
Wingo will continue to host the NFL Draft and appear on ESPN’s NFL TV programming.
Also new on ESPN TV will be a show featuring Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre from 9 to 10 a.m. PT starting Jan. 2.
ESPN will also introduce SportsCenter Right Now to be shown both on TV and on digital platforms beginning in August. The move reportedly comes as an effort to reach viewers outside of cable TV.
Meanwhile, Fox Sports 1 will debut its first morning show on Sept. 5. First Things First will feature Cris Carter and Nick Wright as hosts. It also will originate from New York and will air from 3 to 6 a.m. PT (no word yet on more West Coast-friendly repeat times).
Greenberg, Carter and Wright join an increasingly crowded morning sports show atmosphere, which also includes daily shows on NFL Network and MLB Network.
“Morning television is different,” Carter said on FS1. “People are looking for a fresh start, a new alternative. For me as a professional football player and professional broadcaster, I try to get off to a great start to start my day. We want to be part of people’s habits for what they’re doing that day.”
JOE DAVIS’ NATIONAL GIG
Dodgers broadcaster Joe Davis, who took over full-time TV duties this season after Vin Scully’s retirement, has also worked for Fox and that relationship will continue. He will do play-by-play of the Giants-Cardinals game at 4 p.m. Saturday on Fox. He’ll work with analyst A.J. Pierzynski.
Davis will also call college football and basketball games for Fox. Radio play-by-play man Charley Steiner will take over on TV when Davis is absent and Rick Monday will shift from his radio analyst role to play-by-play.
Davis’ Giants-Cardinals game will be shown to 37% of the nation. FS1’s No. 1 game (45%) will be Angels-Mets. Joe Buck will call that game, which will feature Alex Rodriguez as analyst, joining Ken Rosenthal. Rodriguez makes his game analysis debut Thursday night with the Yankees-Royals game called by Kevin Burkhardt.
UP & DOWN THE DIAL
- Repeating a note updated last week: After KTLA (Channel 5)’s final simulcast with SportsNet LA was rained out at San Diego, the Dodgers have rescheduled it for the game against the Marlins at 1 p.m. Sunday. It’s significant because a large chunk of viewers in the Los Angeles market cannot get SportsNet LA.
- A profile of Dodgers Spanish-language broadcaster Jaime Jarrin, who has been in that post since 1959, will air on HBO’s Real Sports 10 p.m. Tuesday.
- The Anaheim Ducks will play the Nashville Predators in Game 4 of their NHL Western Conference finals at 5 p.m. Thursday on NBCSN with Kenny Albert, Joe Micheletti and Brian Boucher. Nashville leads the series 2-1.
- Showtime’s second season of All Access: Quest For The Stanley Cup debuts at 7 p.m. Friday with subsequent shows airing at 8 p.m. The behind-the-scenes program looks at the NHL playoffs’ final four teams, including, of course, the Ducks. The premiere Friday will also be shown for free to non-subscribing viewers on YouTube, SHO.com, NHL.com and NHL Network.
- The Boston Celtics’ 115-105 Game 7 win in the NBA playoffs over the Washington Wizards was seen by 6.8 million viewers on TNT, according to SportsBusiness Daily. That makes it the most watched non-conference finals game for the network since 2012. ABC said Game 1 of the Golden State Warriors’ 113-111 Western Conference finals victory over the San Antonio Spurs was seen by 8.1 million viewers, up 50 percent from last season’s 5.4 million.
- After his retirement from the Clippers, Paul Pierce will be an analyst during the NBA Finals on ABC for the second straight season.
- Peyton Manning, whose schedule is much freer these days, will host the ESPY Awards on ABC on July 12.
- CBS has renewed its contract to show the Army-Navy Game for 10 years through 2028.
- The Preakness Stakes, featuring Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming, will air starting at 2 p.m. Saturday on NBC.
- The Amgen Tour of California will wind to a close this week. It’ll be on at 2 p.m. Thursday (Ontario to Mount Baldy) and Friday (Big Bear Lake), both on NBCSN and noon Saturday (Mountain High to Pasadena) on NBC.
- Oxnard bantamweight boxer Erik Ruiz (16-6-1 6 KOs) will fight Diego De La Hoya of Mexico (17-0, 9 KOs) at Tucson at 4 p.m. Thursday on ESPN.
- For reasons I can’t quite fathom, Sunday Night Baseball broadcasters Dan Shulman, Jessica Mendoza and Aaron Boone will once again occasionally call games from different locations within the stadium. This week, they’ll be in the left-field stands for the Rangers-Tigers game in Detroit at 5 p.m. Sunday on ESPN. It seems to be just an attempt to make the telecast bigger than the game itself.
- If you’re missing Vin Scully (or any other old-time baseball radio broadcaster), here’s a great YouTube channel to follow: Classic Baseball on the Radio.