Frank Caliendo: Move to ESPN opens new horizons; his dead-on video on Jon Gruden

In an interview with AD Week, Frank Caliendo discusses how his move to ESPN allows him to expand his arsenal to include ESPN’s personalities. That includes this dead-on spoof of Jon Gruden.

From the interview:

Your new gig gives you an opportunity to bring more “voices” to the show. Who are you working on now?
Doing impressions of ESPN people was not an option before, so right there you have a whole bunch of huge personalities I haven’t had a chance to try on. So, I have Chris Berman down and I’ve been working on my [Ron] Jaworski, my Herm Edwards. One I’ve been having a lot of fun with is Jon Gruden.

It’s kind of weird to ask you to do an impression for a print Q&A, but…
[In Gruden’s voice] Yeah, well, you know the thing about Gruden … Continue Reading

Your thoughts: Why people aren’t watching World Series

Yesterday, I gave my views on what contributed to the record low ratings for this year’s World Series. And the declining popularity isn’t just limited to this year.

I asked for your thoughts and got some interesting responses. You have the floor:

Too many games

They need to end the baseball season sooner. Baseball is a spring/summer sport; don’t allow it to run over into fall. The baseball season is way too long. How to fix baseball? Have a 120-game season and end it in late July or early August. This will allow people not to be complacent and keep baseball from competing with the big boys (NFL and college football).–Ronnie

Ugh, I hate to admit it, because I love baseball as both a former player and a fan. But they need to reduce the amount of games played. … Continue Reading

New 30 for 30: Ghosts of Ole Miss about much more than football

The latest 30 for 30 is yet another documentary you should be sure to watch with your kids. The film chronicles the 1962 Ole Miss football team’s undefeated season against the backdrop of the integration of the university.

It is told through the perspective of ESPN’s Wright Thompson, whose family in Mississippi once awoke to see a cross burning on their front lawn.

From ESPN.

ESPN Films’ 30 for 30, presented by Buick Verano, will premiere Ghosts of Ole Miss on ESPN/ESPNHD on Tuesday, October 30, at 8 p.m. ET. The film, directed by Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Fritz Mitchell, is told through the perspective of writer and Mississippi native Wright Thompson.

In the fall of 1962, on the eve of James Meredith becoming the first African American student to attend the University of Mississippi, the campus erupted into a

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All-time low rating: Why World Series continues to decline; trails NBA Finals, NCAA tourney, BCS

It doesn’t add up.

Bud Selig will tell anyone who listens that Major League Baseball is more popular than ever. The game continues to set attendance records.

However, if that’s the case, why are TV ratings sinking at the same pace as Detroit’s bats during the World Series?

The latest Giants World Series victory averaged an all-time low of 12.7 million viewers per game. The numbers are striking.

From Sports Media Watch:

The World Series has now set or tied a record-low rating eight times since the 1994-95 players’ strike (1998, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012). In addition, this is the seventh time in the past eight election years (midterm or presidential) that the World Series has set a record-low.

The 2012 World Series was the third in five years to average a previously unheard-of single-digit

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Q/A with Jay Mariotti: On two years out of spotlight; his side of what happened on that night and aftermath; and his next step

The email in my inbox had a familiar name: Jay Mariotti.

Earlier that day a couple weeks ago, I had written a post about Mariotti. I wondered why he had taken two years off and if anybody would hire him again?

The email read: “You’re welcome to ask me questions. Don’t have to guess when I can give you context.”

Mariotti has a point. If I am going to comment and speculate about him, I should allow him to give his side. That’s the way I operate.

I followed up, asking if he was up for doing a Q/A. Prior to sending out questions, I did read his book on Amazon, The System: A Manual on Surviving Liars, Loons, Law, Life. Much of the book is Mariotti’s account of a domestic violence incident with a woman he was dating … Continue Reading

How TV gets made: A look at massive enterprise that is Monday Night Football

You likely will sit in your easy chair tonight (do people still have easy chairs?) and flip on the Arizona-San Francisco game. You will listen to Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden, see all the replays and camera angles.

You will take it all for granted, and that’s just as well. How much thought do you give to how your car is made or what goes into your hot dog (you really don’t want to know)?

However, I got a chance to receive a behind-the-scenes look at ESPN’s Monday Night Football operation at Soldier Field last week. Make that, a huge operation. It gave me a new appreciation for what goes into the national telecast of a sporting event.

Occupying a large section in the bowels of the stadium, the Monday Night crew consists of credentialed production force of 250-300 people, … Continue Reading

It’s official: Premier League to NBC Sports Group

A little late breaking news on a Sunday night. From NBC.

NBCUniversal, via the NBC Sports Group, has acquired the exclusive U.S. media rights to the Premier League through a multi-year agreement that begins with the 2013-14 season, both parties announced today. Per the agreement, NBCUniversal becomes the exclusive English- and Spanish-language media rights holder to all 380 Premier League matches across all platforms and devices in the United States.

“The Barclays Premier League is the preeminent soccer league in the world, and is on the cusp of exponential popularity growth here in the U.S.,” said Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Sports Group. “NBCU will provide the broadest programming and promotional commitment that the league has ever experienced here in the United States. The Premier League provides NBCU with best-in-class content for 10 months of the year across

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Sunday books: Q/A with author of Montana/Young book; Collision of two Hall of Famers

Forgive me, but living in Chicago, it’s hard to get used to the notion of a franchise having back-to-back Hall of Fame quarterbacks. Sid Luckman, who retired in 1950, still holds many of the passing records for the Bears.

The San Francisco 49ers, meanwhile, were blessed to have Joe Montana and Steve Young run the show for two decades. Both wound up in Canton.

However, it hardly was a smooth transition. In a fascinating new book, Best of Rivals, Adam Lazarus examines the uneasy relationship between Montana and Young when their Hall of Fame careers intersected in San Francisco.

Here’s my Q/A with Lazarus.

How did you get the idea for the book?

One of the real sparks for this book was the idea that a quarterback controversy is so sexy and so interesting. It seems like everyone in … Continue Reading

Kids lose: Late World Series starts shut out next generation of fans

What do you notice about this video of Joe Garagiola doing an open for the 1973 World Series?

It is a beautiful sunny day in Oakland.

Yes, back then the weekend World Series games still aired during the day. And kids were able to watch.

Not so in 2012–at least for kids in the East and Central time zones. Tonight’s first pitch for Game 3 airs at 8:07 ET and Sunday’s is at 8:15 ET. Both of those games will end after 11 ET, well past junior’s bedtime, especially on a school night.

While I would love to see a return to tradition with some daytime World Series games, I know that’s not going to happen. However, I don’t understand why MLB doesn’t move up the start times for the games during the weekend. I’d go late afternoon on Saturday … Continue Reading

Saturday flashback: Harry Caray on call as Tigers rally to beat Gibson in Game 7

This might be the ultimate game in Detroit history. In Game 7 in the 1968 World Series, the Tigers finally hit the unhittable Bob Gibson in the seventh inning. The rally was aided by Gold Glover Curt Flood misjudging Jim Northrup’s fly to center.

Detroit, behind the portly Mickey Lolich, went on to win the series with a 4-1 victory. Harry Caray, at his peak in 1968, is on the call.

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