Yesterday, the NBC Sports Network announced a new weekly show in collaboration with Major League Baseball. Details below, but it made me wonder if this deal foreshadows an even bigger deal with MLB?
Frankly, if the NBC Sports Network wants to be a player on the cable sports front, it has to land a portion of the next baseball TV contract. The NHL isn’t a big enough anchor. It needs baseball to drive eyeballs to the network.
Obviously, the new program is a step to show baseball that the NBC Sports Network is serious about showcasing the sport. Couldn’t hurt, right?
OK, here are the details from NBC Sports Network:
Major League Baseball Productions and NBC Sports Group today announced a deal to collaborate on a new series titled Caught Looking, which will debut Wednesday, August 15, at 9:00 p.m. ET, with a new episode scheduled to air each subsequent week on Thursdays through October 4. Each original episode will be one hour in length and will air on NBC Sports Network.
Caught Looking will give baseball fans an exclusive look inside a specific weekend series, as Major League Baseball Productions cameras follow players, managers and front office personnel from both teams. Cameras will follow the two respective teams as they arrive at the ballpark, take batting practice, compete and prepare for each game. A different series will be featured in each episode, as the final eight weeks of the season unfolds.
“We’re committed to developing compelling behind-the-scenes programming, and our fans have consistently responded very positively to everything we do to bring them a closer view of our game,” said Chris Tully, Senior Vice President, Broadcasting, Major League Baseball. “We’re pleased to be working with the NBC Sports Group on this project, which will provide a unique glimpse inside the inner workings of multiple clubs during the stretch run.”
“Caught Looking is emblematic of the high-quality and exclusive programming we are developing for the NBC Sports Network.” said Jon Miller, President of Programming, NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network. “NBC and Major League Baseball have a long history of working together and we are very happy to be collaborating with Major League Baseball Productions on this endeavor.”
On November 8, NBC Sports Network will air a special postseason episode of Caught Looking which will feature the two teams playing in the 2012 World Series.
Meanwhile, the new NBC Sports Radio Network is starting to fill out its lineup:
Dial Global (NASDAQ: DIAL) and the NBC Sports Group today announced the hiring of Erik Kuselias and Jon Stashower for the NBC Sports Radio Network.
Erik Kuselias has been named the host of The Erik Kuselias Radio Show on the NBC Sports Radio Network which will air live, Monday-Friday, between 7pm-10pm ET. Jon Stashower has also been named as the morning anchor for the NBC Sports Radio National Updates which will air live Monday-Friday, 6a-11a ET. Each will launch on Tuesday, September 4th, along with other soon-to-be-announced programming.
Erik currently hosts the NBC SportsTalk show on the NBC Sports Network and previously served as co-host of Morning Drive on The Golf Channel. Prior to his arrival at NBC, Kuselias was the host of NASCAR Now on ESPN2 and The Erik Kuselias Show on ESPN Radio. He also hosted NFL on ESPN Radio during the NFL season, and served as a host for College Football Live. In addition, Kuselias hosted the Emmy-Award winning show Fantasy Football Now. A radio veteran, Kuselias also frequently co-hosted ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in place of Mike Greenberg or Mike Golic.
Kuselias says “The opportunity to host a signature show on the NBC Sports Radio network is beyond exciting. I just put a calendar on my desk that counts the days until we launch! I believe ‘The Erik Kuselias Show’ will be a standard for the best mix of smart and fun sports talk radio.”
Stashower joins the NBC Sports Radio Network from ESPN Radio where he spent years becoming one of the most well-known sports update anchors in sports radio.
“I’m very excited to be joining the NBC Sports Radio Network”, says Stashower. “Having been there in the early days of both WFAN and ESPN Radio, I know there’s something special about a new venture taking off and being part of its growth.”
Chris Corcoran, Executive Vice President, General Manager adds, “As we kick off our exciting talent announcements for the NBC Sports Radio Network launching this fall, we are thrilled to have two tremendously talented sports minds and voices join our team and our lineup”
Rob Simmelkjaer, Senior Vice President, NBC Sports Group says, “Erik and Jon have impressive track records in sports radio, and we are excited to have them as two of the keystones of our new network.”