Where does Michelle Beadle fit in? Dan Patrick Show debuts on NBC Sports Network

Dan Patrick settled into his new home  Monday morning. At 9 a.m. ET, The Dan Patrick Show officially launched on the NBC Sports Network.

“It’s a big day for us,” said Patrick at the top of the show. “We’re doing the big boy thing here. I’m glad we were able to keep it in the family….I feel bad for Bob Costas, Al Michaels, Matt Lauer, Brian Williams. They now work for a company that employees ‘The Danettes.'”

It is a great move for Patrick, giving him a national platform for his radio show. It also is a good move for NBCSN. Patrick finally gives the network a block of sports programming in the morning, knocking out some of the hunting shows.

So where does this leave Michelle Beadle? In September, NBCSN president Jon Miller told me the network was trying to find “the right format” for a show built around her.

Miller said:

“She could be a perfect morning show for us. We’re talking with some other people she might work with. She’s really a talent. She’s looking to work more and we’re looking to put her to work. It’s only a matter of time before we come out with an announcement about a show with her.”

The new schedule has Patrick following The Lights, NBCSN morning highlights show, which airs in the mornings. Beadle could move into a slot prior to Patrick if the intention is to have her do an AM show. Her duties at Access Hollywood make mornings a likely fit for Beadle on NBCSN.

It remains to be seen how it all shakes out. But Beadle and Patrick would give NBCSN some pop in the morning.

Here’s the release from NBCSN on Patrick:

NBC Sports Network has acquired multi-year rights from DIRECTV to air The Dan Patrick Show, the renowned sports television show and syndicated radio program starring Football Night in America co-host Dan Patrick. The Dan Patrick Show will debut on NBC Sports Network tomorrow and air weekdays from 9 a.m.–Noon ET. A “Best Of” version will air weekday afternoons from 4-5 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network

To coincide with the debut of the show tomorrow, NBC Sports Network will relocate to Channel 220 (from Channel 603) on DIRECTV, which is adjacent to other national sports channels. DIRECTV owns and operates The Dan Patrick Show, which airs daily on DIRECTV’s exclusive Audience Network as well.

“Dan and the Danettes generate buzz and relevance every day with their entertaining format and top-line guests, making The Dan Patrick Show a perfect morning fit for the NBC Sports Network and its new channel position on DIRECTV,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports & NBC Sports Network.

“I’ve loved my time working for NBC Sports, on both Football Night in America and the Olympic coverage, and I really wanted to see our show on NBC Sports Network,” said Patrick. “This is good for the show, the channel and, most of all, the fans. I think the show that we have created with DIRECTV will be perfect for NBC Sports Network as part of its daily lineup.”

Patrick added, “I like where the NBC Sports Network is going. I think we are joining a powerhouse sports network in its early stages. I did this once before in my career and it worked out pretty well.”

“We are extremely proud of the work Dan, the Danettes and the DIRECTV Entertainment team have done to create a truly distinctive TV show that has redefined the genre, or as Dan likes to describe it: ‘A TV show about a radio show on TV’,” said Chris Long, senior vice president, Entertainment and Production for DIRECTV. “Our incredibly creative production team has developed a show for our Audience Network that just keeps getting better year by year, so we’re not surprised NBC Sports Network wanted it for their morning line-up.”

The Dan Patrick Show will follow The ‘Lights, NBC Sports Network’s new highlights show that launched this summer. Designed to serve the busy morning schedule of sports fans, The ‘Lights, which will air from 8-9 a.m. ET, is a 20-minute sports report that uses a unique presentation of simultaneous video clips, graphics and voiceovers to deliver scores and information.

“Dan’s show will combine with The ‘Lights to give NBC Sports Network a morning programming block that truly super-serves sports fans by providing them with all the highlights they need, followed by Dan’s unique perspective on sports and entertainment,” added Miller.



SportsCenter at 50,000 shows: Immense impact; Is it less personality driven now?

ESPN loves to mark milestones and anniversaries. I imagine they go through a lot of birthday cakes in Bristol.

Some, though, mean more than others. Thursday at 6 p.m. ET, ESPN will mark the 50,000th airing of SportsCenter.

That’s fairly significant. In this video, George Grande, who hosted the first show in 1979, looks back.

ESPN actually is going low-key with this milestone. It will mark the event with Chris Berman doing a tribute to late SportCenter anchor Tom Mees, who died much too young. Here is the link to Berman’s piece on ESPN Front Row.

SportsCenter definitely has been the franchise for ESPN. I remember in the late 80s, my apartment building in Chicago was extremely slow in getting wired for cable. When I finally got connected, I recall being thrilled at being able watch SportsCenter.

Imagine 30 minutes of nothing but sports and highlights. I was in heaven.

Now ESPN is wall-to-wall SportsCenter on the main outlet, and a 24/7 edition on ESPNNews.

Charley Steiner, a SportsCenter anchor from 1988-2002, said it best during a conference call:

“You’re talking about 18 hours of SportsCenter a day.  We didn’t have 18 hours a week.  We had three 30-minute shows, no re-airs.  The only thing we didn’t have were rabbit ears.  We had a 7:00, an 11:00 and a 2:30 a.m. show, which is where they stuck me in the beginning.  We would go home and tee it up again the next day.”

SportsCenter truly has become an iconic symbol of the network. Much like Saturday Night Live and culture, the program introduced catch-phrases and created new lingo for sports. And it basically sets the agenda, for better or worse (Tebow!).

When you get through everything else, the most important thing SportsCenter does is document the day and night in sports just like a game telecast would document a game,” said Mark Gross, ESPN’s senior vice-president and executive producer.

Added Scott Van Pelt: “I always think when I’m out there, regardless of the hour of the day, how long you’ve been there, whatever the case may be, I never say I have to do SportsCenter, I say I get to do SportsCenter.”

The ESPN conference call, which also included Sage Steele, lasted more than an hour. Thanks to Steiner’s participation, it was enlightening and extremely entertaining.

When it finally became my turn to ask a question (much further back in the line than from my Chicago Tribune days, Josh), I asked if SportsCenter has become less personality driven in its current form?

I definitely think that’s the case. Heck, the ABC show SportsNite was based off the Dan Patrick-Keith Olbermann pairing. And it wasn’t just those two guys. You had Steiner, Robin Roberts, Bob Ley, Mees, Rich Eisen, Stuart Scott, a young Mike Tirico, among others. Then there also was Berman, who was wildly popular back when the majority of people thought his catch-phrases and nicknames were cutting edge.

Now there are so many SportCenter shows and anchors, they all seem to blend together. To me, it seems to be more about the content, and less about the person delivering the content. Maybe, that’s inevitable given the bulk of the shows.

Anyway, here are the responses I got to my question:

Steiner: In those days, remember, technologically we were cavemen compared to where it is now, number one.

Number two, when we were doing our show, the 7:00 eastern with Bob, Robin and I, because there weren’t highlights, by nature, how else do you convey information?  It became more of a writers’ show, more of a repertorial show.  I think that’s why they put Bob, Robin and I together.  Whatever strengths we had, those were them.

Now again, with the ability to get highlights from anywhere and everywhere, from a cell phone to whatever, the dynamic I think of all of the shows is considerably different.

Again, when I started back in the paleolithic era, there were three and a half hour shows.  Morning SportsCenter was a business show.  So comparing us and them, then and now, is a difficult task.

Those were the rules by which we had to play in those days because of what we had at our disposal.

Gross: It’s simple really.  We expect the anchors to be themselves.  We’re not asking Scott, Sage or anybody else to go and invent nicknames, home run calls.  We expect them to be themselves.  If they’re themselves, we’re going to be just fine.

Van Pelt: To that end, I wouldn’t speak for Sage, anybody that ends up on the set has some level of passion for sports, anybody that ends up on that set is in some way, because you’ve seen other people do it, you have some sense of how the show has been done.

But I also think it becomes almost a lazy criticism to say everybody is out there trying out for the Chuckle Hut.  I don’t think everybody treats their Brewer/Red’s highlights to say seven funny things.  If you do, my personal opinion is you’re failing because that’s not the goal.

If you can be organically funny, if a moment presents itself, by all means.  If you have certain things in the way you deliver things, people don’t mind.  I’ll drop a useful shot which is a note to Sam Torrance.  It’s a word and never more than that.  The personality, I always look at it like this, it’s like sugar, and a teaspoon might be enough, but three would want to make you puke.

If you’re authentic, it comes across that way, I think people appreciate that.  I don’t feel like anchors go out there and say, Where are the seven times I can try to be cute, because if they do, again, my own personal opinion is you’d be making a mistake.

Steele: I was going to say when I got the job here five and a half years ago, I was leaving the D.C. area, everybody said, What is going to be your thing?  What are you going to say?  I thought, gosh, I’m not smart enough to come up with something that clever, it’s too hard, forget it.

I am me. They know what they’re hiring. They know who they’re hiring.

Have times changed? Absolutely. The way the shows are formatted, there’s a lot more sponsored elements. It’s a business, and the shows have definitely changed.

Sometimes I even forget I’m on TV, God forbid.  That means you’re out there having fun, owning your highlight.  I don’t think of a cute moment to potentially put in there.  I’m more concerned about this highlight is important, why.  Why do we feel this highlight is important enough to show all the people watching and what’s the story behind it.  Sometimes it’s what you say, not what you see as well.  Too much to worry about out there to be cute.

Check back for more upcoming posts from the teleconference and about SportsCenter at 50,000 shows and counting.











Michelle Beadle looks to be in line for morning show at NBC Sports Network

Just checked my cable guide for the morning listings on NBC Sports Network.

After its new highlights show, The Lights, the network’s daytime programming for Tuesday features a huge block of outdoors shows from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. ET

Nothing against hunting and fishing (actually, I have a lot against hunting), but NBC Sports Network isn’t going to compete with ESPN with that kind of programming.

That should change soon. Michelle Beadle looks to be in line for some sort of a morning show on NBC Sports Network.

Network president Jon Miller definitely wants to find a role for Beadle, who joined NBC in the spring. Her duties at Access Hollywood make mornings a likely fit for Beadle on NBCSN.

“We’re trying to find the right format for her,” Miller said. “She could be a perfect morning show for us. We’re talking with some other people she might work with. She’s really a talent. She’s looking to work more and we’re looking to put her to work. It’s only a matter of time before we come out with an announcement about a show with her.”

As for the rest of the network’s programming, Miller said he is pleased with the progress. Miller said The Lights soon will be expanded from two to three hours in the morning.

Wednesday, NFL Turning Point makes its season debut. Hosted by Dan Patrick, the show features analysis and behind-the-scenes video and audio from games. It was nominated for an Emmy last year.

“People are finding they want to do business with us, and we’re open for business,” Miller said. “We’re not looking to knock anyone out from No. 1 anytime soon. That’s not our goal right now. Our goal is to provide content driven, attractive sports programming that people will want to watch.”






John McEnroe, Olympics correspondent? Yep

NBC disclosed its lineup for hosts and correspondents for the Olympics. In the no-surprise department, Bob Costas will be the prime-time host for the millionth time (actually his ninth); Al Michaels and Dan Patrick will share weekday and weekend duties; and Mary Carillo will handle the late-night duties.

However, on the list of correspondents, one name stuck out, and it wasn’t Ryan Seacrest. Rather it was John McEnroe.

The three-time Wimbledon champion as an Olympics correspondent? Now that’s interesting.

According to NBC, McEnroe will appear during NBC’s primetime show, serving as a roving reporter/analyst. He will be doing features, maybe even off-beat stuff.

Clearly, McEnroe has media ambitions beyond talking about tennis. When it was announced last week that he will be ESPN’s lead analyst for Wimbledon, he was asked if he wanted to do something else at the network. He said:

“There’s been talk about that in the past. That’s intriguing. … I’m open to suggestions.”

Obviously, McEnroe jumped at the idea of being an Olympic correspondent. If NBC can make his segments edgy and unpredictable, in keeping with the man himself, it will be a great move.