What they said in 2012: Quotes tell tale of year in sports media

Part 1:

I’m a big quote guy, as evidenced by the quote I run at the top of this site.

While going through my review of sports media in 2012, I came across so many relevant quotes from my reporting and elsewhere, I decided to share them. Some are insightful; some are funny; some are just plain stupid. Yet they all tell a tale of what occurred on this beat.

I had so many, I decided to split them into two posts. Part 1 covers the beginning of the site in April through early August.

Frank Deford on current state of sportswriting: “Unfortunately, we’ve gotten swamped by the numbers. People have gotten buried under the numbers. Statistics. That has become everything. Pitch count is more interesting than what the guy is made of. I think that’s a shame because so much of sports is drama.”

Keith Olbermman tweet: “Mickey Mantle debuted in NY in an exhibition vs Dodgers 1951. Bryce Harper debuts vs Dodgers tonight. Announcer then and now? Vin Scully.”

Adam Schefter on taking heat for tweeting during the NFL draft: “I approach the draft just like any other NFL news story. When I learn informaton, it’s my job to report it. I didn’t report every pick; I was more interested in the trades, actually. But if someone felt it detracted from their experience, they could have unfollowed me or not paid attention to Twitter.”

Ohio State president Gordon Gee (a true goof): “‘Sporting News,’ ‘Sports Illustrated,’ a lot of them I don’t read. It’s bad journalism. And, so, why buy them?”

David Feherty on Hank Haney’s book on Tiger Woods: “The fact that Hank wrote the book – I wouldn’t have written the book. I just don’t think it has any class to it at all.”

SI’s Richard Deitsch on Chris Berman: “The bellowing never stops. It pummels you over the head like a hard rain, and  it’s forever accompanied by outdated references (“Mel Kiper, to quote Stan  Laurel, ‘Here’s another mess you have gotten me into, Ollie.’ “) and long-winded  intros that last nearly as long as a Presidential campaign. Mostly, there is  Chris Berman simply talking and talking and talking.”

Chris Berman:  “I just talk to people everyday walking down the street. That’s what I care about. That’s good enough for me. They didn’t like Ted Williams either. Now, I’m not Ted Williams.”

ESPN exec John Wildhack defending Chris Berman: “It seems that at times, criticizing Chris has become a pastime for some, as opposed to presenting an actual review of the work he does. What’s important is he works hard, he’s prepared, he’s extremely passionate about it and he is a huge sports fan which allows him to connect with the sports fans we serve.”

Bill Simmons in a tweet on Grantland being denied a credential to a NHL playoff game: “Still laughing that the Blues denied @katiebakes for a media credential last week. The NHL is the best. DON’T COVER US!!! STAY AWAY!”

Dave Kindred on the late Furman Bisher: “One time, two years ago, his glorious wife, Linda, called him in the Augusta  press room and Furman became a high school kid in love. “I just finished,  honey,” he said. “It wasn’t much. I keep trying. I’ll do that perfect column  someday.”

Saints owner Tom Benson on demise of the New Orleans Times-Picuyane: “It is hard for me to imagine no Times-Picayune on Monday, February 4, 2013, the day after our city hosts Super Bowl XLVII.”

Veteran sportswriter Tom Pedulla on being fired from USA Today: “If you think someone’s job was in jeopardy, you’d want to do it face-to-face to make the best possible decision. I never got a face-to-face interview to keep a job I had for 31 years.”

Former Fox Sports chairman David Hill on the future of sports TV:  “The next big development for all of us is the second-screen experience. I don’t believe that has been explored in terms of potential as it should be. If you look at multi-tasking that is going on, a valid second screen experience (people watching a second screen in addition to the primary screen) – which could be American Idol – is going to be a huge development down the road.”

Tiger Woods on new media: “You’ve got to be able to stand out somehow to get eyes going to your site or to your media, and I think that’s one of the reasons why there’s the criticism that there is. I was looking at it the other day, if LeBron didn’t have a good game, then the Heat are done and he should retire.  I’m like, geez, guys, he just won MVP.  But I think that’s just the nature of the volatility of the new media in which we are involved in now.”

Phil Mushnick controversial column on Jay-Z: “As long as the Nets are allowing Jay-Z to call their  marketing shots — what a shock that he chose black and white as the new team  colors to stress, as the Nets explained, their new “urban” home — why not have  him apply the full Jay-Z treatment?

“Why the Brooklyn Nets when they can be the New York N——s? The  cheerleaders could be the Brooklyn B—-hes or Hoes. Team logo? A 9 mm with  hollow-tip shell casings strewn beneath. Wanna be Jay-Z hip? Then go all the way!”

Michelle Beadle on rampant speculation about her future: “I find it ridiculous. It’s a little stupid. I’ve changed jobs a couple dozen times since I started in an amusement park at 16. … I got a little sick of myself. It’s been an odd situation. Hopefully, it will come and go and everybody will get back to their business. Very weird. Who knew?”

Ozzie Guillen on Twitter: “Yeah, I hate Twitter. Everybody following me can (expletive) his pants. You can quote me on that one. … Don’t follow me anymore. Twitter is a stupid thing. I never make money out of that. When you speak Spanish, you speak Spanish. When you speak English, you don’t know how to spell ‘English.’ Get a real job, get a life. I don’t make money out of that. I’m done.”

Colin Cowherd on hockey writers: “Hockey doesn’t get the cream of the crop in our business…What do you think I’m giving the kid out of Fordham? The New York Islanders. He’s cheap, he’s bright, and his brother used to play hockey.”

John Skipper on NBC Sports Network: “We’ve been doing this for 32 years and I do think  there’s a little too much respect paid to the great brand names. Everybody sort  of assumes, ‘Oh, my gosh, NBC is going to a 24/7 network and it’s a two-horse  race.” But they don’t look like we look. You guys saw all the stuff today –  mobile, Internet. We have more viewers in an average minute on ESPN mobile than  they have on NBC Sports Network.”

NBC Sports response: “The NBC Sports Group brands are among the most powerful brands in sports. We don’t look like anyone else and we’re very proud of that fact. They’ve been at this a long time and at a significantly higher cost to consumers. Our audience and market share are increasing as evidenced by the NHL playoffs and at great value to our viewers.”

CBC’s Ron McLean invoking images of 9/11 in open to a NHL playoff game: “From the capital of the U.S. of A., it’s New York and Washington. The economic and political engines of America, united in the birth of the country, they’re also linked in tragedy. They were the twin targets of the coordinated attacks on 9/11. It’s crazy to compare what the emergency responders did during that time, but a spirit has to start somewhere. And as you enjoy this series between the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals — Game 6 comin’ up, 3-2 New York.”

Dan Jenkins: “Who is the best the sportswriter who wore shorts? I keep trying to envision Grantland Rice or John Lardner in shorts. It never occurred to me to wear shorts. I’d look too silly to wear shorts.”

ESPN’s Vince Doria on hockey: “It’s a sport that engenders a very passionate local following. If you’re a Blackhawks fan in Chicago, you’re a hardcore fan. But it doesn’t translate to television, and where it really doesn’t transfer much to is a national discussion, which is something that typifies what we do.”

Donna  de Varona on 40th anniversary of Title IX: “My work in Title IX gave me a voice I wanted to have as a broadcaster. But there was a lot of pushback. My visibility was often threatened. I often got comments about my activism being an issue, forcing me to make choices. That did two things for me: It made me fight harder and stay at ABC, and also to work on Capitol Hill.”

Darren Rovell announcing in a tweet (what else?) that he is jumping to ESPN: “I’m thrilled to have reached an agreement in principle with ESPN. No matter how others bash it, Bristol is truly a magical place.”

APSE president Michael A. Anastasi in speech to sports editors: “Many of you have heard me say this before, but I think it’s worth repeating. With so much change, so much challenge, so much new, this is exactly the wrong time for editors to stop talking to each other.”

ESPN’s Vince Doria: “If social networking never existed, we wouldn’t miss it. We wouldn’t know it ever existed. We wouldn’t feel our life was impaired in any way. We lived without e-mail. How did we operate without it?”

Geoff Ogilvy’s wife, Julie, on Twitter: “How does Johnny Miller have a job when he speaks such nonsense???”

Phil Mushnick: “Allowing ESPN’s Chris Berman to call golf’s U.S. Open is like giving the Class Clown a jumbo can of Silly String.”

Skip Bayless: “Miami was the heavy favorite to win it all and I’m not backing off. I’m not writing them off. I’m sticking with them in seven games, because they’re still the Miami Heat.”

Ken Harrelson after over-the-top criticism of an umpire: “I talked to Bud Selig yesterday. We had a talk. Actually, Bud talked and I listened. If it was a prize fight, they would have stopped it in the first round.”

Bob Costas on slain Israeli athletes not being honored at Olympics: “I intend to note that the IOC denied the request. Many people find that denial more than puzzling but insensitive. Here’s a minute of silence right now.”

BTN president Mark Silverman on his network not covering important Penn State press conference: “We wanted to have covered it. Frankly, it was human error. There was an internal communications issue. We regret not having shown that press conference.”

Sports Illustrated’s Jon Wertham on Joe Posnanski’s Paterno book: “The great lesson that Paterno may have taught (a player) pales in comparison to the cover-up. People who read the book will say they don’t care about (his great deeds). I worry this will be the literary version of the Matt Millen fiasco.”

Joe Buck on Tim McCarver going into Hall of Fame: “When I had him sitting to my right and I had him seconding an opinion of mine, it gave me instant credibility. I owe him a lot and I’ll be there, the proudest one there not at the podium when he goes in on Saturday.”

Tim McCarver: “If somebody told me back in 1980 that I would have a 32-year career, and that I’d be receiving this honor, I’d say no way. For three years, I couldn’t even break into the Phillies broadcast booth. I was just hoping to make it, much less be mentioned as a Ford Frick winner. Believe me, when I started out, this award wasn’t even close to being on the radar.”

Bob Costas on turning 60: “It doesn’t seem that long ago to me that the word irreverent seemed affixed to my name. ‘Irreverant newcomer.’ I went from irreverent to venerable in what seems to me like the blink of an eye.”









Top sports media stories in 2012: Spiraling rights fees, ratings; ESPN cleans up; Mixed opening for NBC Sports Net

From my perspective, the biggest sports media story in 2012 occurred on April 16. That’s when ShermanReport.com went live. Then again, I’m biased.

There has been plenty of other sports media news in 2012. Here’s a look:

Infinity: While talking about the outrageous rights fees for sports the other day, Ed Goren, the former top production man at Fox Sports, noted that Fox paid $400 million for its first four-year deal with the NFL in 1994.

“Remember when everyone thought that was out of sight?” Goren said. “Now it’s nothing.”

Indeed, $400 million barely would get you the NFL preseason in today’s market.

The lavish spending continued in 2012. Baseball was the biggest winner, with ESPN, Turner, Fox all re-upping with a new megadeal. As a result, Bud Selig and friends will more than double their annual haul from $750 million to $1.55 billion when the new contract kicks in.

Other sports also enjoyed the money grab with new expensive contracts. There seems to be no end how much the networks, especially ESPN, will pay in rights fees. Even the European Premier League went to NBC for $250 million over three years. Keep in mind, this is for a league not based in the United States and for a sport most Americans don’t care about.

Why the sports lust by the networks? See the next installment.

Soaring ratings: In a continuing splintered TV marketplace, ratings continue to rise for sports (with the exception of baseball: more on that below). Sunday Night Football on NBC is shooting for its second straight season as the top-ranked show in primetime. The Summer Olympics were the most-viewed event of all time and the NFL’s overall numbers are ridiculous. Elsewhere, there were ratings increases for the NCAA basketball tournament, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup playoffs, and more down the line.

Sports remains the last bastion of true reality television. And you have to watch it live. It’s not the same on DVR.

If sports fans keep watching, the networks will keep paying. It’s that simple.

ESPN: President John Skipper spent like crazy with deals for baseball, the new college football playoff, Big Ten, ACC, SEC, etc. Guess you can do that when your network is valued at $40 billion. Skipper secured crucial programming for the long haul, and even better, shut out his upstart competitors.

NBC Sports Network, Year 1: Some things worked; others not so much. The Stanley Cup playoffs did solid numbers, as fans loved the multi-platform approach, and the Summer Olympics had viewers seeking out the network.

However, any momentum has been dulled considerably with the NHL lockout. Speaking of games, NBC Sports Network couldn’t get in the game for baseball or make deals with the major college conference for much needed live sports programming. The Big East still is out there. What’s left of it.

NBC Sports Network remains a work in progress, but it is difficult to see how far it can go without significant games.

Gold medal: NBC did record ratings, exceeding expectations for the Olympics in London. However, the complaints about the tape delay approach reached new heights. It all is so antiquated in today’s modern media age.

It seems NBC is listening.

“We evaluate our business models all the time, and seek the best ways to satisfy the majority of viewers, as well as advertisers, and our affiliate stations,” said NBC Sports president Mark Lazarus. “We have to wait for the data from these Games to come in, and then we’ll make our plans accordingly.”

Prediction: Everything will be available live on your TV for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Next train out of Bristol: ESPN saw some big name personalities walk out the door: Michelle Beadle, Erin Andrews, Jim Rome. So much was made of their departures that the ESPN PR crew started to issue press releases for routine contract renewals, as if to say, “Hey, somebody likes it here.”

Skipper didn’t seem upset about the defections: “Getting excited about people leaving is very overrated — whether it be executives or on-air. Mostly it gives somebody else a chance to shine. I can’t think of a single instance where losing a talent has been significantly debilitating to a specific program. I don’t think we’ve ever canceled a program because we couldn’t find somebody to do it.”

One big name who stayed: Scott Van Pelt.

World Series blues: While other sports showcases continue to go up, the World Series declined again. Sure, another four-game sweep didn’t help. But there’s also another element in play. For whatever reason, the World Series doesn’t seem to matter as much as it used to. Baseball, unlike the other sports, has gotten extremely provincial. If your team isn’t playing, you’re not interested, or as interested.

Penn State: The biggest sports story of the year saw premature reports of Joe Paterno’s death and the Big Ten Network taking hits for not covering the NCAA press conference that announced the unprecedented sanctions. On the plus side, Harrisburg Patriot-News reporter Sara Ganim won the Pulitzer Prize for her coverage of the scandal.

Musical chairs: Yet another wave of conference realignment. Maryland and Rutgers in the Big Ten? Louisville in the ACC? All in the name of maximizing TV revenue.

Poor UConn. The Huskies look like the little kid standing while the others have their chairs.

Gruden: ESPN went to a two-man booth for Monday Night Football, elevating the status of Jon Gruden. It resulted in much fascination for the former coach, who could keep that post for the next 10-15 years if he wants. A big if considering he could be on the sidelines in 2013.

Finally tuned in: After oh so many years, Time Warner cable finally agreed to a deal to carry the NFL Network. As a result, New Yorkers finally were introduced to a wonderful man named Scott Hanson and NFL RedZone.

Tebow mania: Yeah, ESPN went a bit overboard. The network took more hits for its coverage than Tebow did playing quarterback for the Jets.














Top newsmakers for 2012: No denying that everyone talked about Skip Bayless

When I launched ShermanReport on April 16, I had some initial concerns that there might not be enough fresh content to do a daily site.

Couldn’t have been more wrong.

There’s so much territory to cover, it can be overwhelming at times. For a solo performer, it is a challenge to keep up. It’s never dull, that’s for sure.

As 2012 nears a close, I’m going to reflect on the year in sports media this week. Today, I begin with newsmakers. My criteria is people who were interesting, intriguing, controversial, and generally seemed to be in the news cycle, for better or worse.

Here we go:

Skip Bayless: Yes, Skip Bayless. I can see your eyes rolling, but name me someone who has generated more sports media talk?

I know he is extremely polarizing, and he routinely gets obliterated from the critics. Twitter nearly exploded when he got nominated for a Sports Emmy.

This isn’t to say that Bayless and First Take rank as the best in 2012. The latest episode involving Rob Parker off-mark comments about Robert Griffin III are an example why many people feel the show is a stain on ESPN. A blow to its credibility.

However, whenever the topic is sports media in a podcast or elsewhere, I’m hard pressed to think of a time when the discussion didn’t include Bayless and First Take. My former Chicago Tribune colleague receives a remarkable amount of attention for a mid-morning show on ESPN2. Not exactly prime time. Love him or hate him, people tune in to hear Bayless’ and Stephen A. Smith’s views. The show continues to do a strong rating and Bayless has nearly 1 million followers on Twitter, up from 550,000 in April.

More so, athletes react over what he has to say. Kevin Durant, Jalen Rose, Charles Barkley, and Terrell Suggs, to name a few. Again, somebody must be listening.

In a Q/A I did with Bayless in April, I asked if he saw himself wearing the black hat. He said: “The thrust of our show is people trying to take me down. They just want to see me lose. That’s why they love Stephen A (Smith). He calls me Skip “Baseless.” Fine. Then I quickly prove to the audience that I’m not baseless and win the argument from him, using live ammo, real facts that he can’t refute.”

Will Bayless be at the top of the list again in 2013? I wouldn’t bet against him.

Bob Costas: Costas hit a milestone birthday, turning 60. While it’s just a number, he continued to define his status as perhaps the sportscaster of his generation in 2012. He tied it all together in hosting yet another Olympics for NBC. Even more so, he stepped out on controversial issues: The failure to do a memorial of the slain Israeli athletes at the Olympics and his anti-gun commentary during halftime of a Sunday night game. If sports has a social conscience and voice, it is Costas.

Mark Lazarus: Unlike his predecessor Dick Ebersol, the NBC Sports president took a low profile in being at the helm for his first Olympics. While the tape delay issue had viewers screaming, they still watched in record numbers. Bottom line: The Games even turned an unexpected profit for NBC. Lazarus didn’t have to say much more than that.

John Skipper: The ESPN president oversaw the network’s buying spree in 2012, locking in important long-term rights deals. Skipper also is refreshingly frank. He earned plaudits for admitting that ESPN went overboard with its Tim Tebow coverage.

Joe Posnanski: No sportswriter faced a more intense spotlight than Posnanski. His much-anticipated book Paterno was roundly criticized. The response was so extreme, Posnanski did limited interviews and virtually no public appearances. As a result, his move from Sports Illustrated to being the signature name for the SportsOnEarth site received little fanfare.

Clearly, Posnanski’s book was hurt by a deadline that was moved up to cash in on the timeliness of the story. But even worse, he appeared too close to Paterno and his family to write an objective book that this subject required.

Michelle Beadle: After several months of over-the-top speculation about her future, Beadle bolted ESPN for a package at NBC. She shined in a hosting role at the Olympics. Always entertaining, Beadle will add a new show at NBC Sports Network in 2013.

Erin Andrews: Speaking of over-the-top, Andrews also left ESPN and signed on at Fox Sports. The big lure was a chance to host a primetime college football studio show in advance of Fox’s Saturday night game. Alas, Andrews and the show generally got panned. Look for some changes in a second attempt in 2013.

Chris Berman: Speaking of polarizing figures, it’s often target practice on Berman. His act, once unique and fun in another decade, now is viewed as old and tired. It’s almost as if he has become a characterization of himself. If only he listened to the many people who have to be begging him to tone it down.

Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch blew him up several times. Following Berman hosting the NFL draft, he wrote: “The bellowing never stops. It pummels you over the head like a hard rain.”

Of the critics, Berman told Michael Hiestand of USA Today: ”I just talk to people everyday walking down the street,” he says. “That’s what I care about. That’s good enough for me. They didn’t like Ted Williams either. Now, I’m not Ted Williams.”

That is quite true. He is not anywhere close to comparing his situation to Ted Williams’.

As for ESPN making any changes with Berman? Don’t count on it. He signed a long-term deal in 2012.

Jim Rome: Another escapee from ESPN, Rome took his act to CBS, where he was given many platforms. His daily show on CBS Sports Network reaches a limited audience simply because the network still doesn’t register in the mind of most sports viewers. He recently launched a weekly show on Showtime. We’ll see how that goes. In a few weeks, he will take his radio show to the new CBS Sports Radio Network.

The biggest Rome news occurred when he got in a flap with NBA Commissioner David Stern. It stemmed from a poorly-worded question about whether the draft was fixed.

The move to CBS clearly is a work in process for Rome. He knew it would take some time. However, he will want to see some progress in 2013.

Jeff Van Gundy: Van Gundy has emerged as a star for his blunt, honest analysis of the NBA for ESPN. You have to listen closely because he is capable of saying anything at any given moment. He wasn’t shy about criticizing the network when it backed out of a deal to hire his brother, Stan. He’s become one of my favorites.

Bill Simmons: ESPN’s franchise man on so many different platforms was given another toy by being added to NBA Countdown. The studio show is a work in progress, but Simmons’ addition has made for a different feel. A basketball junkie, he has a unique and at times quirky perspective on the game. I have found myself listening to hear what Simmons has to say.

Tim McCarver. The announcer called his 23rd World Series, a record. He also received the Ford Frick Award at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, an honor that was long overdue.

John Clayton: Who knew that the 58-year NFL analyst wore a ponytail, worshipped Slayer, and lived with his mother? The cult of John Clayton grew with one of the year’s best commercials. It even received a tweet from LeBron James.

Darren Rovell: Hey, somebody actually jumps to ESPN. What a concept. Rovell left a gig at CNBC where he was the big fish in a little sports pond. Now he’s swimming among fish of all sizes in the ESPN ocean that is the Pacific. The move has some risks, but Rovell felt when ESPN calls (a second time for him), you dive in.

Frank Deford and Vin Scully: Let’s finish with two legends who still are going strong. Deford wrote his memoirs in a terrific book, Over Time: My Life as a Sportswriter. As you would expect from Deford, it was entertaining and insightful, covering more than a generation of sports writing. At age 74, Deford still goes strong with his commentaries for NPR and work on Real Sports for HBO.

What can you say about Scully, the ageless wonder? Now 85, he gave us the best gift possible by deciding to return for yet another year in 2013. Remarkable.










Michelle Beadle will launch new NBC Sports Network show in February

For the second time, I was the opening act for Michelle Beadle in the latest Sports Media Weekly podcast with Keith Thibault and Ken Fang. One of us broke some news, and it wasn’t me. Not that anyone would care if I had any news.

Beadle disclosed in the podcast that she will debut a new show called The Crossover on NBC Sports Network during Super Bowl week in New Orleans. She said the show will run 30 minutes Monday through Friday in a late afternoon time slot.

Much like SportsNation, where she made a name for herself on ESPN, the new program will feature a mix of sports and pop culture, she said.

“Basically what I did before again,” Beadle said. “I love sports and pop culture. I never wanted to do only one. They’re giving me a chance to do a show that I’ve envisioned.”

Part of the plan for Beadle when she left ESPN for NBC was build a show around her. NBC Sports Network needs some big-name personalities to serve as anchors of the network. Obviously, it hopes Beadle will work well in that role.

Beadle said she wasn’t at liberty to disclose the name of the co-host. In fact, NBC likely wasn’t thrilled she went public about the show before the official announcement.

“I’m probably going to get in trouble,” she said.






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.”






Andrews react: Twitter followers new barometer of popularity; Fox offered more opportunities

I was amused to see this line in the release announcing Fox Sports’ hiring of Erin Andrews:

Andrews, one of the most-followed sports television personalities on Twitter with over 1.3 million followers, returns to FOX Sports after spending eight years at ESPN.

It’s the first time I can recall seeing Twitter followers as a barometer of popularity. I have to say it’s not as if Andrews is firing up great content on her feed. Here are a couple of samples from the last couple of weeks.

ErinAndrews Yes, I’m the person that walks two terminals away at 6 am to get a sausage biscuit at the airport..don’t judge me #guiltypleasure

ErinAndrews Watching So You Think You Can Dance from last night..I always bawl my face off during this show..amazing talent & real emotions..

Oh, she did have insights from Bill Clinton on the new college playoff system.

ErinAndrews Btw The President Bill Clinton told me tonight, it will be no time before college football has an eight tm and 12 tm playoff

Still, if they’re using Twitter as a barometer of popularity, Adam Schefter has to be feeling good today. He has 1.65 million followers.


Just like Michelle Beadle’s move to NBC Sports, Fox was able to offer Andrews more opportunities than staying at ESPN. In addition to hosting Fox’s new prime-time college football show, she also will be used on the network’s coverage of the NFL and MLB. Plus, and this is a big plus, there will be entertainment opportunities as well down the line.

From Richard Deitsch at SI.com:

“This was a difficult move but it was the right move because it’s allowing me  to do so many things that I probably would not have been able to do had I stayed  at ESPN,” Andrews told SI.com on Sunday night. “It’s a different way to expand  my role. I’m not tired yet. I don’t want to hang it up. I just need to get  better and these were different opportunities that I would not be able to find  anywhere but at Fox Sports.”

Andrews would not say what her specific role is on the NFL (Fox has sideline  openings) but that announcement is expected to come this week. “The NFL was a  huge thing; it’s always been a dream,” Andrews said. “I always wanted to work in  the NFL and they are offering me a role in it.”

However, speaking of life changes, here’s an interesting item from Andrews in Michael Hiestand’s column:

Like, say, motherhood. Andrews, 34, says she cut back on travel to games in her last ESPN deal. While she won’t elaborate on all her Fox duties — saying Fox will announce them this week — she says she realizes “I need a life. I need to start thinking about starting a family at some point.”

Is there a Mr. Andrews on the horizon? That should get the gossipers fired up.


The hire makes sense for Fox. Andrews is an established name and young men like to watch college football.

Although I thought there was a bit of overkill in the first line of the release:

College football on FOX just became must-watch TV this fall as the popular Erin Andrews, one of sports television’s brightest stars, rejoins the FOX Sports family.

While her hiring will create a buzz, I’m sure not sure if Andrews qualifies as a “must-watch.” Unless, as I said, you’re a young man.


As for ESPN, it has lost Beadle and Andrews, two of its biggest female personalities. However, I doubt they are going into a panic in Bristol. Remember this quote from John Skipper in USA Today in May:

The ESPN president said:

“Getting excited about people leaving is very overrated — whether it be executives or on-air. Mostly it gives somebody else a chance to shine. I can’t think of a single instance where losing a talent has been significantly debilitating to a specific program. I don’t think we’ve ever canceled a program because we couldn’t find somebody to do it.”

In other words, ESPN simply will reload.






Beadle on over-coverage of her: It’s ridiculous

Hopefully, we’re about to enter a Michelle Beadle-free zone for a while. But first, one last word from the women herself.

Even Beadle was embarrassed about the excessive amount of attention that has been focused on her in recent weeks. In an interview with USA Today, she said:

I find it ridiculous. It’s a little stupid. I’ve changed jobs a couple dozen times since I started in an amusement park at 16. … I got a little sick of myself. It’s been an odd situation. Hopefully, it will come and go and everybody will get back to their business. Very weird. Who knew?

Of her decision to move to NBC, where she will be involved in sports and entertainment programming, she said:

I’m 36 and I knew whatever I signed next would be a threeish-year deal. If I was 25, you’d have time to play with. You know, with high-def TV, women get the short end of the stick.

Anything else? OK, that should be enough Michelle Beadle for a while.


Breaking: Beadle to get show on NBC Sports Network

NBC officially announced the addition of Michelle Beadle to the roster Monday, and it included this surprise: She will have a new show on the NBC Sports Network.

The release says:

As part of the agreement, NBC Sports Group will develop new programming for NBC Sports Network featuring Beadle.

In an interview with 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis, Beadle said:

A new sports show probably around the end of the summer. I’m not leaving sports.

It makes sense for the NBC Sports Network to develop programming for Beadle. People definitely are interested in her as evidenced by the vast speculation about whether she would leave ESPN. You can bet her new show will generate plenty of advance publicity.

NBC showcased her personality with this quote from Beadle in the release:

This gig is the perfect blend of the two things I am most passionate about – sports and pop culture. I look forward to getting back to New York City and immersing myself into a myriad of NBCUniversal platforms, while trying to kick ass and have some fun along the way.

Take that, ESPN.

The release outlines her new gig across NBC’s platforms.

Beadle, who will be based in New York, will serve as a correspondent for the nationally syndicated entertainment news program, “Access Hollywood,” which is anchored by Billy Bush. Beadle will cover all major red carpet events, including movie premieres and fashion week, plus report on all breaking Hollywood news. Beadle will also serve as a correspondent for NBC Sports Group’s big-event properties including this summer’s London Olympic Games, which she will also be covering for “Access Hollywood.” Beadle will also have a role in the 2012 NFL Kickoff and Horse Racing’s Triple Crown, as well as other NBC Sports Network programs. As part of the agreement, NBC Sports Group will develop new programming for NBC Sports Network featuring Beadle.

One thing is for sure: You definitely haven’t heard the last from Michelle Beadle.







Question: Why so much coverage for women of SportsNation?

Jason McIntyre of Big Lead wrote a long analysis piece on why Charissa Thompson is the likely replacement for Michelle Beadle on ESPN’s SportsNation.

However, McIntyre has a wonderful aside in the second paragraph:

Aside: Clearly, this is the most pub SportsNation has gotten since its inception in 2009. The bandwidth spent on the show over the last month has almost been comical; it’s as if we’re discussing the Monday Night Football booth. Maybe that’s what happens when attractive females are involved? That being said, we trudge onward.

The picture that runs with the post provides the answer. It shows Thompson in a bare shoulder black dress.

Of course, there’s so much focus because these are very attractive women here. I mean, would there be this much fuss if Karl Ravech was leaving Baseball Tonight?

Probably not. Then again: Has anyone seen Ravech in a bare shoulder black dress?

Update: Just heard Ravech extended his contract earlier this year with, alas, no fanfare.