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 … Continue Reading

NBC Sports Network will feel pain of NHL lockout starting tonight; forced to air old DeNiro flick instead of hockey

If you’re a fan of old classic sports movies, you’re going to love the NHL lockout.

Tonight, instead of airing the scheduled hockey doubleheader that would have kicked off the season, NBC Sports Network will show The Fan, starring Robert DeNiro and Wesley Snipes. Not once, but twice.

Hey, wouldn’t Slap Shot have been more appropriate for what was supposed to be the NHL’s opening night?

In upcoming weeks, expect to see The Natural, Rocky, Rudy, and whatever else NBCSN can dig up in its vault.

The NHL stoppage (Note: Illustraton by Nate Beeler of Columbus Dispatch) couldn’t come at a worse time for NBCSN. After enjoying a terrific run during the Olympics, the network has had a dearth of live programming from Monday through Friday.

That would have changed with hockey starting. NBCSN is supposed to air games on … Continue Reading

Costas interview with Posnanski: Author believes Freeh report flawed; wasn’t going to write a takedown book

Perhaps this is why Joe Posnanski is not doing a big media tour to promote his book Paterno. It would take too much out of him to repeatedly defend a coach nobody wants to hear being defended.

Posnanski appears Wednesday on Costas Tonight (NBC Sports Network, 9 p.m. ET). The 90-Minute Show Includes Costas’ full November 2011 interview with Jerry Sandusky from Rock Center with Brian Williams with never-before-seen footage.

Posnanski has done limited interviews since release of the book last week. You can see why from the Costas interview. There are tough questions to be answered.

Here are some of the more interesting segments.

On the Freeh Report being flawed:

Costas: “Without getting bogged down in the particulars, this is the essence of Louis Freeh, former FBI director‘s report. The conclusion: In order to avoid the consequences … Continue Reading

Time to get real time: NBC needs to solve live issue for next Olympics

A couple of Olympics observations before we go back to real sports:

******

During a teleconference, I was struck by a comment from NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus. He called critics of the network’s coverage “a vocal minority” compared to the “silent majority” who made up the bulk of the high primetime ratings.

Now I’m not so sure on Lazarus’ breakdown when it comes to minority and majority. And he shouldn’t construe silence for total approval.

Regardless, Lazarus has to know that the “vocal minority” likely make up a large part of the bread-and-butter viewers of NBC Sports. With the non-traditional sports viewers (women, kids) departing until the next Olympics, many in the “vocal minority” will remain to watch Sunday Night Football, Notre Dame football, golf, hockey, and other sports on the network.

The “vocal minority” clearly want to watch their sports … Continue Reading

Does new show foreshadow NBC Sports Network landing baseball? Kuselias to host evening show on new NBC Sports Radio Network

Here’s some NBC Sports news that doesn’t involve the Olympics:

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

Continue Reading

$1 billion doesn’t go as far as it used to; Why NBC still bullish on Olympics despite losing money

NBC announced this week that it has sold $1 billion of national television and digital advertising for its coverage of the London Olympic Games. That’s the most ever for an Olympic Games and approximately $150 million more than the total for NBC’s coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

But here’s the bad news: NBC spent nearly $1.2 million for the rights to the games and will incur another $100 million in production costs.

Now it’s hard to believe that you could generate $1 billion worth of advertising and still lose money, but I’m guessing network executives felt that way in the 50s when the figure was $1 million.

It’s all relative.

NBC, though, believes it actually has reason to be bullish on its latest Olympic investment. After London, the network will shell out $4.38 billion for the 2014 Winter, 2016 Summer, 2018 Winter and 2020 Summer … Continue Reading

New Sports Illustrated TV program to debut tonight; Writers go on air to tell stories

As the lines continue to blur in the new media world, Sports Illustrated is taking its writers to television.

A new show, simply named Sports Illustrated, is set to debut tonight at 9:00 p.m. (ET) on NBC Sports Network.

Here’s the promo:

The program doesn’t have a host or narrator. Instead, the first installment uses SI writers Tom Verducci, John Wertheim, Jack McCallum and Sarah Kwak lending commentary and context with the subjects telling the story. Also, unlike HBO’s Real Sports, the SI writers aren’t shown doing the interviews.

From the release:

“Sports Illustrated” Presented by Lexus is, a monthly, hour-long sports magazine TV show produced by NBC Sports and Sports Illustrated. The show will deliver the magazine’s DNA of award-winning storytelling through feature segments, original reporting and commentary from SI’s trusted journalists. Emmy Award-winning Red Line Films has been tapped to produce the show.

I have to say … Continue Reading

Pressure to fill Ebersol’s shoes: NBC’s Larazus now squarely in Olympics spotlight

It’s finally here.

After all the countdowns, hype and preparation, the opening ceremonies are set for Friday.

Few people will be feeling the pressure more in London than Mark Lazarus. All the NBC Sports chairman has to do is step into the huge Olympics TV legacy left by Dick Ebersol.

Here’s my look at Lazarus and NBC in a story that also ran Sunday in the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune:

*******

Mark Lazarus is an affable man, but he seems to prefer to be in the background.

The Olympics, though, will thrust him squarely in the intense spotlight created, in part, by his predecessor, Dick Ebersol.

Lazarus, 48, takes control when NBC begins its massive coverage of the Summer Olympics next week. When Ebersol resigned suddenly in a contract dispute in May, 2011, Lazarus stepped in as chairman … Continue Reading

Meet Jim Bell, NBC’s executive producer for Olympics; On his plan and learning from Ebersol

Jim Bell doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who takes himself too seriously.

When I asked how it will feel to sit in The Chair–the “Ebersol chair” if you will–during the Olympics, he went into a mock panic.

“I’m going to be very nervous,” Bell said. “I didn’t think this would actually happen.”

Seriously, Bell knows he has a big seat to fill as NBC’s executive producer for the Olympics in London. Previously, that role was played by former NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol, who personally called the shots for every Olympics televised by the network since 1988.

Now with Ebersol stepping aside and only serving as a consultant in London, it will be Bell, 44, who will be making the big decisions during NBC’s massive coverage of the Games.

He hardly is a rookie. He is executive producer of TodayContinue Reading

Q/A with Bob Costas: The kid now is 60; his Olympics legacy

Feel old everyone.

Bob Costas now is 60. Yes, the NBC broadcaster turned the big 6-0 in March.

How did this happen? Wasn’t it just yesterday that Costas was this hotshot kid working NBC’s Game of the Week with Tony Kubek?

I was taken off-guard that Costas had reached such a milestone birthday. And so were others, he said.

“Yes, they’re surprised,” Costas said. “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.”

Age, though, seems irrelevant since the ageless Costas continues to deliver on so many different platforms. He made national news with his masterful handling of the Jerry Sandusky interview; and he’s all over the place for NBC and MLB Network, ranging … Continue Reading