The Big Lead is reporting that Jim Rome will be leaving ESPN for CBS this month, and that his show "Jim Rome is Burning" will be heading with him. ESPN later confirmed the report of Rome's departure. Rome has been on ESPN for the past eight years and his new home will be the CBS Sports Network, formerly known as CBS College Sports and CSTV. CBS Sports is available on most cable systems across the country, including DIRECTV, Dish Network, Comcast, Cox, Time Warner, and so on.
CBS is likely to make Rome one of the cornerstones of the network, considering that the current "highlights" on it include deals with PBR (rodeo), MLL (lacrosse), Army & Navy football, and a lot of college hockey. Also in March, the network features a lot of March Madness coverage as a good companion to the main coverage on CBS's main channel. But then again, with Turner Sports getting in on the act this past year, there's less of a need for CBS Sports Network to be prominently involved. In his new role at CBS, Rome will be making some appearances on Showtime, also owned by CBS.
At any rate, Rome's departure was likely caused by his show getting jerked around over the last couple of months. He went from being on at 4:30 on ESPN as a lead-in to Around the Horn and PTI, to being on at 4:30 on ESPN2, with the then untested (and now, generally reviled) Dan Le Batard show as a lead-in. Deadspin also surmises that comments from ESPN executives in the ESPN book released in the spring have something to do with Rome's departure.
Here's a classic Rome clip to pay tribute to his most recent run at ESPN...
Is it a big loss for ESPN or a big catch for CBS? What do you think?
Arkansas defeated Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl last night 29-16 in a matchup of Top 10 teams. The game wasn't quite as exciting as some of the BCS games that have been played this season and the Friday night timeslot hurt the buzz for the game. That, and let's just say ESPN didn't go out of their way to let you know there was a big bowl game being played on a rival network. More than anything, with more than 30+ bowl games on the calendar and the national title game a couple days away, the nation is suffering from bowl fatigue at the moment. I'll be curious to see how the Cotton Bowl ratings stack up to the BCS games seeing as how it was on network TV while the BCS has moved to cable.
The other interesting aspect was the presence of one Gus Johnson and the Fox telecast. Let's see... Fox... college football... I wonder what it was about their broadcast that would cause CBSSports.com college football writer Bryan Fischer's head to explode...
To the guy (gal?) at Fox that takes sick pleasure in trolling college football fans with band shots, congratulations, you've hit your marks once again. As far as Gus goes, there weren't too many opportunities for his trademark excitement, but we did get this Joe Adams punt return for a TD...
And just like that, Gus Johnson's first year doing college football at Fox is over. What did you think about Gus' first year at Fox? Let us know by voting in the poll below:
I voted for #4. I thought it was just an ok first season for Gus Johnson at Fox. Fox just isn't yet a college football powerhouse, so it's going to seem like Gus is being woefully underused. For most of the season, Gus was stuck doing mediocre games on FX. Yea, we love Gus, but is he really going to make us watch Tulsa v Oklahoma on a Saturday night when LSU is playing West Virginia, or Ohio State is taking on Wisconsin, or we have other plans? The Pac 12 & Big Ten title game double duty was a nice touch and provided a couple classic Gus moments... but if that and a Friday night bowl game is the big payoff, Fox needs to rethink how to get more out of their investment in Gus Johnson.
According to our announcing schedules, do you know how many NFL games Gus Johnson broadcasted this year?
ONE NFL game!
And that was all the way back in Week 4 between 0-3 Kansas City and 0-3 Minnesota. Yuck!
When Gus signed with Fox, we thought he would at least get a few games throughout the year, even though his primary assignment was to build the Fox college football brand. Instead, we got plenty of Chris Myers and Tim Ryan or Sam Rosen and Chad Pennington. (*sad trombone*) Gus obviously worked the back to back for the conference title games, so why didn't he make more appearances on Sundays? Why not use Gus on more high profile NFL games to help build your college football brand? Why not have Gus announce a big game here and there and say to NFL fans, this is the guy that's leading our college football coverage! For fans of Gus Johnson and the NFL to see his games go from seventeen down to one has to be a massive disappointment.
Alas, it's now onto Big Ten Network for Gus Johnson where have no fear, he will be announcing some college basketball games. But unless there's a David Beckham type loan deal in the cards, his basketball year will end way too early in March.
Comcast Corp. reached a 10-year deal with Walt Disney on Wednesday, giving Comcast’s customers access to ABC and Disney's cable networks' live and on-demand content from their computers, iPhones and iPads. Watching on your computer has already been around in some respects, but this means for the first time ever you will have the privilege of watching ESPN and ESPN2 on your portable devices, too -- in line at the grocery store, at your wife's friend's wedding, on the john, etc., if you just can't get enough of the WWL.
“This is where the industry is going,” Kraft said in an interview. “You’re going to see more agreements that allow distribution of content both inside and outside the home. It’s the logical progression.”
I think we've all been in that dark place, stuck at DSW with the in-laws in the middle of that big, important game while our idle iPhone is simply wasting battery life in our pocket. The future should be alleviating.
The quality of documentaries has never been higher across the sports world and one of the best original series makes its season debut Sunday night on Big Ten Network. The Journey chronicles the Big Ten basketball season from the beginning of conference play through the Big Ten conference tournament. If you haven't seen The Journey, check out this clip from Wisconsin's upset last year of Ohio State that goes behind the scenes with both programs. The Emmy nominated series matches the storytelling of other great documenatry series like 24/7, 30 for 30, and Hard Knocks while gaining incredible access inside Big Ten programs in a relatively real time way.
With more and more conferences (and even teams) planning to launch their own networks, The Journey may be a trendsetter in college sports. It makes a lot of sense for networks and conferences to follow the lead of BTN and work together to give fans access inside the schools while providing high quality original programming. This look inside each conference program can be a great recruiting and publicity tool for the universities while providing insights for fans and ratings for the respective network. That's definitely a win-win-win scenario. Even for college basketball fans outside the Big Ten, this series is definitely worth looking into. The Journey is the highest rated series on BTN and it's easy to see why after just watching the intro video for the new season below...
With the premiere of The Journey this weekend, we had a chance to catch up with Bill Friedman from Big Ten Network, who has overseen The Journey since its inception in 2007 and serves as Senior Producer of Original Programming at BTN. Our AA Q&A appears after the jump including how the network gains access to the programs, the challenges in making a real time documentary series, and what to look for in the season premeire...
It's Friday and Screengrab Snafus are back! There are a ton of graphical gaffes to get to, so let's get started, shall we?
Let's begin with something called the American Copy Editors Society (or ACES as the clever acronym may be). I love it! These people live for snafus of every kind!!! Just check their database at the bottom of the page! Nice to see that the fine folks there have turned some of their attention to ESPN for not one, but two screengrabs from the mothership that don't show the classiest examples of copy editing ever seen...
Reader TlkSuperStation caught this snafu from NFL Network on the 15-1 Packers and a possible name change that happened for the 2003 Playoffs...
Some of the early bowls may not have had the biggest ratings or the best attendance, but at least there were giant gobs of cotton candy available!
One of the writers at Buckeye blog Eleven Warriors caught this snafu from The Scott Van Pelt Show after the Orange Bowl. Michigan is going to really be a challenge moving forward if they're winning multiple bowls in the same season. And setting offensive records for games they didn't even play in! Now that's an impressive feat...
Can you spot what's wrong with this screengrab from The Herd when they were talking to College Gameday host Chris Fowler about the BCS National Championship Game? (h/t @Lemonade_Vodka & @jeffmatthews)
In an interview with GQ, ESPN's sideline reporter goddess Erin Andrews reveals that coworkers Digger Phelps and Dick Vitale would be interested in competing on Dancing With the Stars. When asked which co-worker would be interested in joining the show, EA had this to say:
"I think Desmond Howard would be really cute on the show. He's got the style and the poise to do it. I know Digger Phelps wants to do it, I know Dick Vitale wants to do it, and I love both of those guys so very much, but I don't think they realize how much training is involved. I think Chris Fowler would be adorable on it, but I think Des would be great."
Sports stars are no stranger to the show, with Emmitt Smith, Apolo Anton Ohno, Helio Castroneves, Kristi Yamaguchi, Shawn Johnson, and Hines Ward all being winners of the show. Many others have also competed, with varying results. But when it comes to announcers? ESPN coworker Kenny Mayne was on season two of the show, and was actually the first competitor eliminated after a pitiful score of 13. In fact, on the 200th episode of the show, the hosts did an awards ceremony, and Mayne was given the honor of "best, worst dancer"...
Personally, I think it's pretty obvious that Vitale and Phelps would fall into Mayne's school of doing it for the laughs as opposed to Andrews' of taking it seriously and practicing really hard in an attempt to win. Then again, if you've got a pair of men in their 70s competing on a dancing reality show... they might actually get seriously hurt. But I'm sure they'd make me laugh in the process!
Sweden won the World Junior Hockey Championship gold medal on Thursday night by defeating the junior Russians 1-0 in overtime. The game-winner was netted by Mika Zibanejad at the 10:09 mark of overtime and it resulted in pure announcer exultation.
You have to watch/listen for yourself:
I don't understand a word, but it sounds like they're having a good time. Yahoo! took a stab, but it doesn't include anything about Jonas Jerebko or tro pa mirakel. When you consider that this was the first gold medal for Sweden at the WJHC in over 30 years, you have to understand and appreciate the junior Swedish Al Michaels reaction (on crazy ecstasy, or extas). It's a love-mix of sweet Swede emotion featuring Abba, Eagle Eye Cherry, The Cardigans, and Europe; the Swedish junior hockey players are all the rock and the announcers are screaming Swedish teenage groupies.
This is a hilarious sequence from tonight's Miami Heat vs Atlanta Hawks game where the announcing crew of Kevin Harlan, Charles Barkley, and Reggie Miller believe they are off mic in the first quarter. However, some wires were crossed and this footage ended up making it on the air. These hot mic moments have led to more embarrassing episodes in announcing history, but this footage is more amusing than anything else. Charles Barkley begins by talking about his work with Weight Watchers and the weight he's lost as a spokesman for the company. Sir Charles also had this to say about getting paid for losing two pounds a week:
"I thought this was the greatest scam going, getting paid to watch sports... this Weight Watchers thing is a bigger scam."
Possibly even better was this no holds barred interaction between Barkley and Harlan about the game as it was unfolding in the first quarter. Ironically enough, the game went into triple overtime where Miami finally emerged victorious:
Barkley: "Man I can't stand to watch this Atlanta Hawks team play."
Harlan: "This game is terrible."
Barkley: "It is."
Harlan: "Look at this game, 31 percent, God Almighty."
Barkley: "The Atlanta Hawks, they got nothin but a bunch of nice guys."
Here's the full clip...
For Barkley, it's really nothing he woudn't say in knowing he was actually on the air. For Harlan, that's probably a different story. It's fun for us though to see this kind of accident happen and find out what the announcers are really thinking. Why couldn't announcers tell us a game sucks when we're all watching the same game and know it does anyways? Maybe Charles Barkley's appearance in the booth will inspire other announcers to take this sort of uncensored approach. Why shouldn't Brent Musburger be able to open a six pack and openly root for his gambling picks during the BCS title game? I for one think that would be a refreshing change!
Here's a look at a clip from the laugher of an Orange Bowl last night between West Virginia and Clemson, with ESPN NFL commentator Jon Gruden confusing First Lady Michelle Obama with ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters. I know they look a little bit alike, but does Gruden really think that Clemson would use Lisa Salters on one of their play cards? Just a little obscure there, even if Salters has been with ESPN since 2000 and Michelle Obama has only been First Lady since January 2009. Gruden's broadcast partners Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski immediately erupt in laughter. This exchange from the ESPN booth is almost as funny as Clemson's defense last night...
West Virginia went on to win the Orange Bowl by the ridiculous score of 70-33 in what may turn out to be the lowest rated BCS Bowl game in history according to John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal. Which BCS Bowl gaffe is better, thinking Lisa Salters is Michelle Obama... or thinking West Virginia is still part of Virginia?
The self-proclaimed king of New York sports talk radio, Mike Francesa, may be leaving WFAN at the end of his contract. For all you fans of the Diet Coke sipping, Al Alburquerque forgetting, Bill Parcells loving kingpin of New York sports radio, have no fear. Francesa's contract with WFAN goes beyond Super Bowl XLVIII in New York City till March 2014. For all you haters of Mike Francesa, sorry, his contract with WFAN goes until March 2014.
As Neil Best reports in Newsday, Francesa is contemplating a departure from his longtime afternoon slot at WFAN where he's ruled New York afternoon airwaves for more than 20 years, but may not be thinking of retiring from the industry:
Mike Francesa is leaning toward leaving WFAN when his contract expires in March 2014, the station's longtime afternoon drive time host said Tuesday.
Speaking after a show on which he hinted on the air he was mulling his future, Francesa initially said it was "50-50, at best" that he would return, then added, "I'm even saying I'm leaning toward leaving."
Francesa has been at the station since shortly after its launch in 1987 and in the afternoon slot since 1989, the first 19 years with his longtime partner, Chris Russo.
He has been a ratings pillar for the station and has a contract believed to pay around $5 million per year. But he said it might soon be time for a change, although he has no plans to retire.
Francesa is in his fourth decade at WFAN. No matter what you think of him personally, Francesa is one of the titans of sports talk radio. Mike & The Mad Dog beginning in 1989 and lasting till 2008 is certainly one of the most notable and influential sports radio shows ever. Even as a non New Yorker, I tried to tune into Francesa and Russo when possible because they were one of the more entertaining pairs in sports. While Francesa can certainly come off as arrogant or flippant towards callers, I always found him to be entertaining. That said, like other great combos in history, Francesa isn't nearly as effective without a partner to buffer some of his more offputting qualities.
If Francesa does leave WFAN in 2014, it's difficult to see him pursuing another high profile gig considering he'll be almost 60 years old. He certainly has the clout to do something nationally based and could make television appearances with a network that needs a buzzworthy personality or possibly something based with the NFL. Maybe ESPN will make him a huge offer to debate Skip Bayless every morning. My God, that would make the internet explode.
Whatever Francesa's future holds, we'll have to cherish (or curse) the remainder of his time at WFAN... which I think this clip sums up nicely...