SBD/Issue 33/Sports Media

Media Notes

Stuart Scott will replace Dan Patrick as host of ESPN/ABC's NBA studio show. Bill Walton will move from games to studio and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith on ESPN and Michael Wilbon on ABC. Walton replaces Jon Barry, who is moving from the studio to games. Jalen Rose and Rick Carlisle will also be studio analysts on the net. Longtime ESPN college basketball announcer Dan Shulman will do play-by-play with analyst Hubie Brown (USA TODAY, 10/26). Shulman, formerly a Blue Jays announcer, is “giving up almost all of his radio baseball work, with the exception of the first two playoff rounds and a few regular-season games.” He will continue to call Wednesday night MLB games and college basketball games on ESPN (TORONTO STAR, 10/26).

FIGURE '08: In Chicago, Philip Hersh reports ESPN “is considering a renewal" of its int'l rights contract with the International Skating Union (ISU). ESPN paid $5M in ‘04 for a four-year deal that ends after the ’08 World Championships, but the net “had quickly fallen out of love with the property because of what it considered shabby treatment by the ISU, and because ESPN’s emphasis is on stick-and-ball programming. The lure now for ESPN, which telecasts the worlds and Grand Prix series other than Skate America, is that the 2009 world championships are in Los Angeles.” The World Championships “could be the only event ESPN actually televises,” opting to show the rest of the Grand Prix series through the Web (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/26).

NIGH-DEF: FSN this season will air Rockets away games in HD “at sites where it can share a production truck with the home team’s broadcaster.” But the delivery of a Houston-based HD truck “has been delayed until December.” FSN Houston PR Dir Ramon Alvarez said that the net “is trying to book trucks in the interim, but it appears the home opener next Friday will not be aired in HDTV” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/26).

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