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ESPN Formally Announces Hiring
Of Storm During Upfront Presentation
STORM: In DC, Tim Lemke reports Storm after leaving CBS' "The Early Show" in December "did have discussions with CBS about staying on in some sort of anchor or reporting role," but Storm said that the "urge to return to sports ... was too strong." With Storm, ESPN has an "additional experienced anchor who can handle breaking hard news," to complement anchors Bob Ley and Trey Wingo, upon whom the net has "relied heavily" for big stories. ESPN Exec VP/Studio & Remote Production Norby Williamson said that ratings for the "recycled, hours-old versions of 'SportsCenter' were growing," but that it was "time to go live as viewers' appetite for up-to-the-second information increased" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 5/14). Williamson: "You innovate and drive from a position of leadership." Williamson added that the timing of the live launch is "perfect ... because the Beijing Olympics kick off the same day and excitement surrounding college and pro football surges" in August (CABLEFAX DAILY, 5/14).
NFL NET: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir reports NFL Network "looked into hiring" NBC's Al Michaels as the play-by-play announcer for the net's NFL broadcasts. NFL Network President & CEO Steve Bornstein: "NBC was open to it, but it didn't work out from Al's point of view. We never got to the specifics" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/14).
Versus earned a 1.8 coverage area rating for Sunday's Flyers-Penguins Eastern Conference Finals Game Two. It was the net's highest-rated NHL broadcast as well as its most-watched telecast ever with 2.373 million viewers. The rating was second only to a 2.1 for the final stage of Lance Armstrong's last Tour de France in '05. The game also marks the most-viewed NHL cable telecast (playoff or regular season) since the ’02-03 season, when cable rights belonged to ESPN/ESPN2. The following lists Versus' five all-time most-viewed telecasts (THE DAILY).TOP FIVE ALL-TIME MOST-VIEWED TELECASTS ON VERSUSDATEPROGRAMVIEWERS (000)5/11/08NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern Conference Finals:
Flyers-Penguins Game Two2,3737/24/05Tour de France: Final Day1,7257/25/04
Tour de France: Final Day1,3715/1/08 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern Conference Semifinals:
Rangers-Penguins Game Four1,2326/1/06
NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern Conference Finals:
Sabres-Hurricanes Game Seven1,127
ON THE RISE: MEDIALIFE MAGAZINE's Toni Fitzgerald writes of NHL playoffs ratings on NBC and Versus being on the upswing, "There are a number of reasons, not the least of which is the presence of several of the league's most dynamic young talents in these playoffs," including Penguins C Sidney Crosby and Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin. The playoffs also "have featured the revival of some lovable losers, always a theme for TV viewers" (MEDIALIFEMAGAZINE.com, 5/14).
WILD NIGHTS: The Wild averaged an 8.2 HH rating on FSN North for three telecasts of the team's first-round playoff series against the Avalanche. Wild-Avalanche Game Six earned a 9.2 HH rating, making it the highest-rated game on FSN North this season and the ninth-highest-rated show in the net's history. For 48 regular-season telecasts, the FSN North averaged a 2.87 HH rating (Wild).
Washington Post columnist Tony Kornheiser this morning on his radio show said that "he signed the papers" last night to take a buyout from the newspaper, according to Dan Steinberg of the WASHINGTON POST. Kornheiser said that he "still might contract with The Post to do his Talking Points videos and his Page 2 excerpts, and he said some people in the leadership asked him to stay but didn't really insist." Kornheiser has seven days to reconsider his decision, but he said, "I'll have somebody kidnap me and tie me down so I don't change my mind." Kornheiser will still appear on ESPN as an analyst for "MNF" and a co-host on "PTI" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 5/14).
Some Question Whether Acquisition By Cablevision
Will Change Newsday's Coverage Of Dolan
IF YOU CAN'T BEAT 'EM ... : HUFFINGTONPOST.com's Marvin Kitman, a former Newsday columnist, wrote perhaps the "most important reason for buying Newsday is to get the paper to stop all the criticism on the sports pages about the way [Dolan] has been running the Knicks into the ground. Not to mention the Rangers and [MSG]." With the acquisition of Newsday, there is "one less newspaper to harp on all the mistakes Jim Dolan has made in mismanagement, misfeasance and malfeasance in running the New York market's beloved franchises" (HUFFINGTONPOST.com, 5/13).
Discussion about Spygate and the Boston Herald’s apology has ruled the blogging world over the last 24 hours. Rounding out the Top Five topics are the latest on the O.J. Mayo scandal; Annika Sorenstam declaring she will retire at the end of the season; the Pistons eliminating the Magic from the playoffs despite Magic G Jameer Nelson’s Game Five guarantee and ESPN's Erin Andrews' interview in which she discussed her popularity with bloggers. Visit www.sportsmediachallenge.com for more info or see chart below.