SBD/Issue 234/Sports Media

People & Personalities: Collinsworth Set To Step Into "SNF" Booth

NBC Reportedly Always Planned To
Put Collinsworth (r) On "SNF"
SI.com's Richard Deitsch reports NBC execs had "always planned to replace" retired broadcaster John Madden with Cris Collinsworth, who co-hosted the net's "Football Night In America" from '06-08. But the timetable "got moved up dramatically when Madden announced in April that he was leaving NBC's broadcast booth." Deitsch writes Collinsworth and NBC play-by-play announcer Al Michaels "blended well" during the net's August 9 Bills-Titans HOF Game telecast. Collinsworth: "I may never be as good as John Madden, but it doesn't mean I can't do a good job in my own right and that's all I am trying to do." But Deitsch notes "one major difference between Collinsworth and Madden is that Collinsworth will editorialize in the booth far more than his predecessor." Collinsworth: "I offend people. I know that. There are a lot of people who don't like a football analyst on the games doing that. They just want a straight calling the game and there are a lot of places that they can hear that. But that's not what I do" (SI.com, 8/24).

CHANGES FOR THE GOOD: In Buffalo, Alan Pergament wrote ESPN "MNF" analyst Jon Gruden "sounds like he has the potential to be the new generation's version of John Madden." Gruden "has been impressive" during the net's coverage of preseason games, as he is "knowledgeable, enthusiastic, funny and a bit of a teacher" (BUFFALO NEWS, 8/22). Meanwhile, in Denver, Dusty Saunders writes NBC "FNIA" analyst Tony Dungy "could be the most interesting of all the new football 'experts' working for the networks this fall." Dungy "often presents a thoughtful demeanor -- a change from the quick, shoot-from-the-hip style of many former coaches and players" (DENVER POST, 8/24).

GLAD TO BE BACK: In Boston, Adam Kilgore noted NESN Red Sox analyst Jerry Remy, "for the first time since April, when the exhaustion of recovering from an infection owing to complications following his lung cancer surgery forced him from his duties," worked Friday's Yankees-Red Sox game for the net. Remy: "I just want to get back doing what I enjoy doing. That's baseball." Kilgore noted Remy "intends to call every home game that NESN broadcasts." The Red Sox have two road trips remaining, and Remy "will likely not work those games" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/22).

Keegan Signs As ESPN's
Lead Premier League Analyst
LINE CHANGES: The DENVER POST's Saunders reports in what "some believe is a cost-cutting measure," Altitude Sports & Entertainment Avalanche radio play-by-play announcer Norm Jones "is out" and radio analyst Marc Moser will handle play-by-play and color responsibilities. Jones, who has covered hockey in Denver for more than 35 years, is "expected to stay with the Altitude organization in some capacity" (DENVER POST, 8/24). Meanwhiel, the GLOBE & MAIL's Bruce Dowbiggin reported Sirius XM "NHL Home Ice" host Gary Green is "stepping down from full-time hosting" of the show. Green said that his stadium-arena architecture company, BBB Architects, "demands more full-time attention," but added that he will "continue with his NHL Network TV gig and some Home Ice appearances" (GLOBESPORTS.com, 8/23).

COMING ONSIDES: In Manchester, Mark Sweney reports ESPN has signed former English soccer club Newcastle United manager Kevin Keegan as "lead analyst for its Premier League football coverage this season." Keegan will appear alongside studio host Ray Stubbs. ESPN also has signed Russia men's national soccer team coach Guus Hiddink "for an unconfirmed number of Premier League games this season" (GUARDIAN.co.uk, 8/24).

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