SBD/Issue 19/Sports Media

TBS Starts Playoffs With Praise For Coverage Of Halladay's No-No

TBS Praised For Coverage
Of Halladay's No-Hitter

TBS gave viewers of the Reds-Phillies NLDS Game One a "great front-row seat" for Phillies P Roy Halladay's no-hitter last night, according to John Keisewetter of the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER. The net used 19 cameras and 14 replay machines to show how Halladay "baffled batters by mixing speeds and locations," joining Don Larsen as the only pitchers to throw a no-hitter or perfect game in the postseason. Announcer Brian Anderson and analyst Joe Simpson during the second half of the game "put Halladay's performance in perspective." They also were "smart enough to say nothing after" the last out of the game, allowing viewers to "hear the crowd roar for about two minutes while Halladay was mobbed by his teammates and fireworks exploded overhead." Keisewetter: "It made you feel like you were there" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 10/7). Anderson said calling the no-hitter was the "greatest moment" of his career. MLB.com's Ed Eagle noted Anderson did break "one of the unwritten baseball broadcasting rules" by telling viewers "that Halladay had a no-hitter going."  However, his "primary concern was making sure that people who were tuning in wouldn't skip past the game, unaware that they might soon see something legendary unfold." Anderson: "I don't do jinxes. ... You have to mention a no-hitter" (MLB.com, 10/6).

NO FIRST-GAME JITTERS: In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes under the header, "TBS Broadcast Team Of Ernie Johnson, John Smoltz, Ron Darling Have A Rapport During Yankees Game 1." The telecast of Yankees-Twins was "not spectacular, not even close," but Johnson, Smoltz and Darling "left plenty of reasons to return and check them out" during Game Two tonight. Smoltz "dominated the booth," while Darling "countered well," while Johnson was an "upgrade" over former TBS MLB announcer Chip Caray. Raissman writes it "wasn't all smooth sailing," but "on balance, Johnson had a good night. He was a good setup man for Smoltz and Darling" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/7). SI’s Richard Deitsch wrote on his Twitter feed, “EJ might need to bring up the energy level but no comparison with Chip. Far better.” However, Johnson received some grief for a call during the top of the seventh inning. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann wrote, “Did Ernie Johnson really just say ‘this game is tied’ precisely as the Yankees' LEAD run crossed the plate.” “Late Show” writer Eric Stangel: “Was Ernie Johnson checking his blackberry for that 2-run Granderson triple? He didn't seem to know it was a lead changer.” Broadcasting & Cable’s Ben Grossman: “Not sure people tweet positives about sports announcers, but put the words ‘Ernie Johnson’ into Twitter search at 10 pm PT and it was ugly.” Meanwhile, SportsBusiness Journal’s Eric Fisher wrote, “Hey Ron Darling, you've come a huge way in 5 yrs but nobody under 35 understood your comparing the Tex HR to a Reggie Roby punt. Ridiculous.”

PRIMETIME WORTHY? Yesterday's Reds-Phillies game began at 5:07pm ET, and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said of the start time, "The Philadelphia Phillies have the best record in major league baseball. It seems to me they should be in prime time." MLB VP/Business PR Matt Bourne said that the schedule "was set to allow fans around the country to 'see the most baseball possible'" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 10/7).

COCO B. WARE: TBS has used the MLB Playoffs as a platform to promote several of its upcoming shows since it gained postseason rights. The net made sure viewers were aware of the launch of "Frank TV" by highly promoting it in '07, while it highlighted "Lopez Tonight," TBS' first venture into late-night talk shows, last year. It appears "Conan," the talk show starring former NBC host Conan O'Brien that debuts next month, will be the program receiving the most promotion this year from the net. O'Brien's show was featured in 18 total promotions yesterday during TBS' MLB coverage -- 10 commercials, five on-screen mentions during play (including two shots of TBS' "Conan" blimp during Reds-Phillies) and a half-inning of signage behind home plate during each game (Joe Burger, THE DAILY).

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