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Showtime is "in early talks with producer Mike Tollin to do a docuseries that focuses on" the MLB Giants that would be similar to HBO's "Hard Knocks," according to Lynette Rice of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. Tollin is an "obvious choice to oversee the project, given his previous work" on the ESPN series "Bonds on Bonds," and due to the fact that he has "plenty of sports movies under his belt, too." Rice noted HBO's "Hard Knocks" series featuring the Jets last summer averaged 4.6 million viewers "for each episode" (EW.com, 1/12). In California, Mike Murphy wrote a series featuring the Giants has "tremendous potential." Apart from the "underdog story and general likability of their scrappy players, the Giants have a clubhouse full of walking soundbites," including Ps Brian Wilson and Tim Lincecum and LF Pat Burrell, "who could make for some highly entertaining television" (PRESSDEMOCRAT.com, 1/12).
Rogers Media yesterday announced the rebranding of its sports talk radio stations in Toronto and Calgary, effective immediately. Toronto's The Fan 590 (CJCL-AM) and Calgary's The Fan 960 (CFAC-AM) will be rebranded Sportsnet Radio Fan 590 and Sportsnet Radio Fan 960 (Rogers). The GLOBE & MAIL's Bruce Dowbiggin cited Rogers sources as saying that Sportsnet Radio "will speak to the Rogers brand ... and help with a much-needed integration of the image." Industry insiders "have described Rogers as a silo operation where the various arms of the company -- TV, radio, publications, cable, cell phones -- have traditionally had little co-operation with one another." The "challenge for the new management of Rogers Media under president Keith Pelley is to allow for cross-promotion and co-operation -- long a strong suit of CTV" (GLOBESPORTS.com, 1/12). Rogers Media President of Broadcasting Scott Moore: "We're basically knocking down the walls between the media lines" (TORONTO STAR, 1/13). The move comes as TSN earlier this week announced it was considering starting its own sports radio network to compete with Rogers.
Bleacher Report has created a new system in which it will begin compensating a "limited" number of select writers contributing to the site. Both new and existing writers selected will be paid, with criteria for selection including quality and coverage of top U.S. sports and international teams. The move extends an ongoing push to improve the content quality and editorial standards on Bleacher Report, including the creation last year of a new editorial vetting system. The move follows last month's closing of a $10.5M round of venture capital funding led by new company investor Crosslink Capital.
The NBA on Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday will give international fans the chance to watch more live games and programming than ever. Fans in 100 countries and territories -- twice as many as last year -- will receive up to 13 live games in 11 languages across Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia as part of "Slam Dunk Monday." Fans in Latin America will be able to watch live MLK Day programming for the first time on ESPN International, which will also broadcast to countries in Asia. The NBA will support its broadcast partners by promoting the game telecasts through localized Facebook messaging in many markets (NBA).
EYE ON A RETURN: Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said that the promotion's "return to CBS, which previously aired two Strikeforce cards in 2009 and 2010," is "being preliminarily discussed as a potential piece of the broadcast puzzle." In L.A., Loretta Hunt noted Coker believes the single-elimination heavyweight tournament Strikeforce is holding this year "carries enough cache to revisit a potential run on CBS, which hasn't broadcasted a Strikeforce event since April after the main event erupted into a scuffle involving fighters and cornermen." Strikeforce said that "broadcasting the tournament semifinals on CBS to optimize a pay-per-view finale sounded like 'a great plan,' and would be discussed with Showtime officials this week" (LATIMES.com, 1/10).
WORD GAME: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's David Biderman "looked at every major NFL announcing outfit and counted how many words-per-minute the play-by-play and color men said," and the CBS crew of Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots ranked No. 1. The analysis "studied the first 15 minutes of every game from Week 1." Harlan and Wilcots "amassed 189.2 words per minute," while NBC's Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth, the "preeminent present-day announcer team, were the quietest at 137.33 words per minute" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/13).
BULLISH ON MIKES: USA TODAY's Gary Mihoces reports some PBR riders are "wearing wireless microphones clipped to their protective vests" this season. The microphones "debuted last weekend at the PBR's season-opening event" at MSG, and they will be worn by "selected riders" during this weekend's Sacramento Invitational, which Versus will televise on Saturday and Sunday at 8:00pm ET (USA TODAY, 1/13).