SBD/January 25, 2011/People and Pop Culture

Names In The News

NBC Sports & Olympics Chair DICK EBERSOL has been awarded the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award, named for the late NBC President. Tartikoff in '89 "convinced network brass to bring Ebersol, who had become an independent producer, back to NBC to run the sports division, where he made an indelible mark." CBS News and Sports President SEAN MCMANUS said that it was "obvious early on that Ebersol was 'ambitious, very sharp and was going to have a major impact on whatever industry he chose to enter.'" NHL Commissioner GARY BETTMAN said of Ebersol, "He's very good at knowing the nuances and how best to tell the story. That's the unique touch that he has." BROADCASTING & CABLE's Jon Lafayette writes with Comcast making Ebersol Chair of the NBC Sports Group, there is "still plenty to look forward to from what he calls 'the best seat in the house, both literally and figuratively' in the world of unscripted drama" (BROADCASTING & CABLE, 1/24 issue).

Buzz McClain profiles Base Productions' Brenkus (l)
: In DC, Buzz McClain profiled JOHN BRENKUS, the co-Owner of the "Sport Science" series that currently airs on ESPN. "Sport Science" has drawn "hundreds of thousands" of viewers on YouTube, and in three years the series "has won three Sports Emmy Awards." In December, ESPN "signed a new, multi-year deal with the program and began running promotional spots showing Brenkus clowning around with the familiar ESPN cast of anchors and analysts." Brenkus and his business partner, MICKEY STERN, are co-CEOs of BASE Productions, and they have "more than 10 programs in play at any given time" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/23).

ON THEIR OWN: In Phoenix, Craig Harris reports the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl "no longer is relying on paid consultants to lobby politicians." The bowl, "which spent $1.6 million on lobbyists during the past decade to help at the Arizona Legislature, ended its relationship with two high-profile firms, Husk Partners and HighGround, on Jan. 13." Records show "no other lobbyists have been hired" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 1/25).

HONOR ROLL: The National Motorsports Press Association presented several awards over the weekend. Longtime PR rep DENNY DARNELL won the Ken Patterson Helping Others Award, Ford Racing Media Relations Manager DAN ZACHARIAS won the Joe Littlejohn Award for outstanding service to the NMPA and late NASCAR VP/Corporate Communications JIM HUNTER was awarded the Speedway Motorsports Spirit Award (, 1/24)....ESPN has received two nominations for the GLAAD Media Awards. "OUTSIDE THE LINES" was nominated in the category for Outstanding TV Journalism (Newsmagazine) for "Katie Miller: Don't Ask, Don't Tell." The feature told the story of KATIE MILLER, who "left West Point last August because of the military's policy on homosexuality." ESPN also was nominated for an article by LZ GRANDERSON about U.S. figure skater JOHNNY WEIR (ESPN).

NAMES: Former USC RB STAFON JOHNSON yesterday filed a personal-injury lawsuit in L.A. Superior Court alleging that a USC strength and conditioning coach "negligently caused a weightlifting bar carrying 275 pounds to fall" on Johnson's neck. Johnson is seeking "unspecified damages" from USC and then-USC coach JAMIE YANCHAR (L.A. TIMES, 1/25)....Burton Snowboards was "thrown out of a ski-resort property" in Park City, Utah, during the ongoing Sundance Film Festival. Burton "had rented a five-bedroom home ... to host a VIP lounge," but the owners "weren't happy that a party was planned for Saturday night" (N.Y. POST, 1/25)....Jets QB MARK SANCHEZ and WR BRAYLON EDWARDS after Sunday's loss to the Steelers in the AFC Championship game "partied until early Monday at a New York club where they spent more than $2,500" (N.Y. POST, 1/25).
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