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The NCAA men’s basketball tournament averaged a 5.6 fast-national Nielsen rating across CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV for the second- and third-round games (Thursday-Sunday), flat compared to last year and up from a 4.8 rating in ’10, when CBS was the only net airing the tournament. Among games on cable TV, Kansas-Purdue on Sunday night has led all telecasts thus far with a 2.7 rating and 4.4 million viewers. The game ranked sixth among all cable TV telecasts last week. No other NCAA men’s tournament game ranked among cable TV’s 40 most-viewed telecasts last week (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
FAMILY TIME: In N.Y., Bob Raissman notes college basketball analyst Clark Kellogg will not be assigned to call the games in the region in which his son's Ohio Univ. team is playing. Raissman writes CBS’ message "is clear: Working a game is more important than being with your son in what will be one of the most memorable moments of his life." Kellogg has "made it easy for CBS." When asked about the situation, he has said that it was "not a big deal that he wasn’t assigned to call the games in the region his son played, or is about to play in." Raissman: "That's not our point. Kellogg should just go to the game and watch it from the seats." All CBS Sports Chair Sean McManus "has to do -- what he should do -- is pick up the telephone, call Kellogg and say: 'Clark take Friday night off and go watch your son play. I’m not asking you to do this, I’m telling you to go. Moments like this for you and your family won’t come around that often.'" Giving Kellogg Friday night off is the "right thing to do." It is "not like CBS would have to scramble to find an analyst to replace him." Raissman: "Remember, CBS/Turner are using what seems like a cast of thousands to work this tournament. This just in: The absence of Kellogg also won’t cost CBS a single rating point during the Kentucky-Indiana telecast" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/20).
HOLDING A GRUDGE: USA TODAY's Nicole Auerbach noted on Saturday, ESPN analyst Bob Knight "refused to say 'Kentucky' on air." When asked which No. 1 seed should be on upset alert, Knight referred to UK as the "team from the SEC" (USA TODAY, 3/18). AWFUL ANNOUNCING's Matt Yoder asked, "Does it speak well for ESPN and Bob Knight when he won't utter the name of the school that is the odds on favorite to win the NCAA Tournament?" Knight's "grudge against Kentucky and John Calipari is well documented," but when Knight "goes on television and airs this grudge against the top team in the country it hurts himself, ESPN, and college basketball" (AWFULANNOUNCING.com, 3/19). SI's Richard Deitsch wrote on Twitter, "This is about Bob Knight dictating what Bob Knight does as an analyst, something he's done on his ESPN Radio Mike and Mike segments and beyond. ... So Knight doesn't like Calipari. Fine. Man up, tell the audience why, and then do the job you are paid to do as a professional broadcaster. Stop insulting me as a viewer with this petulant act."
Fox Sports Net yesterday announced it will produce over 100 games in Spanish this year featuring the Angels, Dodgers and Clippers. The broadcasts will include Spanish-language play-by-play, graphics and player interviews. All video providers in the L.A. market will have the opportunity to offer the games to their customers. The total number of Spanish-language telecasts will grow to more than 150 next year and will continue to grow in subsequent seasons (Fox Sports). SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's John Ourand notes Fox Sports is "negotiating with local cable operators to carry those Spanish-language games on a basic tier." FSN Exec VP Jeff Krolik said that move is "not a response to Time Warner's pending network launch." Krolik: "We've been doing Spanish-language games for two years. We're not in the business of reacting to anyone else." FSN "wouldn't charge more for the programming." Sources said that it appears TWC and Cox are "likely to carry it" in L.A. (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/19 issue). FSN said that the Spanish-language broadcasts would "complement existing cable sports network Fox Deportes," as well as local English-language nets FS West and FS Prime Ticket (VARIETY.com, 3/19).
Canada-based OMNI Television said that it would "broadcast its first full basketball game this Friday in Mandarin when the Raptors play the Knicks," according to Ashante Infantry of the TORONTO STAR. Sports coverage is "nothing new to the multilingual broadcaster which is an official broadcast partner of the London 2012 Olympic Games, but this is the first time it has offered play-by-play coverage of an NBA game in any language." Former Chinese national basketball team player and bilingual basketball commentator Weiping Zhang will call the game. OMNI National VP Madeline Zinak said that the initiative is the "evolution of ongoing collaborations with Raptors owners Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment who are always 'trying to garner enthusiasm in ethnocultural communities for their sports franchises'" (TORONTO STAR, 3/20). The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Etan Vlessing noted Canada in "recent decades has enjoyed a steady stream of Chinese immigrants, leading to advertisers targeting growing Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking TV audiences in Toronto and Vancouver" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 3/19).
The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences today announced the nominees for this year’s Sports Emmy Awards to be given on April 30 at the Time Warner Center in N.Y. The ESPN family of networks lead the way with 55 total nominations, while the NBC Sports Group garnered 32, CBS entries received 26 nominations and Turner Sports networks have 22. ESPN garnered 36 nominations to lead all individual networks, with NBC gaining 22 nominations and HBO receiving 19. The NATAS will give its Lifetime Achievement Award for Sports to commentator/essayist Jack Whitaker (NATAS). The following are the nominees for best studio host and analysts, best game play-by-play announcer and analyst, and best weekly and daily studio show.
BEST STUDIO HOST
James Brown CBS/Showtime Bob Costas NBC/MLB Network Bryant Gumbel HBO Ernie Johnson TNT/NBA TV Dan Patrick NBC/DirecTVBEST PLAY-BY-PLAY Marv Albert CBS/TBS/TNT Joe Buck Fox Mike Emrick NBC/Versus Al Michaels NBC Jim Nantz CBSBEST STUDIO ANALYST Charles Barkley CBS/NBA TV/TNT Skip Bayless ESPN2 Cris Collinsworth Showtime Trent Dilfer ESPN Kirk Herbstreit ESPN Al Leiter MLB Network Harold Reynolds MLB NetworkBEST SPORTS EVENT ANALYST Cris Collinsworth NBC Gary Danielson CBS Jon Gruden ESPN Jim Kaat MLB Network Mike Maycock NFL NetworkBEST WEEKLY STUDIO SHOW "College GameDay" ESPN "Football Night in America" NBC "Inside the NBA on TNT" TNT "Inside the NFL" Showtime (CBS Sports) "Sunday NFL Countdown" ESPNBEST DAILY STUDIO SHOW "Inside the NBA on TNT" (Playoffs) TNT "MLB Tonight" MLB Network "NASCAR Now" ESPN "Pardon the Interruption" ESPN (Rydholm Projects) "SportsCenter" ESPN "SportsNation" ESPN2
TWITTER REAX: The nominees were being discussed on Twitter this morning. CBS' Tim Brando wrote, "Proud of my colleagues at Raycom Sports. For the 3rd time in 4yrs. Football Saturdays in the South captured an Emmy Award. Happy to Host it!" ESPN's Ryan McGee wrote, "Congrats to all my friends across the biz for their Sports Emmy noms. And how about that #NASCAR Now?!" Blogger John Daly wrote, "So, @dpshow not nominated for outstanding daily studio show Sports Emmy..but Sports Nation is! #cutefactor."
Peyton Manning's decision to sign with the Broncos dominated ESPN's broadcasts yesterday, while some of the network news shows noted the transaction as well. The 6:00pm ET edition of “SportsCenter” yesterday led with Manning, including commentary from Adam Schefter and reports from Josina Anderson in Denver outside the Broncos facility, Bob Holtzman in Nashville at the Titans facility and Colleen Dominguez in S.F. at the 49ers facility. The first non-Manning-related topic, approximately 23 minutes into the broadcast, was an injury update on North Carolina G Kendall Marshall. Later in the broadcast, Steve Young, Bill Polian and Broncos G Zane Beadles appeared separately to discuss Manning. The broadcast also aired the “Top Ten Peyton Manning Moments.” Manning was also the top subject on "PTI," "Around The Horn" and "Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable." “NFL Live” dedicated its entire hour to Manning, the future of current Broncos QB Tim Tebow, the future plans of other teams that were pursuing Manning and other player moves by the Broncos. The final 10 minutes of ABC’s “World News” and CBS’ “Evening News” last night both touched on whether Tebow will be out of a job with the Broncos signing Manning; ABC airing a 26-second report, while CBS broadcast a 21-second update. This morning’s edition of ABC’s “GMA” reported on Manning approximately 15 minutes into the broadcast with a short news brief, while “CBS This Morning” featured a 3:25 report with CBS’ Armen Keteyian live in-studio. Neither last night’s “Nightly News” nor this morning’s edition of “Today” on NBC mentioned the Manning deal (Paul Sanford, THE DAILY).
EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT: The Manning news also graced the front page of several morning newspapers today. The Denver Post runs a story that takes up the majority of the front page under the header, "Changing Horses." Several other Colorado newspapers -- including those in Colorado Springs, Boulder and Grand Junction -- feature Manning on the cover. The INDIANAPOLIS STAR features a cartoon caricature of Manning in a Broncos jersey under the header, "Bucking For A Super Bowl." USA TODAY features an action shot of Manning surrounded by several stats (THE DAILY).
In the latest entry for ESPN as part of the Poynter Review Project, Jason Fry discussed Grantland's decision to edit a podcast with Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban and cut one of Cuban's remarks. Earlier this month, Cuban "made an anti-gay joke at the expense of Grantland’s Bill Simmons while the two were onstage in front of a large audience" at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston. The remark was later "excised from a podcast recorded during the event." Fry writes he is "persuaded that Grantland wasn’t trying to protect an NBA owner by making a sophomoric joke disappear," nor does he "think the edit violated ESPN’s standards." Cuban’s remark -- "for which he apologized -- was unfortunate, and left ESPN facing criticism no matter what it did." Simmons wrote in an e-mail, "I’ve known Mark for five or six years and this is either the third or fourth year we've done something at Sloan together. He loves busting balls and I obviously do as well. We like each other. Those panels are pretty tame so we're always trying to liven them up." Things took an "unfortunate turn, however, when Simmons said he liked the Kiss Cam in arenas." Cuban responded by saying that "Simmons and his 'boyfriend' are frequently featured on the big screen." He then hastily added, "Or his girlfriend, this is gender-independent commentary." Simmons "ignored that, pushing ahead to another question about the Mavericks’ arena." Simmons said that after the interview, he and Grantland writer/editor David Jacoby, who was "producing the B.S. Report podcast, discussed what Cuban had said." Simmons: "There was never a question it was coming out. It took us about 0.02 seconds to decide." Simmons explained, "From our standpoint, had we left that joke in the podcast, we would have been condoning it. ... We certainly weren't trying to hide the joke or protect Cuban -- there were 2,000 people there, including a few of my bosses, and 50 to 75 bloggers and writers." Bleeped profanity aside, Simmons said that that was the "only edit to the Cuban podcast he recalled." But he added that "such edits aren’t unknown with the B.S. Report, and that the decisions about what to cut are his." Questions about why Grantland edited the remark are "reasonable, but ESPN would also have been pilloried if it had left Cuban's remark in" (ESPN.com, 3/20).