SBD/August 31, 2012/Media

People & Personalities: Ryen Russillo To Stay With ESPN After WEEI Inquiry

Russillo's new contract with ESPN includes more travel to cover college football
In Boston, Chad Finn reports Ryen Russillo had “casually spoken to WEEI about a role at the station before reupping for three years with ESPN.” The conversations “never got to the point where there was an offer.” Russillo ended up “getting an excellent deal to remain at ESPN, including his name on ‘The Scott Van Pelt Show,’ more travel to cover college football, and more time on NBA-related programming” (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/31).

CASE OF THE MONDAYS: In Miami, Barry Jackson writes ESPN NFL analyst Jon Gruden in his three years with the net has “demonstrated that he’s a dynamic TV presence.” But Gruden "sometimes fell short last season, his work not necessarily warranting the larger role he inherits” with Ron Jaworski’s “demotion to the studio.” Gruden “struck a somewhat better balance last season but didn’t progress from being a decent analyst to an excellent one because of other shortcomings.” Gruden “loves to predict play calls, but he was wrong more often than right in 2011.” Still, it is possible Gruden will “thrive with the increased freedom of a two-man booth” on “MNF.” His analysis on this year’s NFL Draft “was very good -- concise, cogent and critical when appropriate.” Hopefully that will "translate to the booth, and Gruden will validate ESPN’s faith in him” (MIAMI HERALD, 8/31).

L.A. STORY: In L.A., Tom Hoffarth writes Time Warner Cable SportsNet's pending hire of Chris ‘Geeter’ McGee "as a studio host on its to-be-launched channel is separate from other reports that Heidi Watney will not be sticking around to be the Lakers' sideline reporter for the new cable channel.” Sources said that Watney “had not been approved by the Lakers for the TWCSN gig.” The team “wants its own employee, Mike Trudell, to continue as a sideliner as he did on the KCAL-Channel 9 coverage” (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 8/31).

DIAL CHANGE: The MIAMI HERALD’s Jackson reported Jorge Sedano, who left ESPN Radio WAXY-AM's morning show in April, on Thursday “agreed to become WQAM’s new afternoon host (3 to 7 p.m.) and the station's program director, beginning Tuesday.” Meanwhile, Sun Sports Thursday named Sedano its Heat pre- and postgame host for road games, "allowing Jason Jackson to report from the arena.” Sedano also “will remain a part-time fill-in sports anchor” for WBSF-CBS (MIAMIHERALD.com, 8/30).

NOTES: In Oklahoma City, Mel Bracht noted Miss Florida Laura McKeeman “will be part of FSN's broadcast crew” for the Oklahoma-UTEP game at 9:30pm CT Saturday. McKeeman is currently a reporter and analyst for “Rays Live” pre-game and post-game shows on Sun Sports. She also “covers football recruiting for several websites” (NEWSOK.com, 8/30)….Former NFLer Matt Chatham, who won three Super Bowl titles with the Patriots, is "joining the Boston Herald’s NFL coverage team this season.” Chatham "will be writing twice weekly for the Herald” (BOSTON HERALD, 8/31)….In Montreal, Randy Phillips announced his retirement and writes it is “the end of more than 36 years of writing full time for The Gazette.” Phillips: "Friday marks my last day at this grand old newspaper and I thank sports editor Stu Cowan” (Montreal GAZETTE, 8/31).
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