SBD/November 8, 2013/Media

People & Personalities: Rich Eisen Earns Praise For Presiding Over NFL Network

Eisen likes to drop some of his favorite movie lines into broadcasts
In L.A., Joe Flint wrote NFL Network host Rich Eisen's "just-right combination of quick wit, everyman appearance and encyclopedic knowledge of the game has won him the respect of coaches and players, and made him a fan favorite." Eisen is on air "close to 10 hours a week" and "often plays the role of ringmaster with analysts Deion Sanders, Michael Irvin and Steve Mariucci, all of whom have loud personas and could easily overwhelm a less-savvy host." Eisen is "not afraid to jump in the fray, yet knows when it's best to sit back and enjoy the fireworks." He also is a "pop-culture aficionado and loves dropping lines" from favorite movies into his broadcasts. Eisen "commands the set in a style" NBC's Dan Patrick "says is akin to a late-night host" (L.A. TIMES, 11/7).

SEARCH FOR TOMORROW
: SPORTS ON EARTH's Will Leitch wrote in Fox' search to replace Tim McCarver, TBS' John Smoltz and SI's Tom Verducci "are from the Troy Aikman school of safe platitudes, establishment picks who won't rattle any cages and, for my money, won't provide much real insight." Harold Reynolds is the "universally accepted favorite for the job," but Leitch wrote, "I'm not sure he's the right pick either." Reynolds is "pretty much the definition of an establishment choice." He is "safe and easy and palatable, which means he might very well disappear on air." Leitch: "I'd love to see a crazy choice: Pedro Martinez." He was "fantastic during TBS's playoff coverage, candid and honest in a way" that TNT's Charles Barkley is for the NBA (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 11/6).

LET'S TALK SOME BALL: In N.Y., Justin Terranova writes Sage Steele, the new host of ESPN's "NBA Countdown" pregame show, "likes the conversational format" TNT's "Inside The NBA" has "mastered and hopes her show will have that ... but with an added element." Steele said, "We have the coach's perspective from Doug Collins, the player's perspective from Jalen [Rose] ... and then Bill [Simmons] as the ultimate fan. I think it's going to be really, really fun for me to try and get all those perspectives out of those guys." Terranova noted Steele has been a "SportsCenter" anchor since '07 and was "sad to say goodbye to the network's flagship program." However, she is "relishing the opportunity to focus on one sport" (NYPOST.com, 11/8).

AN HONOR TO REMEMBER: In L.A., Tom Hoffarth reports Dodgers radio announcer Charley Steiner will be "honored by the National Radio Hall of Fame on Saturday" at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago. Steiner, who worked with the Yankees and ESPN in addition to several radio outlets before joining the Dodgers in '05, said, "I'm blown away by this." He added his radio career has been a "wonderful journey and has led me to the place I always wanted to be -- with the Dodgers." Steiner will be the 16th sportscaster inducted into the HOF (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 11/8).

GO TO THE GENERAL: In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley reports Bob Knight "will be an analyst on Thursday night Southeastern Conference telecasts on ESPN and work with Rece Davis." The move comes after The Big Lead in February reported Knight likely was finished at the net. Knight joined ESPN in '08 and "had a prominent role on the network's package of game telecasts and studio shows." Meanwhile, Bruce Pearl "returns for a second season on ESPN as a studio analyst" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL, 11/8).

JUMPING THROUGH HOOPS: In Hartford, John Altavilla reported Eric Frede has been hired as the "play-by-play announcer for all SNY-produced" UConn women's basketball games. Frede replaces Andrew Catalon, who is "now working with CBS Sports Network." Frede has "served as a play-by-play announcer for Big East women's and men's basketball" in addition to ACC, Big Ten and Atlantic 10 games. Meghan Culmo and Kara Wolters "will return to their respective analyst roles," and Kerith Burke "will again be the in-game reporter" (COURANT.com, 11/7)....Boston College men's basketball announcer Jon Meterparel "will be joined by a new color analyst" for Friday's season opener against Providence. Former BC player Danya Abrams "takes over for his former teammate, Malcolm Huckaby, who is calling Horizon and Sun Belt games for ESPN" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/8)....Former Univ. of Arizona basketball player Corey Williams will be an ESPNU analyst for Sunday night Pac-12 games this season (AZSTARNET.com, 11/6).

JERSEY SCORE: NJ.com yesterday announced the addition of four new sports reporters to its staff who will focus on the Giants, Yankees and Rutgers Univ. Jordan Raanan has begun on the website's Giants beat after eight years covering the Eagles. Dan Duggan will cover Rutgers football and men's basketball after six years at the Boston Herald. A.J. Perez will join Raanan in covering the Giants after covering the NFL for Fox Sports. Brendan Kuty will move next week from NJ.com's Morris County beat to the Yankees (NJ.com, 11/7).
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