SBD/February 21, 2014/Media

People & Personalities: Red Sox' Werner Says Jenny Dell Is Free To Leave NESN

Werner and NESN felt it would be a distraction to keep Dell on the Red Sox beat
Red Sox Chair Tom Werner on Thursday said that NESN reporter Jenny Dell, who was "removed as the in-game reporter in late January, is free to leave" the RSN. In Boston, Chad Finn noted Dell has "spent two years at NESN and has a year remaining on her contract after the network picked up her option." NESN execs "haven't commented on the specifics of why she was removed from the Red Sox broadcast," but the "public perception is that they made the change because of the ethical questions raised" by her dating Red Sox 3B Will Middlebrooks. Sources believe at least "part of the reason she was moved is as a penance for considering leaving -- Fox Sports 1 expressed interest in hiring her, but that fell through -- with time remaining on her contract" (BOSTON.com, 2/20). Werner said, "I think we came to the conclusion, and Jenny came to the same conclusion, that it would be a distraction for her to be a reporter, and so she’s moving on" (BOSTONHERALD.com, 2/20). 

SPRING CLEANING: In Albany, Pete Dougherty writes CBS performed some "much-needed renovation on 'The NFL Today' panel" by hiring Tony Gonzalez and parting ways with Dan Marino and Shannon Sharpe. The show had "become stale and lags behind 'Fox NFL Sunday' in the ratings, although Sharpe is the only analyst who lent personality to the set" (Albany TIMES UNION, 2/21). In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley wrote Marino was the "biggest name and weakest link on that show for some years." Fans "never went into Marino’s hour expecting him to make even a single observation worth repeating and he always came through for you." Even when "talking about his former team ... he was reliably uninteresting" (JSONLINE.com, 2/20).

AROUND THE TRACK: In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin wrote of ESPN IndyCar analysts Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever, "I think sometimes they feel the need to over-explain things, which bogs down the delivery. They need to let things rip because most of the audience is in tune to the sport." Meanwhile, NBCSN's Leigh Diffey "certainly brings excitement, but the key to that broadcast booth is Townsend Bell." Cavin: "I've known him for years, but he's been even better than I expected him to be." Expect new ESPN IndyCar analyst Allen Bestwick to be a "smooth and professional addition" (INDYSTAR.com, 2/20).

STONE COLD: Chicago-based media reporter Robert Feder notes White Sox analyst Steve Stone has agreed to return to WSCR-AM “as its resident baseball expert.” WSCR Program Dir Mitch Rosen said that Stone starting March 10 “is expected to appear several times each week on all of the Score’s prime shows and occasionally on weekends.” Stone “had been a fixture” on WSCR for more than seven years before he “signed on last year” with WLS-AM as its baseball correspondent (ROBERTFEDER.com, 2/21).

LET ME BE FRANK: FS1 on Thursday announced the addition of research firm Luntz Global CEO Frank Luntz as an exclusive sports communication analyst. Luntz will primarily appear on "Fox Sports Live" -- either in-studio or remotely. Luntz will host a segment called "Sound Off," which has taped focus-group discussions featuring audience members that cover a range of sports topics (Fox). Sports Media Watch's Paulsen tweeted, "Because nothing says fun like a Frank Luntz focus group. Get that weak cable news garbage out of here, Fox Sports 1." Awful Announcing's Ben Koo: "Fox sees ESPN's hiring of Silver and Olbermann and jumps the shark with Frank Luntz who I'm sure sports fans were just clamoring for."
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