SBD/May 23, 2014/Media

ESPN's Skipper Hits Back At PBS Producer Over "League Of Denial" Comments

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ESPN President John Skipper hit back at a PBS producer who accused the sports network of abandoning the "League of Denial" documentary. While accepting a Peabody award for "Frontline" earlier this week, producer Michael Kirk said, "ESPN abandoned us. ... No other network would have done that." Skipper addressed those comments during a media Q&A in Bristol Thursday: "I don't know why you would waste your moment of glory whining. I'm not sure what purpose is served by that. I didn't appreciate it. They wouldn't have been able to do it without us." Skipper said ESPN did not seek to change the film: "We fulfilled everything we suggested we would do. We took our name off of it because we didn't control it. I don't love that episode." Skipper pointed out that ESPN also won a Peabody for its coverage of NFL concussions on "Outside the Lines." Skipper: "I'm sorry they feel abandoned. We had the Fainaru brothers on our air to talk about the book and the series."

OTHER TOPICS: Skipper said of discussions he has held with NBC about allowing Dan Patrick to host "SportsCenter" with Keith Olbermann: "It's a nascent plan. ... We do not have any agreements. We do not have anything to announce. I don't have a quid pro quo deal with NBC. Dan hasn't expressed any interest in coming back." Skipper, on SEC Network negotiations with DirecTV: "We're in the ordinary course of our discussions with DirecTV. We believe we have outstanding prospects for getting an SEC Network deal done with DirecTV prior to launch."
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