SBD/August 15, 2014/Media

SEC Network Debuts With Three-Hour Version Of "SEC Now," Few Technical Glitches

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The SEC Network debuted Thursday night with a three-hour edition of "SEC Now," the channel's signature studio show, followed by a one-hour special titled, "SEC Storied: The Stars Are Aligned." The net came on the air at 6:00pm ET with a taped introduction from Brent Musburger discussing the accolades and accomplishments of the SEC. Musburger said, "Tonight, we start a new chapter in that history: A place to watch the games, a place to celebrate excellence. This is the SEC Network." After Musburger's opening intro, taped testimonials from former SEC athletes were aired discussing the conference's power and influence (THE DAILY). In Alabama, Joe Medley reviews "SEC Now" and writes the show has the "feel of the NFL Network's studio show, with TV personalities and former players in studio and field correspondents conducting interviews at all 14 league schools." Dari Nowkhah and Maria Taylor "ably anchored" alongside analysts Greg McElroy and Booger McFarland. McElroy and McFarland "made SEC Now happen with sharp analysis but seemingly scripted disagreement." Marcus Spears interviewed Alabama coach Nick Saban after greeting him "with an awkward bro hug in Saban's office." Spears, who played for Saban at LSU, "asked relevant questions ... but the two spent too much time in their brief interview reminiscing" (ANNISTON STAR, 8/15). AL.com's Creg Stephenson is live-blogging the net's opening 24 hours and noted the first highlights shown were from a UAB-Vanderbilt women's soccer game. The "first glitch" on "SEC Now" occurred at 6:30pm when the sound dropped from a live segment at South Carolina. Audio problems continued from Columbia 10 minutes later, when a producer can be heard telling reporter Shannon Spake, "You're good to go." Spake "gives him the 'shut up' hand swipe" (AL.com, 8/14). Tampa-based WHFS-FM's Marc Ryan: "First impression of the @SECNetwork last night: A - incredibly impressive debut. Like Tivo, we'll be saying 'How'd we ever survive w/o it?'"

IT'S TEBOW TIME: In Jacksonville, Don Coble notes SEC Net's Joe Tessitore and Tim Tebow broadcast live from Gainesville for the channel's debut, but "consistent lightning and intermittent showers" forced them to relocate from in front of Florida Field to the school's indoor football complex. Tebow "clearly didn't possess the polish of a professional television front man," but whether "by design or coincidence, it still worked." However, Tebow "constantly said 'we' when talking about the Gators" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 8/15). In Florida, David Jones notes Tebow talked to current UF QB Jeff Driskel and "added a 'God bless you' at the end of the interview, one of his trade mark comments as a player." Tebow turned 27 on Thursday and was "presented a birthday cake by Albert, the team's mascot" live on air (FLORIDA TODAY, 8/15).
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