SBJ/February 5 - 11, 2007/This Weeks News

Dew Tour to rely on athletes in the TV booth

NBC’s coverage of the Dew Action Sports Tour will sound very different this year.

As part of a change in direction, the network has decided not to renew the contracts of longtime action sports co-hosts Pat Parnell and Kenan Harkin. They will be replaced by current or recently retired athletes who participated within each discipline of BMX, freestyle motocross or skateboarding.

“It was a really hard call for us to make, but moving forward, we wanted a different model,” said Kevin Monaghan, vice president of business development for NBC.

The tour is expected to announce replacement commentators this week during a sponsor summit in Las Vegas. BMX rider Jamie Bestwick and freestyle motocross rider Carey Hart are among those being considered, according to sources.

Using athletes to comment on action sports has not always been successful. ESPN tried it in the past for the X Games but has settled on more-experienced TV analysts after athletes struggled to effectively explain competitions. Monaghan doesn’t anticipate that being a problem, as many of the athletes being considered have already spent time on the air.

“We know the way they think and speak,” Monaghan said. “It’s not that big of a risk.”

NBC will air 23 hours and USA Network will provide an additional 10 hours of coverage of the Dew Tour in 2007.

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