Shaquille O'Neal announced his retirement from the NBA yesterday, and USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes ABC/ESPN needs to "give him whatever he wants" to join its NBA pregame show. The current crew of Stuart Scott, Jon Barry, Michael Wilbon and Magic Johnson "might have the least sizzle of any studio TV team assigned to a major event," and O'Neal could "turn that around." TNT's "Inside the NBA" would "seem to have a big advantage in landing O'Neal," as he and TNT's Charles Barkley are "good friends." Also, TNT's show is "one of the few sports shows that is entertaining enough to get noticed outside of sports." Hiestand: "Which is all the more reason Disney shouldn't let O'Neal get away, even if it means giving him all kinds of roles outside of sports" (USA TODAY, 6/2). NBA TV's Dennis Scott said, "Shaquille O'Neal will be sitting next to us one day. It's a no brainer." Barkley said, "Shaquille's going to get a TV job because he's got that type of personality" ("Game Time," NBA TV, 6/1).
FLIPPING POSITIONS: Time Warner Cable President, Chair & CEO Glenn Britt indicated that broadband has "taken pay TV's spot as the industry's basic service." Britt said, "It has become our primary product. People are telling us that if they were down to their last dollar, they would drop broadband last." When asked about retransmission fees, Britt said, "We are not ... saying we shouldn't pay. We shouldn't have public fights about it" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 6/2).
WELCOME ABOARD: Rogers Sportsnet has hired former Globe & Mail columnist Michael Grange for both Sportsnet.ca and Sportsnet Radio The Fan 590. Grange will write for the website and continue as a guest and rotating host on several Sportsnet Radio programs (Rogers Sportsnet).