Spero Dedes has agreed to call Knicks games for ESPN Radio 1050 N.Y. after spending the past six seasons as the "radio voice of the Lakers," according to Bob Raissman of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Dedes, who worked for YES Network before landing with the Lakers, will replace Mike Crispino as the Knicks' play-by-play radio announcer. Dedes "became available three weeks ago when the Lakers were on their way to shaking up their TV booth." An MSG Network source said that Dedes "will also work some TV games on MSG" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/22). Lakers PR Dir John Black indicated that Dedes, "who was supposed to move over from Lakers radio play-by-play to replace Joel Meyers on television, decided against taking the job after giving the Lakers a 'verbal agreement.'" Black: "Spero had a change of heart." In L.A., Broderick Turner reports the Lakers subsequently announced that Bill Macdonald and John Ireland "will be the play-by-play announcers for the team" for the '11-12 season. Macdonald will call the games on TV, alongside Stu Lantz, while Ireland will call games on ESPN Radio 710 L.A. alongside Mychal Thompson (L.A. TIMES, 6/22).
CHANGING SIGNALS: Dedes has called NFL and NCAA basketball games for CBS in recent years, and in L.A., Tom Hoffarth reports Dedes and his agent, IMG's Sandy Montag, "had been trying to negotiate a deal with the Lakers for the past two months that would allow Dedes to take some games off for network assignments." However, the Lakers "were not willing to accept those terms" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 6/22). Black in an e-mail said, "We allowed Spero to miss several Lakers games from time to time over the past few years in order to do national events for the NFL and college basketball. However, for our TV play-by-play position, we insist that that person not miss any games because we feel it is important to our fans to have consistency and continuity and to have the same announcer for all games (ESPNLA.com, 6/21).
U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) is asking the USGA "to reconsider its relationship" with NBC following the network's decision "to edit the word 'God' from the Pledge of Allegiance during last weekend's coverage of the U.S. Open," according to Sabrina Eaton of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. In a letter to USGA Exec Dir Mike Davis, Renacci wrote in part, "As an avid fan of the sport and as an American, I would ask that USGA consider reviewing its relationship with NBC in advance of any future events." He added, "Should the USGA decide to partner with NBC again in the future, I would hope that the USGA remain mindful of its role in controlling creative content and work to ensure that an incident as troubling as this one is not repeated in the future" (CLEVELAND.com, 6/21).
THE SHOW MUST GO ON: In L.A., Sam Farmer reports NBC last week in a Hollywood studio "shot its 'Sunday Night Football' intro sung by Faith Hill" for the '11 season. Anticipating that there "might be a lockout at this point, NBC shot extra footage of players in the studio last summer and plans to weave that into this season's intro." Players included are Colts QB Peyton Manning and DE Dwight Freeney, Giants QB Eli Manning, Vikings RB Adrian Peterson, Ravens LB Ray Lewis and Eagles WR DeSean Jackson. NBC "SNF" Producer Fred Gaudelli said, "If we would have had an opportunity this year, we probably would have asked for a Mike Vick, a Mark Sanchez, a Darrelle Revis or somebody like that, deserving to be in the open. But with the lockout . . . we just didn't want to be in the predicament of, for instance, we had a guy who would do it but we couldn't get his uniform and the team couldn't send it to us" (L.A. TIMES, 6/22).
TAKE A BOW: In DC, Lisa de Moraes lists NBC's coverage of the Bruins-Canucks Stanley Cup Final among her "winners" in television last week. NBC's broadcast of Game Seven on Wednesday night drew 8.54 million viewers, making it the "most watched NHL telecast in 38 years" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/22).