People & Personalities: ESPN's Michelle Beadle Can Negotiate With Other Nets
THE BIG LEAD's Jason McIntyre noted ESPN "SportsNation" co-host Michelle Beadle as of yesterday is able to "negotiate with other networks." Beadle said she has "no idea" how negotiations with ESPN have gone recently, adding, "I'm not in the room, I'm not on the phone. That's all CAA stuff. ... I haven't even had a chance to make a decision." McIntyre noted rumors indicate that "SportsNation" co-host Colin Cowherd is "only doing the show for the rest of the year." Beadle said, "Without him, the show could still be what it was ... maybe a different guy would come in, I don't know how much of a say I'd have in that. Maybe it would go in a different direction ... we've started to talk about life after Colin. I think everyone right now is trying to figure it out" (THEBIGLEAD.com, 4/13).
CHARMED, I'M SURE: In Phoenix, Bob McManaman wrote ESPN "MNF" analyst Jon Gruden is "starting to develop a John Madden-like charm about him," as he is "folksy hip." Not only can he "break down a play as well as anyone, but his affable way of doing so offers a fresher perspective that better connects with younger viewers, including women." Gruden is a "ratings bonanza who is beginning to stand alone in his field," and that has never "been more evident than by watching his latest QB Camp series that wrapped up last week." His film sessions and chalk talk with 10 of the top QB prospects in this year's NFL Draft "are like entertaining fireside chats with your favorite uncle" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/16).
COLORFUL COMMENTATOR: In San Jose, Daniel Brown noted S.F.-based attorney Angela Alioto Sunday "denounced" KNBR-AM for what she "deemed a wrongful termination of longtime host Ralph Barbieri, setting the stage for a lawsuit." Barbieri was fired last Tuesday, ending a "colorful and sometimes tumultuous 28 years at the station." Alioto said that Barbieri was dismissed from the station "because he is a 66-year-old with Parkinson's disease, and she vehemently disputed KNBR's given reason that Barbieri was fired for showing up late." Cumulus, Inc. S.F. VP/Market Manager Bill Bungeroth, whose company owns KNBR, responded in a statement, saying Alioto's version of the events was "filled with inaccurate statements and baseless accusations" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 4/16).
FACE THE NATION: In DC, Dan Steinberg noted MASN sideline reporter Kristina Akra was "hired this spring after MASN elected not to bring back Debbi Taylor, making her the only new addition" to the Nationals' radio and TV broadcasts. Akra said, "I'm not claiming to be an expert or an analyst, but I want to do my best to ask questions that the fans want to know, to get the players talking about what the fans want to know. That's the ultimate goal." Akra came to MASN from FS South, where she "was a sideline reporter" for SEC football coverage and also hosted an SEC studio show (WASHINGTON POST, 4/13).
BREAKING OUT: USA TODAY's Gary Levin reports NFL Network's Rich Eisen will host TNT's first reality show, "Escape," which will pit "pairs of amateur Houdinis against each other." The show marks a departure from the net's "steady drama diet," and is due to premiere June 24 at 10:00pm ET (USA TODAY, 4/17).