FOX SPORTS' Brian Lowry wrote TNT's addition of former NBAer Shaquille O'Neal to its "Inside the NBA" studio crew has "turned out to be a total if somewhat predictable bust." O'Neal "might be a jolly giant to have around, but in terms of basketball analysis, all he proves is that the bigger they are, the harder they can be to listen to." TNT's Charles Barkley is a "clear exception to that rule and flanked by sidekick Kenny Smith and host Ernie Johnson, has created a breezy standard-setter for NBA blather." The net "certainly didn’t need to shake things up, but the powers that be couldn’t resist enlisting O’Neal," even though he has "never exactly been a natural as a commentator." Having him "join the gang has subtly altered the chemistry, and at times made the show even more juvenile -- which until now had been one of its assets" (FOXSPORTS.com, 4/26).
OLYMPIC TEAM: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes adding former tennis player John McEnroe to the Olympic TV announcing crew is "not a bad idea," as he is a "sort of quirky Olympic correspondent, effectively replacing NFL analyst Cris Collinsworth in that role." Hiestand notes Dan Patrick, "in the ultimate proof that there's on-air life after ESPN, will join Al Michaels as a host of NBC's daytime shows." As for "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest joining the net's coverage, NBC's London Olympics Exec Producer Jim Bell "hasn't figured out how often Seacrest will appear." Bell said, "He's a tireless worker, but we'll try not to make him into too much of a decathlete. And he's a guy who's equally comfortable on social media and on-camera. With about 6.6 million Twitter followers, social media will be a big part of his role." Bell added that Seacrest "might do celebrity interviews that pop up on Olympic coverage" (USA TODAY, 4/27).
L.A. LAUNCH: Time Warner Cable President Chair & CEO Glenn Britt said that the company "would look at acquiring additional team rights as they become available -- including those of the Los Angeles Dodgers." Britt added, however, that he "did not expect much to step to the plate." Britt "stressed that the objective of launching the networks is to stabilize costs and make them more consistent over a long period of time." Britt said, "Where rights come available, as they did with the Lakers, if we think we can buy them for a price that makes sense for us over the long run, we'll do that. I don't anticipate there's going to be tons of those. Most of the sports rights are tied up for many, many years to come" (MULTICHANNEL.com, 4/26).
MAKE IT WORK: In California, John Maffei writes "it is time" for officials from Fox Sports San Diego, the Padres, Time Warner Cable and satellite providers AT&T U-verse, Verizon FiOS and Dish Network to "barricade themselves in a room and not come out until a deal is reached to carry Padres games." Maffei: "The mudslinging has got to stop. Negotiating through the media has to end." It is "time for the Padres to step in and demand that the parties come to an agreement for the good of the team's fans." Maffei asks, "With about 40 percent of San Diego County not getting Padres games now, how long before a good portion of that 40 percent becomes disconnected from the team and stops coming to the ballpark?" (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 4/27).