ESPN/ABC today announced that play-by-play commentator Brent Musburger has agreed to a new two-year deal and "will call the last two" BCS title games before the system moves to a playoff. Musburger has "pared back the long list of assignments" but will remain part of ESPN/ABC's No. 1 college football announcing team alongside Kirk Herbstreit, in addition to calling college basketball with Bob Knight. Musburger said, "I'm not going to ride off into the sunset" (USA TODAY, 8/20).
WRAPPING UP EARLIER: In West Palm Beach, Joe Capozzi noted the final episode of Showtime's "The Franchise" featuring the Marlins will air Wednesday, "one week earlier than originally planned." Wednesday's show will be its seventh weekly episode, but the Marlins "still will have upheld their agreement for eight episodes." The team also "did a special preview episode in April after manager Ozzie Guillen created controversy with his comments about Fidel Castro," which was "not part of the original plan" (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 8/18).
TRUE LIVE CREW: In Columbus, Adam Jardy wrote MLS Crew GM Mark McCullers "is happy with his club's television deal with Fox Sports Ohio, but both sides are still hoping for a clearer future." Crew road games this season "have not been truly in high definition." McCullers said, "I’m confident that we’re going to have all of our games in HD in the very near future but the world of cable television and rights fees and the competitive environment is complicated. But I’m extremely glad and satisfied with having Fox Sports." McCullers said that "there is not a timetable to get all broadcasts in HD," and that he "hopes the details can be worked out soon." However, McCullers said that "it seems unlikely that the situation will change before the end of this season" (DISPATCH.com, 8/17).
TUNING OUT: In Phoenix, Bob McManaman wrote, "I'm done with ESPN. ... I simply can't watch it anymore." The channel is now a "bloated, regurgitating shell of its former self." Even when their respective sports are "out of season, we couldn't go one day with hearing something about" Jets QB Tim Tebow and Heat F LeBron James, and now "it's worse." McManaman: "ESPN's circus-like saturation coverage of those two individuals alone has made me walk away from the television set" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 8/17). N.Y. Daily News columnist Mike Lupica said of the Jets, "This has been the most incredible offseason about absolutely nothing. The Jets have dominated in terms of coverage. You know how they have ESPN2 and ESPN-This and ESPNU. There was almost ESPN Tebow” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN, 8/19).