THE BIG LEAD's Jason McIntyre cited sources as saying that Grantland's Bill Simmons "is being strongly considered as an addition" to ESPN's "NBA Countdown." Simmons "would replace Chris Broussard on the set," and Broussard "would then be re-assigned into an unspecified role, perhaps as a 'news' guy." "Countdown" co-host Michael Wilbon and Simmons have previously co-hosted "PTI" and "are friendly." Meanwhile, the "Lakers/Celtics friction" between Simmons and "Countdown" analyst Magic Johnson "could make for great television" (THEBIGLEAD.com, 8/23).
LET'S KICK IT: Qatar Media’s Miami-based beIN Sport Thursday announced that it will be carried on Comcast's Xfinity TV service. It will be available in Spanish on the Xfinity MultiLatino Package and in English on the Xfinity Sports Entertainment Package. This comes after beIN acquired media rights for U.S. men's soccer team World Cup Qualifier away matches (THE DAILY).
IT'S A "HARD KNOCK" LIFE: In Miami, Barry Jackson wrote in three episodes, HBO’s "'Hard Knocks' delivered more absorbing television and enlightening behind-the-scenes access to the Dolphins than Showtime managed in eight episodes chronicling the Marlins" on "The Franchise." "Hard Knocks" has "been superior" because it "forged a better balance between on-field matters and human interest stories." The show also has "more insight into individual players" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 8/23).
CORNER OFFICES: In N.Y., Keith Kelly writes there is a "new sense of urgency surrounding Time Inc. and its push to capture digital dollars." Following a "three-month study by management and consultant Brian & Co., completed in June, CEO Laura Jang has tapped a trio of top execs" that includes Business, News & Sports Group President of Digital John Cantrarella. While the execs "are focused on growth over cutbacks, there are plenty of jittery people inside the nation's largest publisher" (N.Y. POST, 8/24).