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Volume 24 No. 156
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ESPN Execs Exploring Charles Barkley-Dick Vitale Broadcast Team For NCAA Tourney

ESPN Exec VP/Programming & Acquisitions John Wildhack yesterday said ESPN is "interested" in letting ESPN commentator Dick Vitale and TNT analyst Charles Barkley call action together, according to Michael Hiestand of USA TODAY. However, Wildhack said that he "wouldn't specify the event or roles." Barkley said, "With the NCAA, I would love to call a game with Dick Vitale. I've talked to Dick about it. We're all in the same business of promoting the tournament. We all need to forget the ESPN, CBS, TNT stuff -- we're all in the business of promoting college basketball." Asked about the chance to work with Barkley, Vitale "seemed even more psyched." He said, "I'd love to do a game with him! He's terrific! We'd have so much fun on the telecast." Hiestand writes CBS "might just consider using Vitale to be a 'no-brainer.'" That is how CBS Sports Group Chair Sean McManus "put it in 2006 when asked why the network had asked ESPN to use Vitale on the tournament before being turned down." Vitale: "Several times over the years CBS wanted me to do NCAA tournament games. But I didn't get upset with ESPN. I was flattered they thought that much of me" (USA TODAY, 12/5).