The CBC Expands "HNIC" Broadcasts; Brings In Additional Hosts, Increases Social Media
The CBC's Don Cherry will "be double-shifted this season, getting two segments" of "Coach's Corner" with Ron MacLean during "HNIC" broadcasts every Saturday, according to Daniel Girard of the TORONTO STAR. Beginning this weekend, Cherry will "appear during the first intermission of the second game of the CBC double-header." The net also has made other changes to mark the 60th season of "HNIC." The studio's main anchor desk "has been expanded to accommodate four analysts -- Glenn Healy, P.J. Stock, Kevin Weekes and Elliotte Friedman -- along side MacLean." They will "be there from the 6:30pm pre-game through the end of the second contest of the night." The CBC's Andi Petrillo will "interact with viewers via social media at the I-Desk as the first full-time female in-studio personality in the show's 60 years." The program is "giving people the opportunity to log in via computer during broadcasts to a so-called 'second screen' for more interactive features." Later this winter, it will "expand to Xbox consoles, allowing viewers to watch live games and stay up-to-date on special in-game features" (TORONTO STAR, 1/18). The GLOBE & MAIL's Bruce Dowbiggin writes the challenge for "HNIC" is "winning the race to control the news cycle on social media in the week before showtime." As the lockout showed, "authority now comes from tweeting a story instantly." TSN has "owned this fast-breaking segment with Bob McKenzie (475,500 Twitter followers), Darren Dreger (375,000) and Pierre LeBrun (219,300)." Friedman on Thursday said, “It can’t just be about Saturday any more. You have to be a presence on Twitter and digital. Sports fans want to know everything in real time, they want to be entertained. That’s a 24/7 job now." He added, "Don can do his thing once a week, but he’s unique. For other stuff, it helps how visible I am in social media. That’s the future." Friedman added that it "doesn’t diminish HNIC’s brand" (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/18).
SUPPLY & DEMAND: The GLOBE & MAIL's Steve Ladurantaye notes the "stakes are high in the shortened season" among Canadian NHL rights holders. The CBC in a typical year "airs about 100 regular season games, but this year it will air half the number and it’s still not clear how that will affect its broadcast rights that expire at the end of the 2014-2015 season." CBC Exec Dir of Studio & Unscripted Programming Julie Bristow said, "That’s all in negotiations. But it’s half the games we usually have." Ladurantaye notes Canada’s other two broadcasters are "putting the finishing touches on their strategies." Bell Media’s TSN "initially announced plans to air 42 games, all starring Canadian teams, but is expected to add dozens more featuring American teams." Rogers-owned Sportsnet will air "approximately150 games across its regional networks." Rogers Broadcasting President Scott Moore said that aside from the "obvious benefits of increased advertising and higher viewership, hockey’s return is also an opportunity to drive viewers to the other programming the company offers on its other networks" (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/18).
BLUE MAN GROUP: FSN, the local TV home to 12 NHL teams, will televise more than 500 games this season across 13 RSNs, beginning Saturday with seven games on 11 nets (Fox). FS Midwest this season will televise 41 Blues games, and the net's Media Relations Dir Geoff Goldman said that "a lot of juggling of his network’s schedule wasn’t needed because Blues games will be played on nights that already had been blocked out for hockey on the original calendar." In St. Louis, Dan Caesar notes the most "noticable changes are a couple Indiana Pacers games and a few college basketball contests being shifted" to FSM-Plus. FSM does not plan "to have an expanded pregame show before the opener, just a regular 30-minute show" at 6:30pm CT Saturday. But coverage of "opening-night festivities are scheduled to be shown as well as regular pregame chatter." One change this season for FSM is the addition of "a camera on the opposite side of the ice from the announcers for some home games -- including Saturday’s -- to provide a different perspective on select replays" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/18).
CROWNING COVERAGE: In L.A., Tom Hoffarth notes FS West's strategy to "recapture Kings fans is not only to add a special pre-game show for the opener but to expand its regular-season coverage with a pre- and post-game show, home and away." Kings TV analyst Jim Fox said, "This is something to show that we have to do our best to continue to give the viewers more and more information as much as possible. ... I'm glad Fox is adding coverage to bring more and more to the fans who want this." The expanded shows will be hosted by Patrick O'Neal, with former Kings players Daryl Evans and Anson Carter contributing (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 1/18).
REVISIONIST HISTORY? In Philadelphia, Sam Carchidi writes NBC "laid an egg with a commercial it has been running to promote" Saturday's Penguins-Flyers season opener. In the commercial, the "excited announcer breathlessly proclaims: 'Claude Giroux and the Flyers have their sights set on revenge for last season's playoff loss to Pitt!!!'" But it was the Flyers who "jolted the Stanley Cup favorite Penguins, four games to two, in last year's opening round" (PHILLY.com, 1/18).