People & Personalities: NBC Sports Net Sets F1 TV Crew, Shakes Up IndyCar Booth
The AP's Jenna Fryer reported the F1 TV booth on NBC Sports Network this season will consist of Leigh Diffey, former driver David Hobbs and analyst Steve Matchett. Will Buxton will serve as race reporter. All four "worked together previously" at Speed. Meanwhile, the IndyCar booth on NBC Sports Net "has undergone a slight shakeup with the addition of Diffey, who will cover IndyCar for the first time." He replaces the retired Bob Jenkins and will be "joined in the booth by returning race analyst Wally Dallenbach, Jr. and newcomer Townsend Bell." Former analyst Jon Beekhuis will "report from pit road" alongside Marty Snider, Kevin Lee and Robin Miller (AP, 3/14).
MR. CONGENIALITY? In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley wrote CBS Sports Radio host Doug Gottlieb is "cocksure about his opinions, unafraid to criticize and not aiming to win any Mr. Congeniality contests." But he has "not made the mistake" that ESPN's Skip Bayless has, which is "turning himself into a caricature of a blowhard sports opinionator." Gottlieb can be "crabby and annoying, but for this viewer it’s an interesting kind of crabby and annoying, particularly when the topic is college basketball." Gottlieb is part of CBS' college basketball studio show with Greg Gumbel, Greg Anthony and Seth Davis, and what is "most interesting about this group ... is the creative tension between Gottlieb and Davis." Gottlieb appears to be "looking to mix it up with Davis, who is the eager and ambitious teacher’s pet in the classroom, the guy aiming to become class president" (JSONLINE.com, 3/14).
THROW IT DOWN, BIG MAN: DEADSPIN's Timothy Burke writes Basketball HOFer Bill Walton's "on-air behavior has been consistently weird this college basketball season." During Thursday night's Oregon-Washington Pac-12 men's basketball tournament game, Walton made a "reference to Ray Lewis's murder and obstruction of justice charges and then ESPN's Twitter suspension of Bill Simmons." Walton "repeatedly created awkward situations for fellow announcer Dave Pasch, who struggled to escape and 'get back to game action.'" As if things "weren't bad enough for Pasch, Walton later alleged that Pasch's 'wife has been calling me'" (DEADSPIN.com, 3/15). CSNBayArea.com’s Ray Ratto wrote on his Twitter feed, “After a night of Walton at the top of his game, Dave Pasch saddened to learn one cannot smother one's self to death with MGM Grand pillows.”
A NEW VENTURE: CNN's Rachel Nichols will be a sideline reporter during the NCAA men's basketball tournament, and she said, "That's what is exciting about being at Turner. There are so many opportunities. They have their hands in so many properties and so many things. There's anything on the table with them." She moved to Turner after nine years at ESPN, and she said, "I was so happy and lucky in my time at ESPN. I was able to do so many different things and worked with really amazing people. ESPN has so many different arms where there's so much talent, but the opportunities I've gotten at CNN and Turner were something I really hadn't been exposed to before" (Albany TIMES-UNION, 3/15).
BIRDS OF A FEATHER: Fox Sports Thursday announced that former MLBer Jim Edmonds is joining the Cardinals broadcast team on FS Midwest as an analyst on the "Cardinals Live" pre- and postgame shows. He is scheduled to make his debut on the RSN on April 1 (Fox Sports). The net said that Al Hrabosky, Rick Horton and Chris Duncan "will remain in the rotation of commentators for the pregame and postgame shows." Cal Eldred, who previously served as a Cardinals analyst from '09-12, has been named Special Assistant to Cardinals Senior VP & GM John Mozeliak (STLTODAY.com, 3/14).