People & Personalities: Sage Steele Re-Ups With ESPN, Will Host "NBA Countdown"
ESPN today announced anchor Sage Steele has signed a multiyear extension with the net and will become the host of the Friday and Saturday editions of “NBA Countdown.” Steele will work alongside analysts Doug Collins, Jalen Rose and Bill Simmons. The Wednesday edition of “NBA Countdown” will feature Rose, Doris Burke and Avery Johnson (ESPN). Author James Andrew Miller wrote on his Twitter feed, "The @sagesteele deal wasn't a cheap one for @espn She is now in Bristol's top tier $ wise. Always has been talent wise" (TWITTER.com, 10/22).
ROUND AND ROUND WE GO: In Virginia, Mark Berman writes reporting on NASCAR keeps ESPN's Marty Smith "busy, but he also enjoys the features he gets to do for 'NASCAR Countdown.'" Smith said, “It’s really getting inside [the drivers'] heads instead of … sponsor-mention crap. Those are the types of things that I really enjoy.” ESPN after '14 "won’t be televising Sprint Cup races because it did not retain the broadcast rights." But Smith is "not part of ESPN’s race telecasts, so he expects to remain with the network 'for the foreseeable future.'" Smith said that he is "under contract with ESPN beyond next year" (ROANOKE TIMES, 10/22).
LET THE BIDDING BEGIN: The GLOBE & MAIL's Eric Duhatschek wrote the "bidding to see" which TV network lands retired NHL Rangers G Martin Biron "will start in earnest now" after Biron officially announced his retirement Sunday. Biron has been a "frequent guest on TSN panels during the playoffs, and has a natural on-air charm that translates well in either of Canada’s official languages" (GLOBEANDMAIL.com, 10/21).
NOTES: Braves radio broadcasters Don Sutton and Jim Powell have "signed multi-year extensions with Dickey Broadcasting Company." Dickey has "been the Braves radio rights holder" since '10 (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 10/22)....Oklahoma City-based WWLS-FM host Jim Traber said that he has "agreed to a new three-year contract as the network continues to lock up its talent in wake of added competition" from KRXO-FM, which launched in late August (NEWSOK.com, 10/21)....Hallmark Channel yesterday announced that it "will carry the first ever 'Kitten Bowl'" on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 2, with Yankees radio play-by-play man John Sterling and Beth Stern, wife of Howard, as hosts (NEWSDAY, 10/22).