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Volume 24 No. 117

Media

ESPN’s “College GameDay” basketball edition will celebrate its 100th episode Saturday as the show travels to Chapel Hill for Virginia-North Carolina. Rece Davis, Jay Williams, Seth Greenberg and Jay Bilas will kick off the show at 11:00am ET. During the broadcast they will highlight some of the best moments throughout “College GameDay” history. ESPN also plans to involve some former “College GameDay” analysts. The net, through its social and digital platforms, will show 100 seconds of the show’s greatest moments. Davis, reflecting on his time as host of the show, said, “Over the years we’ve been able to have a little fun at our own expense.” However, the show has also focused on more serious matters involving college basketball. Davis said, “We take on issues pretty well and obviously Bilas is a big reason for that with his passion and stance on various NCAA issues. Also, having former coaches who look at things from a different point of view over the years has given us meaningful discussions and different perspectives on things. All of us are strong willed and opinionated so there have been a lot of moments like that that are certainly memorable.” ESPN Senior Coordinating Producer Lee Fitting has enjoyed watching the show evolve since its premiere on Jan. 22, 2005. Since that game, No. 21 Pittsburgh’s road win over No. 16 UConn, the show has traveled to 29 states and 52 different venues. Fitting raves about the show’s talent, saying he would put them “against any set we have at ESPN.” He said, “They find the right the mix of serious talk, having fun and challenging each other without being obnoxious and without screaming at each other. They are not disagreeing to just disagree. It's good conversation and the chemistry among the four is as good as any we have.”

ESPN's Dan Dakich on Thursday addressed his feud with Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo, saying he "talked with the Michigan State people, and they're cool about it." Dakich, appearing on his daily talk show on Indianapolis-based WFNI-AM, said, "The whole thing to me is really, really overblown. Again, I don’t blame Tom Izzo. If Tom Izzo feels his program is coming under attack then he should come at me. That’s how I look at it. I just don’t like the fact he had to deal with it, because really, I think the context got lost. But that’s part of the world we live in and no big deal." Dakich will call Saturday's Michigan State-Purdue game (DETROIT NEWS, 2/17). Izzo on Thursday said that he had "not spoken to Dakich" but "downplayed the incident." Izzo: "It's no big deal. It is what it was, it's over. I'm not holding any grudges" (MLIVE.com, 2/16).

EVERYTHING GOES: In Houston, David Barron writes the "arrival of a new presidential administration makes this an interesting time for the off-the-court discussions that have become a staple" of TNT's "Inside the NBA" with Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal. Smith said, "The NBA is never immune to what is going on. Any religious issue, any social issue, any sexual issue, is going to hit the NBA the same way it hits society. There is a like-mindedness that is common of people in the same profession, and there is a consciousness (among NBA players) that I'm grateful that is starting to become aware." He added, "Without question, we have set the precedent to be free-spirited and to talk things seriously or with fun. I think we have become enablers for that" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/17).

SPIRIT OF RADIO: In Atlanta, Chris Vivlamore reports the Hawks are "in the final stages" of signing radio play-by-play broadcaster Steve Holman to a new contract. Meanwhile, Holman will be one of five inducted into the Atlanta Sports HOF on Friday. He has "spent the past 32 years" as the Hawks' radio voice (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 2/17).

CHANGING TIMES: In Tampa, Marc Topkin reports FS Florida Rays broadcaster Rich Hollenberg was "not retained" by the RSN for the upcoming season. Hollenberg "handled pre- and post-game host, and occasional in-game reporting, duties for the last three seasons." A replacement is "expected to be named soon." Hollenberg "plans to expand his college basketball duties with ESPN" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 2/17).

CBS on Sunday drew 4.23 million viewers for the final round of the PGA Tour AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which saw Jordan Spieth win by four strokes. That figure is down from 4.86 million viewers last year, when Vaughn Taylor held off Phil Mickelson by one stroke. The ’15 final round drew 3.6 million viewers, when Brandt Snedeker won by three strokes.

BY THE BAY: CSN Bay Area is averaging an 8.64 local rating for Warriors games to date in the S.F.-Oakland-San Jose market, up 2% from an 8.44 rating at the same point last season.

OLD COLLEGE TRIES: ESPN last week drew 3.06 million viewers for the first North Carolina-Duke men’s basketball matchup of the season, up from the teams’ first matchup last season (2.86 million viewers), but down from the same game two years ago (4.14 million viewers). The game last week marked ESPN’s best college hoops midweek audience this season to date. Meanwhile, ESPN2 on Monday night drew 1.23 million viewers for the South Carolina-UConn women’s hoops game, which saw UConn win its 100th consecutive game, marking the company's fifth-best women's hoops regular season audience on record. UConn occupies four of the top five spots on that list.

NOTES: CBS on Sunday afternoon drew 1.5 million viewers for the PBR event from K.C., marking the league’s best audience this season to date.

The chart below lists final audience figures from select recent sports telecasts.

TELECAST
DATE
NET
TIME (ET)
RAT.
VIEWERS
(000)
NBA: Warriors-Thunder
2/11
ABC
8:28-11:19pm
3.4
6,036
PGA Tour: AT&T Pebble Beach
Pro-Am: Final Round
2/12
CBS
3:15-6:30pm
2.7
4,226
College basketball:
North Carolina-Duke
2/9
ESPN
8:00-10:03pm
1.8
3,085
NBA: Spurs-Knicks
2/12
ABC
3:28-6:03pm
1.9
2,867
PGA Tour: AT&T Pebble Beach
Pro-Am: Third Round
2/11
CBS
3:15-6:00pm
1.8
2,669
NBA: Cavaliers-Thunder
2/9
TNT
8:13-10:43pm
n/a
2,110
College basketball:
Michigan-Indiana
2/12
CBS
1:00-3:15pm
1.4
2,068
NBA: Bulls-Warriors
2/8
ESPN
10:38pm-12:58am
n/a
1,960
NBA: Cavaliers-Wizards
2/6
TNT
7:14-10:13pm
n/a
1,735
College basketball: Oregon-UCLA
2/9
ESPN
10:03-11:58pm
n/a
1,655
College basketball:
Kentucky-Alabama
2/11
CBS
1:00-3:15pm
1.0
1,564
Soccer friendly: Mexico-Iceland
2/8
UniMas
9:34pm-12:09am
0.5
1,560
NBA: Clippers-Knicks
2/8
ESPN
8:01-10:38pm
n/a
1,542
PBR: K.C. Invitational
2/12
CBS
12:00-1:00pm
n/a
1,500
College basketball:
Kansas-Kansas State
2/6
ESPN
9:06-11:13pm
n/a
1,372
Liga MX: Club America-Puebla
2/11
Univision
9:55pm-12:00am
0.7
1,370
College basketball:
Florida State-Notre Dame
2/11
ESPN
6:07-8:04pm
0.8
1,341
NBA: Celtics-Trail Blazers
2/9
TNT
10:43pm-1:17am
n/a
1,316
NBA: Spurs-Grizzlies
2/6
TNT
10:13pm-12:18am
n/a
1,310
NHRA: Pomona
2/12
Fox
4:00-7:00pm
0.8
1,224
Track & Field: Millrose Games
2/11
NBC
4:00-6:00pm
0.8
1,212
NHL: Red Wings-Wild
2/12
NBC
3:12-6:00pm
0.7
1,155
World Alpine Championships:
Women's Downhill (taped)
2/12
NBC
12:30-2:00pm
0.8
1,074
EPL: Liverpool-Tottenham
2/11
NBC
12:30-2:30pm
0.6
951
Liga MX: Monterrey-Pumas UNAM
2/11
Univision
7:55-9:55pm
0.5
933
Figure Skating:
"Shall We Dance On Ice"
2/11
ABC
3:00-5:00pm
0.6
870
College basketball: Villanova-Xavier
2/11
Fox
2:33-4:45pm
0.6
818
"World of X Games: Best of Aspen"
2/11
ABC
2:00-3:00pm
0.4
603
College basketball:
Marquette-Georgetown
2/11
Fox
12:03-2:15pm
0.4
554

In Chicago, Mark Gonzales notes the Cubs' season opener April 2 against the Cardinals in St. Louis is "one of at least six games that will be televised" by ESPN. Fox is "scheduled to carry at least four Cubs games on a regional basis," and CSN Chicago will "televise up to 81 games." The team's April 5 game against the Cardinals will be the "first of 45 televised" by WGN. WLS-ABC will "televise 25 games, starting with the April 12 game" against the Dodgers that will "start with a pregame ceremony" in which the Cubs will receive their World Series rings (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/17).

CALL IT A COMEBACK
: In DC, Scott Allen notes ESPN Radio 980 DC, which is owned by Redskins Owner Dan Snyder's Red Zebra Broadcasting, will "remain the Redskins flagship station." The team on Wednesday announced WMAL-AM will also "carry games" beginning in '17. WMAL's coverage will "also feature one hour of pregame and one hour of postgame Redskins Radio Network programming." Redskins games "were broadcast on WMAL" from '42-56 and from '63-91 (WASHINGTON POST 2/17).

DOUBLE BOGEY: Golf HOFer Greg Norman said his departure from the Fox broadcast booth in January '16 was "poorly handled," as people should "get fired for the right reasons." Norman: "I was rolled under the bus. ... The producer wanted to get somebody else that he liked in there, who he worked with before, and basically that was it" (MENSJOURNAL.com, 2/16).