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Volume 24 No. 132


N.Y.-based WFAN-AM is "preparing to announce this week a new afternoon show to replace Mike Francesa in January that would include Chris Carlin and Bart Scott, likely joined by Maggie Gray," according to sources cited by Neil Best of NEWSDAY. Carlin, a former WFAN producer, "currently co-hosts an afternoon show" at WFAN’s sister station WIP-AM in Philadelphia. Scott is an analyst at ESPN Radio 98.7 N.Y., while Gray "appears on CBS Sports Radio nationally and works at" Sources said that NFL Network's Kimberly Jones and NBC Sports' Chris Simms "both turned down the job in recent weeks" (NEWSDAY, 11/14). In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes WFAN "certainly appears to be making a concerted effort to have a diverse booth with a black host in Scott and a female in Gray." Scott has been "outspoken in defense of issues that impact black America." Gray, a "steady and entertaining voice, is the surprise pick here." Through the months WFAN "searched for a successor" to Francesa, Gray’s name "never surfaced" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/14). In Philadelphia, Rob Tornoe notes Carlin's move to WFAN would leave WIP with a "hole to fill in the middle of what looks to be a very successful Eagles season" (, 11/14).

SCARLET FEVER: In Newark, Dunleavy & Sargeant report Carlin is "expected to stay" in his role as play-by-play voice for Rutgers football. Carlin "remained part of the Rutgers fabric while maintaining jobs as a Mets studio host at SNY and in his current role" in Philly. Carlin's wife, Sheryl Spain, "works in the Rutgers student-athlete development office" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 11/14).

ESPN last night earned a 6.2 overnight rating for the Panthers' 45-21 win over the Dolphins, marking the fourth-lowest "MNF" rating since ESPN acquired the package prior to the '06 season. Last night's rating is down 21% from a 7.9 overnight for the comparable Bengals-Giants matchup in Week 10 last year. Two years ago, ESPN drew an 8.6 for Texans-Bengals in Week 10. Dolphins-Panthers peaked at an 8.0 rating between 9:45-10:00pm ET. The game delivered a 23.3 local rating in Charlotte (9.0 on ESPN, 14.3 on WSOC-ABC) and a 12.1 in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (4.7 on ESPN, 7.4 on WPGL-ABC). Raleigh-Durham (12.0), Greensboro (11.7) and New Orleans (10.6) rounded out the top five (Josh Carpenter, Assistant Editor).

BAIT & TACKLE: In Miami, Barry Jackson writes for the "first time in memory, a network analyst criticized" Dolphins coach Adam Gase’s play-calling on a game telecast. ESPN's Jon Gruden said he keeps "waiting (for Gase) to let Jay Cutler throw downfield." Gruden also said that the Dolphins are the "most inconsistent team he has seen on offense and defense." Gruden overall had "little patience for the Dolphins" (MIAMI HERALD, 11/14).

LOCAL FIGURES: The Patriots' 41-16 win over the Broncos on "SNF" delivered a 34.7 local rating in Boston, which is the market's second-best NFL figure of the season, behind Week 7's Falcons-Patriots matchup on "SNF" (Patriots). Meanwhile, in Chicago, Phil Rosenthal notes local ratings for the Bears "remain strong" despite "all the forces pulling down NFL television ratings nationally." The Bears' 23-16 loss to the Packers on WFLD-Fox on Sunday averaged a 22.4 local rating in Chicago (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/14).

New OTT service Philo launches today without sports content, and if it "does well, it may undermine the value the industry places on expensive sports rights," but if it "doesn’t, it may strengthen the value of sports networks like ESPN and leagues like the NFL," according to Peter Kafka of RECODE. Philo "shows programming from some three dozen cable TV networks" and the fact that none of the programmers contributing channels "pay big fees for sports means that Philo costs much less than other web TV services." A base package "will cost $16 a month, compared with $35 a month for YouTube TV, or $40 a month for Hulu’s live TV option." But Philo users also "have to live without Disney-owned channels like ABC or the Disney Channel, or Fox-owned channels like Fox News or FX." Also not included -- "anything owned by CBS or NBCUniversal" (, 11/14). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Cara Lombardo writes Philo is "offering a bundle of 37 channels, including Comedy Central, TLC, Food Network, AMC and A&E." Basic level subscribers "get access to a slate of channels" owned by Discovery Communications, Viacom, Scripps Networks Interactive, A+E Networks and AMC Networks. Among the other nets included are Nickelodeon, Animal Planet, History, HGTV and MTV. The five companies supplying programming are also Philo’s "primary financial backers," together investing a total of $25M. Disney Chair & CEO Bob Iger "dismissed the idea of a product like Philo on an earnings call earlier this year when asked about the feasibility of lower-cost packages that exclude sports" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/14).

The Mountain West has three years left on its football contract with ESPN and CBS Sports Net, and as officials ponder their next move, the conference is "experimenting with alternatives to traditional broadcasting and weighing whether filling all those late TV windows is worth the money its members are making," according to Ralph Russo of the AP. MWC schools are making "about" $1.1M from their deals with ESPN, CBSSN and AT&T SportsNet. Colorado State AD Joe Parker said, "It's great to be aligned with a linear broadcaster, but what we've seen, too, is that impacts with our localized fanbase." Parker: "The thing that I'm concerned about is if we start moving our games off Saturday or if we start ending up in the 8 (p.m. local) or later time slot, that's going to have impacts on fans wanting to attend in venue." MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson said that the conference is "crunching numbers to get a better handle of how scheduling for TV impacts other revenue sources." Thompson: "It's not priceless, but what is the value of a national television game for recruiting purposes? The national exposure that those games generate is worth something. They're in roughly a quarter of a million homes. What does that mean?" Russo noted the other challenge for Thompson "comes from within." Thompson said that while CSU, Wyoming and the four other schools in the Mountain Time Zone "tend to cringe at those late kickoffs, the schools in the Pacific Time Zone don't mind them as much." To keep Boise State, the MWC "agreed to a deal that guaranteed the school more appearances on ESPN and more TV revenue than the other schools." The agreement "calls for the rights to Boise State's home games to be negotiated separately from the rest of the conference" (AP, 11/13).

SpringHill Entertainment has taken "several major steps in helping to secure" LeBron James' legacy off the court with a "number of content projects that cut across both the traditional television business and emerging digital platforms," according to R. Thomas Umstead of MULTICHANNEL NEWS. Now SpringHill is "poised to take several more shots" at original scripted series. The company is "working with HBO on a half-hour comedy" about a L.A. sneaker store and with ABC on a "comedy dubbed 'White Dave.'" SpringHill is also working with CBS on a "comedy revolving around a sports agency." Meanwhile, James has "played on the unscripted court with his CNBC series 'Cleveland Hustles'" and partnered with NBC for "The Wall," which recently "earned a second season." But SpringHill’s "highest-profile project to date" is Starz' "Survivor’s Remorse," which ended its fourth and final season last month. Starz President of Programming Carmi Zlotnik said that he was "initially impressed with the attention to detail James paid to the series" and "recalled that James was very hands-on with regard to the pilot." Zlotnik said, "The producers went to LeBron’s house and LeBron recruited friends and family to pick parts to read together from the pilot script." NBC Entertainment President of Alternative & Reality Group Paul Telegdy added that James' "star power helped build momentum for NBC’s game show 'The Wall.'" Telegdy noted that James was "heavily involved with 'The Wall,' making sure the presentation on the screen worked to the benefit of both NBC and the James brand." Telegdy: "The great thing about the partnership is that if at any point he had seen something that he had hated or that was against his brand, we would have found out about it immediately -- he’s not a shy, silent partner" (MULTICHANNEL NEWS, 11/13 issue).

In Chicago, Teddy Greenstein reports Mike Greenberg's new ESPN program will be called "Get up." The morning show is "set to debut in the spring" and will feature Michelle Beadle and Jalen Rose. Greenberg confirmed that the reason his show's debut was delayed was "purely construction-related," as it will originate from a new studio space in N.Y. Greenberg said he and ESPN are "formulating a plan for different ways that I will be working at ESPN during the down time. ... I do hope to write another book." He noted his show was "never going to be a solo vehicle." Greenberg: "From its inception to when it was pitched to me and the moment that I agreed to do it, this was not going to be a solo show." Meanwhile, Greenberg said he does not have a plan for how he wants "Mike & Mike" to end: "I've never scripted anything, in 18 years. ... I'll go in there and whatever sort of jumps into my head, that's what'll come out of my mouth" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/14).

: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Jason Gay sits with Mike Krzyzewski to discuss the Duke coach's weekly SiriusXM Radio show, "Basketball & Beyond with Coach K," and Gay writes it is not "typical sports radio schlock." Guests have "ranged from LeBron James to Richard Petty to former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey." Krzyzewski "pulls questions from pages of notes." He is "not an interrupter" and "never rambles." There are no "gotcha moments," either. Krzyzewski said, "It’s not a call-in, and I get a chance to really visit with top-notch people" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/14).

NOTES: NBC Sports California's Sharks color commentator Jamie Baker is "taking a leave of absence" to "attend to a personal matter." In Baker's absence, Bret Hedican will "handle color commentating duties on NBCSCA and David Maley will fill Hedican’s role as the color analyst on the Sharks’ Radio Network, joining play-by-play announcer Dan Rusanowsky" (, 11/11)....Longtime Trail Blazers radio play-by-play announcer Brian Wheeler was "behind the microphone" for the team's home game against the Nuggets last night. Wheeler had "missed the season’s first 12 games as he battled scrotal lymphedema, a condition that sidelined him four games during" the '13 season. Wheeler is in his 20th season with the team (, 11/10)....The NCAA has hired former ESPN personality Andy Katz to cover basketball for The agreement is for two years (NCAA).

Despite being around for five years now, BodyArmor VP/Marketing Michael Fedele (@DrinkBodyArmor) is still surprised at the places the sports drink shows up on social media. A recent includes UFC 217 at MSG, where fighter Demetrious Johnson took a pic with Knicks F Kristaps Porzingis at ringside. Porzingis, a BodyArmor endorser, was holding a BodyArmor bottle in one hand. After Johnson posted the photo to his social media accounts, the image was picked up by several other media outlets. Fedele said, “We see the brand going everywhere.” Like many brands, BodyArmor places an emphasis on athlete endorsers, but many of those athletes also are investors in the company.

On Kobe Bryant not only being the third-largest investor, but the company’s creative director:
Kobe is an amazing storyteller, it’s what he has a passion for. The idea of our "Obsession is Natural" campaign was spawned by Kobe’s "obsessive" mentality on the court. He wanted to tell that story with the BodyArmor team of athletes. Kobe spoke to each of the athletes about their obsession. Kobe wrote the voice over for the larger campaign and each of the athletes collaborated to write their own story.

Must-follow: Have to give props to Darren Rovell
Favorite app: I find it intriguing what Adidas and Nike continue to do.
Average time per day on social media: Twenty minutes.

Growth of brand’s social media presence:
The main thing is authenticity and credibility about the product. We’re a better-for-you sports drink that tastes good. Our product is our best currency. It’s important if it’s an athlete influencer or a blue-collar guy or a mom buying for her family that takes to social to talk about the product that it’s credible and authentic. Spontaneity is key. If James Harden scores 56, BodyArmor is putting up content as soon as the buzzer goes off. We are very comfortable reacting quickly. We are comfortable being part of the conversation and starting the conversation.

Conveying authenticity:
It’s not really having to try to maintain it because it’s very real. That’s important for BodyArmor because there’s never been a No. 3 sports drink to build that consumer base from a product standpoint let alone from a social following. The James Hardens, the Porzingises, the Dustin Johnsons, the Richard Shermans help us do this. 

Pushing athlete investment on social media:
Not too much. They are very real, authentic and we have amazing relationships with our athletes, many of which are investors. Literally, everyone is all on board. We talk product innovation and marketing campaigns with every one of our athletes when we meet with them. Whether it’s our Chairman Mike Repole talking with Kobe, or Kobe coming to the office for meetings with our senior management team, Kobe talking to Porzingis and Mike Trout, Trout meeting with Ryan Blaney or me meeting with Andrew Luck or (WNBAer) Skylar Diggins -- it’s very real.

Feedback from athletes:
Weekly. Sometimes more often. Kobe is a big part of what we are doing. I was with Porzingis last week. Kobe speaks with Mike Trout directly. We’re in an environment where our athlete partners are part of what we are doing. They want to be part of driving change in the category and the next generation of consumers coming into the category.

Value of athletes as influencers:
They love the product. They use the product. They train with the product. It’s very natural for them to incorporate it in what they do. I don’t know the last time we asked an athlete to post something. We tell them we are going to be part of this amazing partnership with UFC or we’re going to be hydrating the Mayweather-McGregor fight and they get excited about it and want to tell people about the brand. Many other times, we hear stories like Dez Bryant hiding product in his locker so guys don’t take it.

Activating around UFC compared to individual athletes:
It’s slightly different from a social standpoint, but not very different. We continue to tap into the most topical, spontaneous news from the UFC just like we would any athlete partner via content and events. We are already working with dozens UFC athletes individually going into next year to amplify the partnership via some very unique content.

If you know anyone who should be featured for their use of social media, send their name to us at

NBC Sports Chicago yesterday confirmed the RSN is "reducing staff." In Chicago, Phil Rosenthal notes it appears about a "dozen employees in a wide variety of slots will be let go, though it’s not known if anyone whose primary job is in front of the camera will be fired." Among those let go was White Sox writer Dan Hayes (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/14).

RAISING THE BARSTOOL: VARIETY's Todd Spangler noted Barstool Sports is "taking over channel 93 on SiriusXM" beginning Jan. 15. The 24-hour channel will "exclusively air Barstool content." The launch comes one year after SiriusXM "brought Barstool on board for 'Barstool Radio,' a daily two-hour radio show" that airs from 12:00-2:00pm ET (, 11/13).

TIME FOR A LAUGH: VARIETY's Spangler noted in Facebook’s new original series, "Bill Murray and Brian Doyle-Murray’s Extra Innings," the famous brothers "take a road-trip to visit America’s minor league baseball teams." The 10-episode "unscripted comedy series debuts on Facebook Watch on Monday with new episodes -- each running about 8 minutes -- available weekly on Mondays." The show is "produced by Oso Studios and funded by Facebook." Bill Murray is a "longtime booster of minor league baseball" as part owner of the independent St. Paul Saints and Single-A South Atlantic League Charleston RiverDogs, as well as an "investor in other teams" (, 11/13).