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Volume 25 No. 236
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ESPN Puts Mowins, Griese In Spotlight For First "MNF" Game

Mowins called last year's second half of the opening doubleheader with analyst Rex Ryan

ESPN is "going with a fresh approach" for its first "MNF" broadcast of '18, as Beth Mowins and Brian Griese will call Jets-Lions on Sept. 10, according to Barry Wilner of the AP. Mowins and Griese are have "plenty of NFL credentials," but have been "far more entrenched in the college game." Mowins called last year's second half of the "opening doubleheader with analyst Rex Ryan." Mowins also "does a few CBS telecasts of NFL games during the season," as well as Raiders preseason games, but her "main gig is college sports." Griese is "one of the top analysts of the college game, an insightful and often critical but fair voice." Mowins and Griese "have not done game broadcasts together, but have had many conversations and learning sessions." Last year, when Mowins and Ryan announced the Broncos "MNF" game, Mowins "reached out to Griese, who does Denver's preseason games." The NFL gave ESPN what "appears to be a better game in the nightcap," with Raiders coach Jon Gruden's return as his team hosts the Rams. The new regular "MNF" crew of Joe Tessitore and Jason Witten "will be in the booth for that one" (AP, 7/19).

STAY A WHILE: ESPN's Linda Cohn, the net's longest-tenured "SportsCenter" anchor, has signed a new deal. Cohn will remain a "SportsCenter" host, and increase her role in ESPN's hockey coverage. Cohn will continue as the primary host for the ESPN+ hockey program "In The Crease," which will expand to five nights a week for the NHL season. Cohn will do hockey-related interviews and features for "SportsCenter" and other ESPN platforms (ESPN).

ANGLE OF APPROACHIn DC, Rick Maese wrote ESPN's Michael Collins, an "unlikely" golf analyst, is a "knee-slapping, voluminous, rolling chortle, peppering his analysis with punchlines." Collins "approaches the sport like a helicopter descending on a stack of napkins." Collins is a "comedian turned golf caddie turned golf analyst," which makes him a "unique character in the sport." ESPN's Scott Van Pelt said of Collins, "He can bust chops, he can have a laugh, he can get guys to put their guard down." Collins is "easy to recognize on screen -- baldhead, bushy beard, shaped a bit more like a golf ball than a golf club -- but even more so by his cheerful on-air presence." He "knows his style isn't for everyone," and for many, his approach makes him one of ESPN's "more polarizing personalities." But Collins "makes no apologies." As golf's audience "ages and younger sports fans gravitate toward other pursuits, Collins wants those in the game to take themselves less seriously" and remember that it is "all supposed to be fun" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/18).