People & Personalities: Jeff Gordon Returning As Race Analyst With Fox
MOTORSPORT.com's Jim Utter reported Jeff Gordon has "agreed to a new multi-year deal as a race analyst with Fox Sports." Gordon, who made his debut on the net in '16, said the new deal was a "no-brainer." Gordon: "I've enjoyed it a lot. I think it's a great transition out of driving the car and what comes along with the competition and the teamwork that goes into being a driver." Utter noted there has been "much speculation this past season whether Gordon may step away from his TV role and soon transition to a larger role in the front office of Hendrick Motorsports." Gordon said that those discussions with team owner Rick Hendrick "occurred before he retired and continue today but there remains no firm timetable" (MOTORSPORT.com, 1/9). THE DAILY in June first reported that Gordon was close to a contract renewal and that Fox would return this season with a three-man booth.
BIG PIECE: In Philadelphia, Rob Tornoe noted former MLBer Ryan Howard earlier this week had try out as a "baseball analyst during a two-day marathon of appearances on the MLB Network." An MLB Net spokesperson said that Howard was "only a guest analyst" in his appearances Tuesday and Wednesday. However, Tornoe noted that could "obviously change if his recent appearances are well-received." Howard had talks with ESPN, but a source said that "nothing is on the table at the moment" (PHILLY.com, 1/9).
FAMILY MATTERS: NBC Sports Boston's Celtics courtside reporter Abby Chin, who is 39 weeks pregnant, went "on maternity leave" after last night's Pacers-Celtics game. The RSN "will not be hiring a temporary replacement to fill her role, instead opting to rotate" some of the net's "internal talent assets, including new hires Chris Forsberg and Danielle Trotta." While NBC Sports Boston "offers 16 weeks of leave for the primary caregiver," Chin hopes to "return for the NBA playoffs, which begin in mid-April" (BOSTONGLOBE.com, 1/8).
NOTES: St. Louis-based WXOS-FM's Chris Duncan has "taken a permanent leave from his on-air role to focus on his ongoing battle against brain cancer." The station announced the former MLBer will "step aside" from co-hosting "The Turn." Duncan took a "temporary absence from the station in late March to resume treatment for brain cancer that he was first diagnosed with six years earlier" (STLTODAY.com, 1/9)....The L.A. Times named ESPN's LZ Granderson a "sports and culture columnist" (POLITICO.com, 1/9).