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Volume 26 No. 178
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Back In Action: Inside The Return Of "NFL Primetime" To ESPN+

The first iteration of the show went off the air in '06 after NBC landed "SNF" and the exclusive rights
Photo: ESPN IMAGES
The first iteration of the show went off the air in '06 after NBC landed "SNF" and the exclusive rights
Photo: ESPN IMAGES
The first iteration of the show went off the air in '06 after NBC landed "SNF" and the exclusive rights
Photo: ESPN IMAGES

The rebirth of ESPN's "NFL Primetime" was examined by SI.com's Jacob Feldman, who reports Chris Berman came up with the idea this past winter when he asked ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro if they "could work around the rights restrictions by putting the show on ESPN+." The first iteration of the show went off the air in '06 after NBC landed "SNF" and the "exclusive rights to air highlights before each week's game." Buzz for a potential return for "Primetime" picked up this summer as ESPN "negotiated the details with the NFL." As of Thursday before Week 1, there was a "potential green light around the corner," so ESPN VP/Production Seth Markman "reached out to Tom Jackson." A week later, an agreement was "finally in place with the league," and this past Sunday, Berman and Jackson "were back in the building." ESPN "decided that if it was doing Primetime again, it was going to change as little as possible." Markman said, "We brought back the long highlights, the exact same music. Usually we embrace new ideas." For this iteration on ESPN+, though, the net "later went and added highlights from the Sunday and Monday night games to the episode, a new trick." Other "changes in Primetime 2.0 include on-screen callouts to games still in action and the upcoming SNF matchup (partly due to contractual agreements), as well as fewer teases about the games' outcomes off the top" (SI.com, 9/19).

NOSTALGIA SELLS: AWFUL ANNOUNCING's Matt Yoder wrote after watching the debut of the "Primetime" reboot, the "one thing that stands out is just how amazingly similar the show is to the classic rendition" that fans "grew up with." Yoder: "Replace the names and uniforms and you'd think it was a show from 1999 and not 2019." The show "leans hard into that nostalgia that takes you back to a different time in football and fandom." Although it has been 13 years since "Primetime" was on the air, the "time away from the spotlight and the return to the original Primetime format on ESPN+ works." It is Berman and Jackson doing "what they know and love best" (AWFULANNOUNCING.com, 9/17).