Olbermann to Return to ESPN2 August 26th

Everything old is new again for Keith Olbermann and ESPN.

ESPN President John Skipper announced today that Keith Olbermann will return to ESPN August 26th to host a live, late night talk show on ESPN2.

The program will be titled simply Olbermann, and will, according to ESPN PR,  “focus on the day’s relevant sports topics through a mix of perspective and commentary, interviews, contributors, panel discussions and highlights.”

Olbermann spent the early part of his career host programming on “The Duece” before being pared with Dan Patrick on SportsCenter.  The careers of both men skyrocketed as a result of their pairing.  Recently Olbermann has worked a host on both MSNBC and Current.  He also was a host on NBC’s Football Night in America from 2007-2009. He will serve as host of post-season baseball coverage on TBS this fall.

“Keith is a one-of-a-kind personality and these shows will be appointment viewing for that very reason,” Skipper said. “Keith brings a blend of editorial sophistication and unpredictability — you can never be sure what you’ll get. Olbermann on ESPN2 gives viewers the quality late-night complement to ESPN’s SportsCenter in the same way we’ve developed distinct show options across our networks the rest of the day.”

Olbermann noted: “Apart from the opportunity to try to create a nightly hour of sports television that no fan can afford to miss, I’m overwhelmed by the chance to begin anew with ESPN. I’ve been gone for 16 years and not one day in that time has passed without someone connecting me to the network. Our histories are indelibly intertwined and frankly I have long wished that I had the chance to make sure the totality of that story would be a completely positive one. I’m grateful to friends and bosses – old and new – who have permitted that opportunity to come to pass. I’m not going to waste it.”

ESPN will announce more details on the show in the coming weeks.

ESPN Suspends Rob Parker for 30 Days

ESPN today announced that it has suspended ESPN2 First Take analyst Rob Parker 30 days for comments he made last week about Redskins QB Robert Griffin III.

Here is the official statement from ESPN:

Marcia Keegan is a Vice President of Production for ESPN, who oversees First Take:

“ESPN has decided to suspend Rob Parker for 30 days for his comments made on last Thursday’s episode ofFirst Take. Our review of the preparation for the show and the re-air has established that mistakes both in judgment and communication were made. As a direct result, clearly inappropriate content was aired and then re-aired without editing. Both were errors on our part.

“To address this, we have enhanced the editorial oversight of the show and have taken appropriate disciplinary measures with the personnel responsible for these failures. We will continue to discuss important issues in sports on First Take, including race. Debate is an integral part of sports and we will continue to engage in it onFirst Take. However, we believe what we have learned here and the steps we have taken will help us do all that better.”

Many have speculated that Parker would lose his job over the statements.  I’m sure the leash will be extra sort when he returns.

It is also interesting what types of “editorial oversight” the network and producers will take to ensure these events do not happen again.

It is clear ESPN has taken to being more debate-driven, given that sports news does not get generated on a level to keep up with our 24/7 lifestyles.  SportsCenter is stale after it first airs.  This will be a big issue facing ESPN in the coming months as it struggles to find an information niche to fit into its multiple platforms.

ESPN2/ESPNU/ESPN3 has Coverage of NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship

ESPN2, ESPNU, and ESPN3 will be the home of coverage of the NCAA Women’s Division 1 Volleyball Championships.

Here is the schedule:

Date Time (ET) Game Network
Fri, Dec. 7 5 p.m. Division I Women’s Volleyball Regional Semifinal
#12 BYU vs. #5 Oregon
5 p.m. Division I Women’s Volleyball Regional Semifinal
#16 Kentucky vs #1 Penn State
5 p.m. Division I Men’s College Cup Semifinal
#3 Georgetown vs. #2 Maryland
6 p.m. Division I Women’s Volleyball Regional Semifinal
Wichita State vs. No. 6 Southern Cal
7 p.m. Division I Women’s Volleyball Regional Semifinal
#13 Washington vs. # 4 Nebraska
7 p.m. Division I Women’s Volleyball Regional Semifinal
Purdue vs. #8 Minnesota
7:30 p.m. Division I Men’s College Cup Semifinal
#16 Indiana vs. #12 Creighton
8 p.m. Division I Women’s Volleyball Regional Semifinal
#14 Florida vs. #3 Texas
8 p.m. Division I Women’s Volleyball Regional Semifinal
Michigan State vs. Michigan
10 p.m. Division I Women’s Volleyball Regional Semifinal
#15 Iowa State vs. # 2 Stanford
Sat, Dec. 8 4 p.m. Division I Women’s Volleyball Regional Final ESPNU
6:30 p.m. Division I Women’s Volleyball Regional Final ESPNU
9 p.m. Division I Women’s Volleyball Regional Final ESPNU
11:30 p.m. Division I Women’s Volleyball Regional Final ESPNU
Sun, Dec. 9 2 p.m. Division I Men’s College Cup Championship ESPNU
Thu, Dec. 13 7 p.m. Division I Women’s Volleyball Semifinal ESPN2
9:30 p.m. Division I Women’s Volleyball Semifinal ESPN2
Sat, Dec. 15 7 p.m. Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship ESPN2

WTA and ATP Tennis Action on ESPN2 and ESPN3

ESPN will have coverage of the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships, the tournament which will decide the number one women’s player in the world.

22 hours of tournament action will be carried live next week on ESPN2 and ESPN3.  Patrick McEnroe and Jimmy Arias will be on the call.

ESPN3 will present 58 live hours of men’s play from the ATP Swiss Indoors Basel from Switzerland, and the ATP Valencia Open 500 in Valencia, Spain.

Here is ESPN’s schedule for the three events:

WTA Tennis This Week on ESPN Networks

Date Time (ET) Match  
Tue, Oct 23 – Fri Oct 26 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. WTA Championships Round Robin Action ESPN3
Sat, Oct 27 8 a.m. – Noon WTA Championships Semifinals ESPN3
Sun, Oct 28 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.2 – 4 p.m. WTA Championships FinalWTA Championships Final (tape delayed) ESPN3ESPN2


ATP Tennis This Week on ESPN Networks

Date Time (ET) Match  
Tue, Oct 23 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. ATP Swiss Indoors Basel ESPN3
Wed, Oct 24 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. ATP Swiss Indoors Basel ESPN3
Thur, Oct 25 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. ATP Valencia 500 ESPN3
  10 a.m. – 4 p.m. ATP Swiss Indoors Basel ESPN3
Fri, Oct 26 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. ATP Valencia 500 Quarterfinals ESPN3
  8 a.m. – 4 p.m. ATP Swiss Indoors Basel Quarterfinals ESPN3
Sat, Oct 27 8:30 a.m. – 1:30  p.m. ATP Swiss Indoors Basel Semifinals ESPN3
  10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ATP Valencia 500 Semifinal #1 ESPN3
  2 – 4:30 p.m. ATP Valencia 500 Semifinal #2 ESPN3
Sun, Oct 28 9 a.m. – Noon ATP Swiss Indoors Basel Championship ESPN3
  11 a.m. – 2 p.m. ATP Valencia 500 Championship ESPN3

Sports Media Digest- October 16, 2012

Monday Night Football Wins the Night for ESPN-  ESPN reports that last night’s Monday Night telecast between the Broncos and Chargers gave ESPN an overnight rating of 9.6 with an audience of 12.8 million viewers, winning the night, on broadcast or cable – in all key male and adult demographics. Through seven games on ESPN thus far this NFL season, MNF is averaging a 10.3 rating and 13,819,000 viewers, increases of four percent and three percent, respectively, from the same point last season.

NBC Continues to See Huge Viewership for Sunday Night Football–  NBC Sports reports that the viewership for Sunday Night Football is at it’s highest level in the seven years the network has had the rights to the telecast.  Through seven games NBC is averaging a 13.4 rating, the highest primetime NFL rating in 16 years.  The network’s average viewership is down slightly from 2011, with 22.1 million viewers tuning in this year compared to 22.2 million last year.  Sunday’s Packers/Texans game had a 11.8 rating and 19.9 million viewers, up 17% and 13% from last year’s week six match-up.

South Carolina/LSU Most Watched College Football Game This Past Weekend–  ESPN reports that last Saturday’s match-up between South Carolina and LSU averaged a 3.7 US rating and 5,978,000 viewers, making it the most watched college game of the weekend.    The game was also ESPN’s most-viewed and highest-rated regular-season college football game since September 15, 2011.

NFL Network Replay Schedule-  The NFL Network (NFLN) will be replaying three games from this weekend beginning tonight.  AT 8:00p.m. ET NFLN will re-air the Cowboys at Ravens.  At 9:30p.m. ET the Patriots at Seahawks will replay.  Tomorrow at 9:00p.m. ET NFLN will re-air last night’s Monday Night game between the Broncos and Chargers.

ESPNU’s Behind-the-Scenes College Football Programs Tonight-  ESPNU tonight will televise pair of behind-the-scenes looks at college football programs.  At 7:00p.m. ET All-Access: Duke goes inside the Blue Devils’ coaches meetings and have head coach David Cutcliffe and his assistants wired at football practice.  At 7:30p.m. ET ESPNU Road Trip’s hosts Niki Noto and Ali Nejad visit Seattle to get the first look at the new Husky Stadium with Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian and see how fans prepared for the Washington-USC game.

Three College Football Games on NBC Sports-  NBC Sports will produce three college football games this Saturday.  NBC will have coverage of Notre Dame hosting BYU at 3:30p.m. ET with Tom Hammond, Mike Mayock, and Alex Flanagan on the call.  The NBC Sports Network will telecast two games: 12:00p.m. ET Penn at Yale (Randy Moss, Anthony Herron and Kelli Johnson); 3:30p.m. ET UNLV at Boise State (Paul Burmeister,  Rod Woodson and Anthony Herron);

NASCAR Continues This Weekend on ESPN–  ESPN continues its coverage of the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series this weekend from Kansas City.  The Nationwide race takes place Saturday at 3:00p.m. ET on ESPN2.  The Sprint Cup race kicks-off Sunday at 1:00p.m. on ESPN.  Allen Bestwick calls the Sprint Cup race with Marty Reid at the mic for the Nationwide event.  Dale Jarrett is the lead analyst for both races.  Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch will be in the pits. Nicole Briscoe,  Rusty Wallace, Ray Evernham and Brad Daugherty handle pre and post race coverage.


2012 Reebok CrossFit Games on ESPN2

ESPN2 will be the exclusive home of the  2012 Reebok CrossFit Games.  

For the second straight year ESPN2 will televise the high-intensity fitness competitions for both men and women. All 17 episodes of the event  will also be available via WatchESPN, while ESPN Mobile TV and ESPN TV on Demand will air select episodes.

Here the schedule of ESPN2’s coverage of the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games:

Date Time (ET) Competition Networks
Tue, Sept. 11 10 p.m. Camp Pendleton Endurance Test (Men & Women) ESPN2, WatchESPN
  11 p.m. Camp Pendleton Obstacle Course (Women) ESPN2, WatchESPN
  11:30 p.m. Ball Toss & Track Triplet (Women) ESPN2, WatchESPN
Wed, Sept. 12 10 p.m. Camp Pendleton Obstacle Course (Men) ESPN2, WatchESPN
  10:30 p.m. Ball Toss & Track Triplet (Men) ESPN2, WatchESPN
Tue, Sept. 18 10:30 p.m. Medicine Ball & Handstand Pushups (Women) ESPN2, WatchESPN
  11 p.m. Sprint & Rope – Sled (Women) ESPN2, WatchESPN
  11:30 p.m. Clean Ladder & Weight Lifting (Women) ESPN2, WatchESPN
Wed, Sept. 19 8:30 p.m. Medicine Ball & Handstand Pushups (Men) ESPN2, WatchESPN
  9 p.m. Sprint & Rope – Sled (Men) ESPN2, WatchESPN
  9:30 p.m. Clean Ladder & Weightlifting (Men) ESPN2, WatchESPN
Tue, Sept. 25 9 p.m. Chipper (Women) ESPN2, WatchESPN
  9:30 p.m. Double Banger (Women) ESPN2, WatchESPN
  10 p.m. Elizabeth, Isabel & Fran (Women) ESPN2, WatchESPN, ESPN TV On Demand
Wed, Sept. 26 9 p.m. Chipper (Men) ESPN2, WatchESPN
9:30 p.m. Double Banger (Men) ESPN2, WatchESPN
10 p.m. Elizabeth, Isabel & Fran (Men) ESPN2, WatchESPN, ESPN TV On Demand

Sports Media Digest- August 23, 2012

Costas Tonight to Feature Paterno Book Author-  NBC Sports has announced that Bob Costas will be interviewing author Joe Posnanski on the next edition of Costas Tonight.  Posnanski is the author of the biography Paterno, looking at the life of the former Penn State football coach.  Posnanski had unfettered access to Paterno, including during the revelations last fall of inappropriate sexual activity involving former Penn State assistant Jerry Sandusky.  Costas Tonight will air Wednesday, August 29th at 9:00p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.

Fox NFL Preseason Schedule Continues Sunday–  Fox Sports will telecast one NFL preseason game this Sunday as the San Francisco 49’ers take on the Denver Broncos in Denver.  Curt Menefee and Terry Bradshaw begin the coverage at 4:00p.m. ET with Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, and Pam Oliver calling the action.  Erin Andrews is expected to join the studio team at halftime.

Harrison Joins Dial Global/NBC Sports Radio Team-  Dial Global and NBC Sports announced today that former NFL defensive back Rodney Harrison will be joining the talent line-up on the yet-to-be launched NBC Sports Network.  Harrison, who also works as an analyst for NBC Sports’ NFL studio show Football Night in America will host  Safety Blitz with Rodney Harrison which will debut the weekend of September 8th.  Harrison will also be featured during the week with live guest appearances on other NBC Sports Radio talk shows.

The PGA Tour Playoffs Begin this Weekend on CBS-  CBS Sports will telecast the first leg of the PGA Tour FedEx Cup Playoffs this weekend with coverage of The Barclays from Bethpage Black in New York.  Coverage begins Saturday at 3:00p.m. and Sunday at 2:00p.m. ET with Jim Nantz and Sir Nick Faldo anchoring the coverage at the 18th green.  Ian Baker Finch has the call at the 17th with Gary McCord on 16.  David Feherty and Peter Kostis return as on-course reporters.  

Braves/Giants and Rays/Rangers on ESPN Sunday and Monday-  ESPN has a pair of games with playoff potential this Sunday and Monday.  Sunday Night Baseball will pit the Atlanta Braves and the San Fransisco Giants beginning at 8:00p.m. ET with Dan Shulman, John Kruk, Orel Hershiser and Buster Olney on the call.  Monday at 8:00p.m. ET the Texas Rangers host the Tampa Rays on Monday Night Baseball with Sean McDonough and analysts Aaron Boone and Rick Sutcliffe and reporter Tim Kurkjian.

Soccer This Weekend On ESPN2-  ESPN2 will have a pair of soccer matches, one from the English Premier League and another from the MLS this weekend.  Saturday at 7:30a.m. ET Ian Darke and Steve McManaman will call the EPL match-up between Swansea City and West Ham United.  Sunday at 9:00p.m.  Sporting Kansas City will host the New York Red Bulls with Adrian Healey, Taylor Twellman and Alexi Lalas on the call.

Sports Media Digest- July 23, 2012

ESPN has Soccer Twin Bill Wednesday-  As part of its Summer Soccer Series, ESPN will have a double header this Wednesday on ESPN2, ESPN3 and ESPN Deportes.  The first match will be the friendly between Liverpool FC and AS Roma from Fenway Park. Derek Rae and Robbie Mustoe will call the match on ESPN2 while Richard Mendez and Tato Noriega will call the play on ESPN Deportes beginning at 6:30p.m. ET. The nightcap will feature the MLS All-Stars against Chelsea FC with Adrian Healey, Taylor Twellman and Mónica González at the mic.

Senior Open Championship This Week on ESPN-  The ESPN golf crew will stay in Great Britain as the Senior Open Championship takes place this weekend.  ESPN2 and ESPN3 will air action from the first two rounds Thursday and Friday from noon until 2 p.m.  ESPN will take over for the third round Saturday, and then returns to ESPN2 for the final round on Sunday from noon until 2 p.m. both days. ESPN3 also will air the Saturday and Sunday coverage. Peter Alliss will host joined by two-time U.S. Open champions Andy Northand Curtis Strange.

Dodgers/Cardinals on Wednesday Night Baseball– ESPN’s Wednesday Night Baseball this week will feature the Los Angeles Dodgers at the St. Louis Cardinals. Dave O’Brien will call the game with analyst Nomar Garciaparra.  Pedro Gomez will serve as the on-site reporter.  First pitch is 8:00p.m. ET.

ESPN, ESPN2, and ABC’s Coverage of the X Games

ESPN, ESPN2, and ABC Sports will combine to provide 21 hours of coverage to the 2012 X Games.

Sal Masekela will host all 21 hours of the X Games on television, beginning June 28th and running through July 1st.  ESPN analyst and pro snowboarder, Keir Dillon, and ESPN the Magazine’s senior writer, Alyssa Roenigk, will host X Center nightly in HD on ESPN2, and ESPN 3D will telecast all 21 hours of X Games Los Angeles live.

Tony Hawk, Jeremy McGrath, Dennis McCoy, and Kevin Robinson return to the telecast this year as analysts for the Skateboard, Moto X and BMX Freestyle competitions, respectively.

“The X Games brand has grown over the years and has become relevant to a wide audience across the globe and especially to youth,” said Scott Guglielmino, senior vice president programming and X Games in a press release.  “As always, our mission is to serve the fan whenever and whenever they want to consume X Games content.  So we’re making live X Games content available across multiple platforms and devices. We want to share the X Games experience with fans around the world and on whatever device they have with them.”

Women’s College World Series Begins Tomorrow on ESPN2

The 2012 Women’s College World Series will begin tomorrow afternoon on ESPN2

ESPNU will have the Women’s College World Series Pre-Game Show beginning at Noon ET.  Game One starts at 1:00p.m. ET on ESPN2.

Here is tomorrow’s schedule:

Thu, May 31 Noon WCWS Pre-Game Show ESPNU
1 p.m. South Florida vs. #4 Oklahoma
Pam Ward and Michele Smith
3:30 p.m. LSU vs. #1 California
Pam Ward and Michele Smith
  7 p.m. #7 Tennessee vs. #2 Alabama
Beth Mowins and Jessica Mendoza
  9:30 p.m. #11 Oregon vs. #3 Arizona State
Beth Mowins and Jessica Mendoza
  11:30 p.m. WCWS Post-Game Show ESPNU