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Will Cowherd Face FS1 Pre-Empts?

Jason Barrett

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Now that Colin Cowherd and ESPN have officially made their split, it is time for the host to look into his crystal ball and analyze his time at Fox Sports 1. His show is going to be simulcast in a similar fashion to The Mike Francesa Show, though Cowherd’s radio side will reportedly have a national syndication arm through Premiere. Seeing the way Francesa’s show has been regularly pushed to the lightly distributed Fox Sports 2, should Cowherd be worried his show gets the same treatment?

It hasn’t always been rocky for Mike Francesa. After splitting with Chris Russo in 2008, Francesa began hosting solo from 1-6:30 eastern on WFAN. His show was simulcast on the regional YES Network until 2014, when they opted to air The Michael Kay Show instead. Since then, everything has seemingly gone downhill for Francesa. He found a new television home with the Fox Sports startups, who agreed to air his show from 1-4 eastern on FS1 and 4-6 eastern on FS2.

Little did Francesa know his show would be regularly preempted for live sports programming, where his show would be pushed to Fox Sports 2, or, even worse, solely on the Fox Sports Go app. This was a new obstacle for the Sports Pope, who only saw live Yankee games take the place of his show when it was on YES. Preemptions happen, though Francesa finds soccer to be less entertaining than watching his show. He should have known better, as his local sports talk show has been annihilated in the ratings by the world’s most popular sport. Francesa has vocalized his disdain toward preemptions on numerous occasions, complaints that have soured his relationship with Fox Sports and CBS Sports Radio. At least Jay and Dan have had some fun with the whole situation.

Mike Francesa is a big fish in the biggest local pond, but Colin Cowherd is a big fish in the national pond, something that gives him a much larger reach. If Cowherd’s new radio show is a direct replacement for Mike Francesa, these same preemptions could be a problem. That said, with Cowherd’s impressive reach, the ratings issue wouldn’t be as big of a deal, not to mention his following would find Fox Sports 2 or clamor at their cable providers to carry the channel. This would lead to Fox Sports 2 in more homes and could help turn it into a viable third-tier sports network.

Part of the problem with forecasting preemptions for a Colin Cowherd show is that a time slot has yet to be revealed. This issue has already been covered, though it was likely complicated by Cowherd’s comments that ended his time at the Worldwide Leader. Assuming he inhabits the same slot that made him a big name at ESPN, live event preemption won’t be as big of a problem – most of the NASCAR and soccer events that Fox has the rights to occur in the afternoon. Furthermore, Cowherd would actually reach more subscribers than he did on ESPNU and would be a big draw for a network struggling to earn viewership outside of live events. Fox Sports has to tiptoe across a very fine line considering their radio arm airs two competitors in the Dan Patrick Show and the Rich Eisen Show and now their television arm will be simulcasting a direct competitor. If that last sentence sounds complicated to read, just imagine what is happening behind the scenes at Fox.

When it comes to the marriage of Colin Cowherd and Fox Sports 1, there are multiple factors that could affect future success, including competition within and without. But the one thing that’s the biggest difference between Cowherd and Francesa at Fox is the network’s investment. Fox is merely simulcasting Francesa’s show from WFAN and can move it and preempt it as they wish with no loss to themselves. They’ll be paying Cowherd in the range of several million dollars per year. That fact alone makes Cowherd’s show a programming priority that Francesa’s show never could be.

Credit to Awful Announcing who originally published this article

Sports TV News

Ian Rapoport: I Have Never Thought It is Me vs Adam Schefter

“I don’t even think that, it’s just I report what I know, and he reports what he knows.”

Jordan Bondurant

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In terms of NFL insiders, Ian Rapoport and Adam Schefter are the two biggest names out there. And sometimes it can be a race between the two to get the biggest scoops first. Especially now with the NFL coaching carousel in full swing.

This week two teams hired new head coaches – the Broncos traded two first round picks to the Saints to acquire the rights to Sean Payton and the Texans signed DeMeco Ryans.

Rapoport tweeted that Denver had pursued Ryans up until the day they announced the trade for Payton.

Not even 15 minutes later, Schefter appeared to clarify the information out there with the two teams.

On The Pat McAfee Show on Thursday, Pat McAfee referred to the conflicting information as a “source off.”

Ian said he stood behind what he put out there.

“I know it’s fun to call it a source off or whatever, but for me I reported what I had based on the best information I can get – based on talking to many, many people throughout the course of the last month,” Rapoport said from the Senior Bowl. “And then whatever happens as a result of this I don’t really mind.”

In terms of any sort of rivalry between him and Schefter, Rapoport doesn’t view it as a head-to-head matchup.

“I don’t even think that, it’s just I report what I know, and he reports what he knows,” he said. “And everyone can sort of judge for themselves whichever way to go.”

McAfee gave kudos to Rapoport for his reporting on the Ryans situation. He also said it’s a good thing Rapoport doesn’t worry himself too much about what other insiders are doing.

“I think you should feel good about it, but I do like a good source off,” McAfee said. “And I appreciate the fact that you don’t view it as you versus Schefter. But you two are at the top of the game. So that’s a compliment more so than anything.”

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Sports TV News

AEW Considers Launching Streaming Service

“It’s possible an AEW streaming service could be independent, but many are hopeful AEW’s offerings would be available on HBO Max or Discovery+ akin to how WWE Network is now available on Peacock.”

Jordan Bondurant

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All Elite Wrestling is looking into launching its own streaming service.

According to reporting from Bloomberg, a source “familiar with management’s thinking” said AEW is looking to strike a deal with broadcast partner Warner Bros. Discovery.

Since launching in 2019, AEW now puts on two weekly shows on Warner channels TBS and TNT and airs two shows on YouTube.

Last year AEW acquired Ring of Honor from Sinclair Broadcast Group. As part of that deal, AEW took ownership of RoH’s extensive content library Honor Club. So much like WWE did with WWE Network when it launched in 2014, AEW could launch its streaming service and have all of Ring of Honor’s content in a one-stop shop.

It’s possible an AEW streaming service could be independent, but many are hopeful AEW’s offerings would be available on HBO Max or Discovery+ akin to how WWE Network is now available on Peacock.

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Sports TV News

NBC Officially Unveils Noah Eagle, Todd Blackledge as New Big Ten Booth

“With their collective college football experience and great enthusiasm for the game, Todd, Noah and Kathryn join a production team that can’t wait to kick off the Big Ten season.”

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It’s officially official: Noah Eagle, Todd Blackledge, and Kathryn Tappen will join the Big Ten on NBC booth when the network begins airing the conference’s football package in 2023.

NBC made the announcement Thursday, after weeks of speculation about the moves.

“We are excited to showcase Big Ten Saturday Night on the NBC Sports’ primetime marquee,” said NBC Sports Executive Producer Sam Flood. “When you hear Todd’s voice, you know it’s a big college football game. It has been that way for decades.

“Noah is one of the industry’s rising young play-by-play commentators, who has excelled calling numerous sports across multiple platforms for a wide range of audiences. We are thrilled to pair him in the booth with Todd.

“Kathryn has told the stories of so many memorable Notre Dame Football moments over the last decade in her on-field reporting and interviews,” Flood continued. “With their collective college football experience and great enthusiasm for the game, Todd, Noah and Kathryn join a production team that can’t wait to kick off the Big Ten season.”

Blackledge joins NBC after working as a college football analyst for the network for the past 17 seasons. Previously, he was the an analyst for CBS and ABC, making 2023 his 30th consecutive season covering college football as an analyst.

Eagle is the son of broadcasting legend Ian Eagle, and currently serves as the radio voice of the Los Angeles Clippers. He comes to NBC after calling college football games for FOX Sports in 2022.

Tappen has spent the past nine seasons working NBC’s college football coverage with Notre Dame. Eight of those nine seasons were spent as the network’s sideline reporter before anchoring the studio coverage from South Bend in 2022.

2023 will mark the beginning of a seven-year contract for NBC to air Big Ten football games in primetime. The move is one of the biggest notable expansions in the college football arena for the network since its partnership with Notre Dame began in 1991.

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