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No Regrets For Eisen Leaving ESPN

Jason Barrett

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The 2015 NFL season kicks off tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET when the Pittsburgh Steelers visit the New England Patriots. To help get you in the mood, we caught up with NFL Network anchor Rich Eisen to discuss his show, leaving ESPN and why he runs the 40-yard dash in a suit. Eisen also tells us his favorite meals, TV shows and admits his love for Jon Stewart.

In addition to being the face of the NFL Network, Eisen hosts The Rich Eisen Show weekdays from noon-3 p.m. ET on DirecTV channel 229. The show is also syndicated via Premiere Radio Networks, airs on Fox Sports Radio and is available on the NFL Now app.

TVNewser: You are getting ready to celebrate the first anniversary of The Rich Eisen Show. How’s the show doing these days?

Eisen: The show is doing great. The lights still work. And apparently, with the phone lines lighting up every day, so do the microphones. Our affiliate group is over 190 strong and now includes Sirius/XM Radio with the guest list getting more and more diverse by the day. For instance, on the very first day of the first NFL week of the season, we had both the Captain of the New York GiantsEli Manning and Captain America himself Chris Evans call in to the program. With us launching in the first week of October last year, I can’t wait to be in the chair every single day of the NFL season to take fans along for the ride.

TVNewser: You were the first anchor added to the NFL Network staff when it launched in 2003. Was it a tough decision to leave ESPN for a start-up network?

Eisen: Not really. By the time I left ESPN in 2003, SportsCenter had become a far different show than the one I initially joined in 1996. Thanks to the proliferation of information being consumed on mobile devices and the internet, management changed SportsCenter from being a show where highlights and storytelling ruled the day to a show where analysts ruled the day. In other words, with the growing assumption that people tuning into the show had already seen the highlights, SportsCenter went from a show about WHAT happened to a show about WHY something happened, with a debate between analysts attached. The role of host had changed entirely, so I asked to do other things in addition to SportsCenter. When that was mostly refused by management in charge at the time, moving out to Los Angeles to be the tip of the spear of a new channel devoted to the NFL became a no-brainer.

TVNewser: You famously run the 40-yard dash every year at the NFL Scouting Combine. It’s impressive, but why do you wear a suit?

Eisen: I wear a suit for two reasons. One, it’s my uniform. The Combine athletes run in theirs and I run in mine. Secondly, no one should be subjected to me wearing spandex. Heck, I should never subject myself to that.

TVNewser: You and ESPN’s Adam Schefter both went to Michigan for undergrad and then Northwestern for a master’s degree. So, if a young person out there wants to be an NFL broadcaster… is UM followed by Northwestern basically the road map to success?

Eisen: It’s not a bad roadmap whatsoever. That said, the number of ways to create content and distribute it these day are far greater than the time when Adam and I ran that journalism gauntlet in Ann Arbor and Evanston at the time. I’m sure if Adam had a website on which to blog and I had a YouTube account through which to post my broadcasts and stories on-line back in the day, we would have jumped at those chances. Thankfully it all worked out.

TVNewser: Ok, what’s your favorite meal in the country. Exact restaurant and order, please.

Eisen: On the East Coast: Rao’s. Meatballs, peas and prosciutto. Chicken parm. And toss in a slice of steak to boot. On the West Coast: Craig’s Restaurant in Los Angeles, whitefish grilled with olive oil, sauteed spinach with a cup of marinara sauce on the side.

TVNewser: What non-sports TV show are you currently watching?

Eisen: With Game of Thrones on a break, my wife, Suzy, and I have started re-watching Deadwood on HBO on Demand. It’s truly one of the greatest shows of all time. We hope the rumored movie reboot of the show is actually happening. I also already desperately miss Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. Watched him every night. He’s a genius.

Credit to AdWeek who originally published this article

Sports TV News

Kevin Negandhi: I’m the Same on SportsCenter As I Am In Real Life

“I’ve always just tried to find that blend where I can be respectful for the audience and have a good time and have fun delivering highlights.”

Ricky Keeler

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Kevin Negandhi has been one of the hosts of the 6:00 PM ET SportsCenter on ESPN over the last few years. Even in this prominent role, Negandhi takes great pride in making sure the viewer is being entertained and getting an escape from the real world, at least for an hour.

Negandhi was a guest on The Adam Schein Podcast this week and Schein asked him how he would describe his broadcast style. He wanted to make it clear that if you met him on the street, he is the same person that you see on ESPN.

“I’m the person that you would meet casually, I’m the same person on TV. I’ve always said that I represent not just my family, not just where I’m from, I represent the passion of the great area and region that is Philadelphia. When you see me on TV, I feel like I’m letting you into a conversation I would normally have with you if we were talking about something. You are here for an escape, let’s talk about it because I got in the business because I passionately love sports. It was my connection with my family growing up. Connection with my family still to this day. It’s kind of like get in with us.”

Whenever Negandhi is hosting SportsCenter, he told Schein he tries to find a good mix of giving the highlights and the news while also understanding that the viewer is looking to be entertained as well.

“I’ve always just tried to find that blend where I can be respectful for the audience and have a good time and have fun delivering highlights and delivering the news and making sure you are entertained but at the same time understanding that I’m having fun with you while you are watching us as an escape.”

One other broadcaster that stands out for not being just a broadcaster according to Negandhi is Scott Van Pelt because Van Pelt is comfortable being himself and doesn’t have a filter.

“Scott Van Pelt really stands out to me because when you watch Scott, there is no filter with Scott. He’s not a broadcaster. Scott is Scott and he is comfortable in his skin.”

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Sports TV News

MLS Season Pass Debuts on Apple TV

The first MLS season begins on Saturday, February 25th, with Nashville SC taking on New York City FC. All matches will be available for free during the first week of the season.

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MLS Season Pass on Apple TV debuted to much fanfare for Major League Soccer fans Wednesday.

Fans from around the world will be able to watch every MLS contest as the launch of the service begins the streaming platform’s 10-year, $2.5 billion media rights contract with the American soccer league.

With the debut of the service, most MLS games will now take place on Saturdays and select Wednesdays with 7:30 PM local start times.

MLS Season Pass will feature several prominent soccer voices, including analysts Taylor Twellman and Cobi Jones, play-by-play man Max Bretos, and studio host Liam McHugh.

The MLS season begins on Saturday, February 25th, with Nashville SC taking on New York City FC. All matches will be available for free during the first week of the season.

The streaming service will cost $14.99 per month or $99 per season, with existing AppleTV+ subscribers being offered the package at a discounted price of $12.99 per month or $79 for the season.

MLS Season Pass launches on a wide range of viewing platforms. Not only is the service available on televisions, smartphones, and tablets, but it can also be viewed on smart TVs, computers, and video game consoles.

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Sports TV News

MLB Network Dropped By YouTube TV

“MLB Network has offered terms consistent with what close to 300 other U.S. providers have agreed to for distribution.”

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After contract negotiations stalled, YouTube TV dropped MLB Network from its channel lineup.

“We apologize for the news and will continue conversations with the MLB to advocate on your behalf, in the hope of restoring their content on YouTube TV,” an email to YouTube TV subscribers said.

MLB Network was previously included in YouTube TV’s $64.99 per month plan before being dropped Tuesday.

Spring Training for MLB franchises begins on February 24th.

“With Spring Training about to start, we regret that YouTube TV has been unwilling to negotiate a fair carriage agreement,” an MLB Network spokesperson told Barrett Sports Media. “MLB Network has offered terms consistent with what close to 300 other U.S. providers have agreed to for distribution.

“With the great demand and value for live baseball content, Major League Baseball’s commitment to MLB Network now and in the future is stronger than ever before, and we remain open and committed to reaching an agreement with YouTube TV as soon as possible.”

YouTube TV has gone through several carriage disputes in the past, with most — like those with NBCUniversal and Disney — being resolved after short disruptions to subscribers.

Viewers affected by the decision from YouTube TV can go to findlmbnetwork.com to see alternative options.

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