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Colin Cowherd Likely to Leave Speak For Yourself

Jason Barrett

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As first reported by Michael McCarthy of the Sporting News, Colin Cowherd’s tenure on FS1’s “Speak For Yourself” could be coming to an end. The early evening program which includes Jason Whitlock, premiered in June 2016, and is reportedly being considered for expansion from one to two hours. With Colin having a full plate already with his daily TV/radio simulcast of “The Herd”, and regular involvement of “FOX NFL Kickoff,” an exit from the show might benefit all involved.

The 54-year old Cowherd signed a four year deal to leave ESPN and join FS1 in August 2015. Programming whiz Jamie Horowitz played a huge role in recruiting and convincing Cowherd to change networks, but Horowitz was let go in July 2017. With a little more than a year left on his original contract, might this be a way to ease Cowherd’s workload and keep one of the network’s most important stars happy and fresh? ESPN Radio Senior Vice President Traug Keller confirmed on the Barrett Sports Media Podcast that the door remains open for Cowherd to return to ESPN and FS1 can’t afford at this point to lose one of its most important assets.

If Cowherd does indeed exit Speak For Yourself later this year, the question for FS1 boss Charlie Dixon becomes whether to replace his spot or make Whitlock the star and add a supporting cast around him. FS1 does have access to a number of high profile personalities including Doug Gottlieb, Chris Broussard, Ray Lewis, Tony Gonzalez, Trent Dilfer, and Jason McIntyre, plus the company has shown it’s not afraid to open up their checkbook to lure quality talent from other places.

McCarthy points out in his piece that the show is likely to feature more news-making interviews with Whitlock in the future. Some of the largest attention to come FS1’s way has been due to interviews on its shows. Conversations which have stood out include Michael Vick talking to Whitlock about Colin Kaepernick needing to get a haircut if he’s allowed back in the NFL, and Terry Bradshaw stating that Mike Tomlin of the Steelers is not a great coach. LaVar Ball’s dust up with Cowherd and Kristine Leahy was another appearance that garnered mainstream media coverage.

While the situation with Cowherd remains in flux, there are other matters to solve too. One pressing issues is figuring out who to replace Leahy with on “The Herd”. Joy Taylor has been mentioned as a possible consideration, but her exit from “Undisputed” would need Skip Bayless’ blessing. If Skip gives the green light, Holly Sonders is seen as a possible replacement for Taylor alongside Bayless and Shannon Sharpe.

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Pac-12 Networks Content Could Be Headed To ACC Network

“Dellenger and Forde report that talks to make the deal a reality are in the very early stages.”

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ESPN has been at the center of a lot of conversations about the future of college sports following the Big Ten plucking UCLA and USC out of the Pac-12. The network could be part of a broadcasting partnership that is meant to secure the futures of the Pac-12 and the ACC.

In a joint report for Sports Illustrated, Ross Dellenger and Pat Forde write that the two conferences would not merge, but that the ACC Network could get renamed and include content centered on both conferences.

A deal like this would pay dividends for all involved. The ACC would get more TV revenue and the Pac-12 would get broader distribution that it had with its proprietary Pac-12 Networks, which was reportedly struggling to even stay afloat. It could also secure the conference’s future as some members consider leaving for the Big 12. As for ESPN, this deal would put them back in business with the Pac-12.

A programming alliance between the two conferences could create some marquee non-conference matchups for football and basketball. That would give ESPN event programming to promote and sell.

Dellenger and Forde report that talks to make the deal a reality are in the very early stages. They write that “those briefed on the ACC–Pac-12 proposal believe it has plenty of hurdles to clear and details to be ironed out before becoming a reality.”

The obvious question all parties involved will want to be answered is would merging ACC Network and Pac-12 Networks content generate enough new revenue to make the move viable. Sources told Sports Illustrated that it is what they will be focused on if talks progress.

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Brian Windhorst Explains What Was Behind His Viral Rant

“To be honest with you, part of what I was doing was trying to do was avoid aggregation,” he said. “Because if I come out and go I think the Jazz are going to trade Rudy Gobert today, then everything on the internet is ‘Windhorst Report: Jazz trade Gobert.’ And then maybe they don’t trade him.”

Jordan Bondurant

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There wasn’t a ton of NBA free agency news leading into the long holiday weekend last week, but what news there was became wildly more interesting thanks to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

Windhorst, appearing on First Take on Friday, went on an entertaining rant about the Utah Jazz trading Royce O’Neale to Brooklyn, throwing tidbits out there that insinuated more was to come.

The monologue went viral and became the subject of plenty of memes.

Talking on his podcast Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective, Windhorst explained that the ‘A’ block of First Take is 30 minutes long, much different than the other ESPN shows he appears on. He said he approached it from a podcasting perspective and added that First Take was really the only place he could’ve pulled something like that off given a multitude of factors.

“It had to have occurred on a show like that,” Windhorst said. “So I was able to kind of draw out and kind of have a conversation about the Utah Jazz.”

Windhorst said he knew the Jazz were going to trade Rudy Gobert, which happened not long after his rant started circulating the internet. But he said he needed to avoid tipping others in the media off or potentially even wrecking the trade before it became official.

“To be honest with you, part of what I was doing was trying to do was avoid aggregation,” he said. “Because if I come out and go I think the Jazz are going to trade Rudy Gobert today, then everything on the internet is ‘Windhorst Report: Jazz trade Gobert.’ And then maybe they don’t trade him.”

Windhorst said he knew he was becoming the subject of many a meme, but after being on the road so long and away from home covering the NBA playoffs, he didn’t really have a chance to relish in the moment.

“I came back home and had nonstop family stuff to do, and they didn’t care about any of that,” he said. “I was getting like 250 text messages and seeing all these memes, but I had to prepare for the people we had coming over for the 4th of July. I couldn’t really focus on it.”

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Sports TV News

UFC Draws Record Ratings for UFC 276 Prelims on ESPN and ABC

The ratings make it the second-most watched UFC telecast since the promotion began airing on ESPN in 2019. It was also the top telecast ever for a preliminary card.

Jordan Bondurant

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UFC, ESPN and ABC have plenty to celebrate following this weekend’s UFC 276 pay-per-view.

Ratings for the preliminary card show a combined audience of 1.8 million tuned in across ABC and ESPN. ABC drew 929,000 viewers for their portion of the card, which marked the first time UFC aired in primetime on the network.

ESPN drew 871,000 in the lead-up to the main card from Las Vegas.

The ratings make it the second-most watched UFC telecast since the promotion began airing on ESPN in 2019. It was also the top telecast ever for a preliminary card.

UFC will return to ABC on July 16 but won’t air in primetime. Coverage of UFC Fight Night from UBS Arena on Long Island will air in the afternoon.

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