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Mike Francesa is Desus & Mero’s Final Guest

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Last night saw the finale of Viceland’s hit late night show Desus & Mero. Its hosts Desus Nice and The Kid Mero have signed with Showtime and will produce a weekly show for the premium cable network beginning this fall.

In a move that TV Guide called “the most New York thing ever on TV,” Desus and Mero, two native New Yorkers and die hard Yankees fans, invited WFAN’s Mike Francesa to join them as the show’s final guest. After a long preview of this weekend’s Yankees/Red Sox series (including a history of brawls between the teams) Francesa told the show about the criticism he used to receive for being “too New York” while calling NCAA Tournament games on CBS. They also discussed his approach to dealing with bad callers and meeting fans in person.

Both Desus & Mero and Mike Francesa acknowledged that Bill Simmons helped connect the two sides. Francesa said Simmons told him that appearing on Desus & Mero would raise his street cred.

Liam Matthews of TV Guide pointed out that he was disappointed the duo didn’t do their impression of Francesa for the Sports Pope himself, noting that it has become a staple of their podcast Bodega Boys.

Desus and Mero grew up listening to Francesa, because everyone in New York and its suburbs’ dad listened to him, and so they’re understandably obsessed with him. Mero does an incredible impression of Francesa on Bodega Boys as an angry, lazy Diet Coke-addicted racist. He doesn’t do the Francesa impression to Francesa’s face in the interview, which is a little disappointing, but Desus does ask about the Diet Cokes. If Francesa eventually finds out about Mero’s impression, he’ll probably be mad, but I hope he’ll know it comes from a place of love.

You can see an extended cut of the interview below, but note there’s plenty of NSFW language.

Sports TV News

FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage

“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”

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The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.

Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.

“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.

Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.

How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.

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Sports TV News

NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake

“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”

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The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.

“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”

Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.

Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.

Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”

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Sports TV News

Greg Olsen Believes He and Kevin Burkhardt Can Handle Games ‘On Any Stage’

“Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

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Greg Olsen

Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen are on tap to call Super Bowl LVII in February, and Olsen told Front Office Sports he has the confidence to announce the game with no hesitations.

“If you’re asking me, I think Kevin and I have shown that we can handle a game on any stage – on any day. We just did it on Thanksgiving. We’ll do it again around Christmas. And obviously throughout the [NFL] Playoffs,” said Olsen. “So whatever decision they make. Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

“But as of now, I anticipate Kevin and I, the two of us, with Erin and Tom down on the sidelines, the four of us, broadcasting the Super Bowl in February in Arizona. Until I’m told otherwise, that’s how we’re proceeding.”

Olsen also told FOS he has negotiated a new contract with FOX Sports, but declined to share details. He is slated to be replaced on the top broadcast crew once Tom Brady ends his playing career. Brady will then begin a 10-year, $375 million contract to serve as the network’s top NFL game analyst and brand ambassador.

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