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Sunday NFL Countdown is on the Road This Week

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ESPN is taking its NFL pregame show Sunday NFL Countdown on the road this week. It will be just the third time the show has originated from somewhere other than the Bristol studio in its 33 year history. The show will originate from Manning’s Sports Bar and Grille just down the road from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans as the undefeated Rams get set to face the 6-1 Saints.

We could see some crossover between Sunday NFL Countdown and ESPN’s college football pregame show College Gameday, which will be live from Baton Rouge, Louisiana the day before when top-ranked Alabama visits third-ranked LSU. In a press release, Stephanie Durley, ESPN’s Vice President of Events and Studio Production, acknowledged that the chance to put both shows in Louisiana on back-to-back days is what made the idea of taking the NFL show on the road appealing.

It’s a big football weekend in Louisiana and ESPN will be a part of it with College GameDay and Sunday NFL Countdown,” said Stephanie Druley, ESPN Senior Vice President, Events and Studio Production. “With the NFL’s only remaining undefeated team and the No. 1 team in college football playing pivotal away games on consecutive days so close to each other, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to send these two signature shows on the road.

The added benefit of any cross-over between the two shows is that Samantha Ponder, who now hosts Sunday NFL Countdown, is a former correspondent for College Gameday and was the sideline reporter for ABC’s primetime college football broadcast until 2016. It also would be fun to see some Gameday traditions like celebrity guest pickers and fan signs brought to an NFL environment.

 

Sports TV News

3.72 Million Tune In To See LeBron James Break Scoring Record

Jordan Bondurant

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Lakers star LeBron James surpassed the NBA’s all-time scoring record on Tuesday night, and TNT benefitted from the milestone ratings wise.

According to Sports Media Watch, Tuesday night’s game averaged 2.98 million viewers. That figure made it TNT’s biggest regular season audience in over two years.

The broadcast peaked at 3.72 million around 11:45 p.m. when James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the record.

Reporting also indicated that the game was the number one single-network program on TV in key demographics.

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Sports TV News

Disney Makes ESPN Independent Division In Corporate Restructuring

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN

Disney is in the process of reorganizing and restructuring the company, and details have emerged about the company’s plans for ESPN.

Deadline reported on Wednesday that ESPN will be one of three standalone segments comprising Disney. Entertainment and Parks, Experiences & Products are the other two segments.

The reorganization comes amid the exit of former CEO Bob Chapek and the re-entry of CEO Bob Iger. As one of Iger’s first moves back running Disney, he announced a restructuring of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

It was also reported that Jimmy Pitaro will continue as the president of ESPN.

In total, more than 7,000 jobs will be eliminated after the restructuring.

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Sports TV News

Roger Goodell: ‘Wouldn’t Surprise Me’ To See Thursday Night Football Move to Flex Scheduling

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon.”

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Thursday Night Football

In 2023, Monday Night Football will join Sunday Night Football in having the ability to flex NFL games into its window. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday Night Football could someday join that elite club.

During his “State of the League” speech Wednesday, Goodell said Thursday Night Football having the ability to flex matchups “wouldn’t at all surprise me”.

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon,” the NFL Commissioner said.

ESPN bargained for the ability to move higher profile games into Monday Night Football during its negotiations with the league for the next television contract that begins this upcoming season.

NBC has long held the ability to shift a select number of games from earlier windows into the Sunday Night Football primetime slot.

Amazon Prime Video just completed the first of an 11-year contract that sees the streaming platform spend nearly $1 billion per year on the Thursday Night Football package.

One of the largest storylines of Amazon’s debut season with the NFL was the near-constant ridicule from play-by-play announcer Al Michaels over the lackluster TNF schedule. Michaels made headlines over several weeks for his candor on the lack of interesting matchups, going as far as to joke that if the schedule didn’t improve he would retire.

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