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TBS Eyeing Bob Costas To Anchor NLCS Coverage

“The sportscasting legend has stayed busy since stepping away from NBC in 2018.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: Brett Davis USA TODAY Sports

Bob Costas could be back hosting coverage at a major sporting event very soon. Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports that TBS and Bob Costas are working towards a deal that has the veteran broadcaster hosting coverage of the 2021 National League Championship Series this fall.

The NLCS is Turner’s prized MLB property, and they are seeking veteran help on the venture from Oct. 15-24. Ernie Johnson would normally host the show, but Turner wants to alleviate some of his workload as the NBA season, and Inside the NBA, tips off on Oct. 19.

Johnson won’t miss the MLB playoffs entirely. Marchand said sources still expect the 65-year-old broadcasting point guard to handle his normal playoff hosting duties before the NLCS. He held the role last year after former host Casey Stern stepped away to deal with family issues.

Costas has backed away from the bright lights of NBC sports coverage, but he still loves baseball and is calling divisional-round games for MLB Network. Costas won’t have any rust to shake off if the NLCS agreement is finalized.

The sportscasting legend has stayed busy since stepping away from NBC in 2018. He is involved with MLB coverage as mentioned above and also signed with CNN as a contributor last year. 

“Bob Costas is a legendary, respected voice across the spectrum of sports and beyond,” said CNN President and WarnerMedia News and Sports Chairman Jeff Zucker when the network hired Costas last year. “As the world continues to change amid the coronavirus pandemic, we are confident that Bob’s insightful analysis will help our viewers better understand what the future holds as the sports and teams we love evolve to meet this moment.”

Zucker and Costas have known each other since the former’s first TV job as a researcher during the 1988 Olympics. Costas also hosts Back on the Record for HBO, another facet of the WarnerMedia empire.

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

Jordan Bondurant

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YES Network

The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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