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ESPN To Debut Podcast, Doc On 20th Anniversary Of PTI

“On the TV project, ESPN tapped their E:60 team to run the show.”

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Courtesy: ESPN

Pardon The Interruption is celebrating 20 years on the air with a new one-hour documentary and ESPN Daily podcast series. The TV special airs on Tuesday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m. ET, while the podcast series hosted by frequent PTI fill-in Pablo Torre is debuting a new episode each Saturday from Oct. 2-23.

Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser are television pioneers in a format that created “Happy Trails,” “Five Good Minutes,” and helped usher in the mailbag format with “Mail Time.” The show officially debuted on October 22, 2001, and has amassed roughly 5,000 episodes since going on the air.

Through it all, Wilbon and Kornheiser remain steadfast friends and are a beacon for top-notch chemistry in sports television.

PTI is the gold standard of sports discussion shows and one of the seminal programs in ESPN history,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN Executive Vice President, Event and Studio Production & Executive Editor. “Tony and Mike have shared a friendship for decades which has resulted in a remarkable television partnership – now 20 years strong, an incredible milestone that deserves to be celebrated.”

The podcast avenue seems fitting for a show that’s featured ESPN Daily’s Pablo Torre as a fill-in host quite a bit throughout the years. Kornheiser, Wilbon, and other well-known sports voices from across the years play a role in the project.

Names like JA Adande, David Aldridge, Frank Isola, Peter King, Dan Le Batard, Jackie MacMullan, Michele Tafoya, and Steve Young are all making appearances in the podcast series. 

On the TV project, ESPN tapped their E:60 team to run the show as Andy Tennant, Michael Baltierra, Vin Cannamela, Heather Lombardo, Dan Lindberg, and more help put the documentary special together. 

Even as they head into their third decade on the air, PTI is still the highest-rated sports studio show on television. They are averaging 626,000 viewers per episode during the first two weeks of the NFL season.

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Sports TV News

NFL Reportedly Wants Apple To Win Sunday Ticket Bidding

“While ESPN+ and Amazon are both also reportedly involved in discussions for Sunday Ticket, there isn’t much win for the league if the out of market games end up with either of those streamers.”

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NFL Sunday Ticket is on the open market. While the league is accepting bids for the out of market package, Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic reports that it does have an ideal outcome in mind.

That outcome? Kaplan writes that the NFL would like to be in business with Apple. While ESPN+ and Amazon are both also reportedly involved in discussions for Sunday Ticket, there isn’t much win for the league if the out of market games end up with either of those streamers.

“The league already has a deep partnership with Amazon, which provides stats through Amazon Web Services, and will pay $1 billion annually starting next year for exclusive rights to Thursday Night Football after carrying the midweek games nonexclusively since 2017. And the league has long been intertwined with ESPN, which surely could juice its streaming service, ESPN+, with Sunday Ticket.”

Apple is making major investments in Apple TV+, but it isn’t that streaming platform that has the NFL’s attention. The NFL wants a partnership with Apple because Apple makes hardware.

“It would marry the NFL with the company that sells arguably the globe’s most critical consumer product, the iPhone,” writes Kaplan.

It is well-known that the league would like to package Sunday Ticket with an equity stake in NFL Media. Goldman Sachs was enlisted over the summer to help sell those properties.

Representatives for the NFL declined to comment for the story. Apple owning and controlling NFL Media would ensure mass availability and an ability to stay ahead of the curve in terms of technology and presentation.

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Pat Forde: College Football Playoff Won’t Expand If ESPN Is Only Broadcaster

“Basically it comes down to an unwillingness to let the SEC and ESPN get everything it wants here more than anything else.”

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Yahoo’s Pat Forde was a guest on The Dan Patrick Show on Thursday and he made an interesting prediction. Despite all of the bluster about the College Football Playoff expanding to include 12 teams and what that could do for revenue for all of the conferences involved, the ACC, Big Ten and PAC-12 are willing to derail the process.

Commissioners of the Power Five conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, PAC-12 and SEC) met on Wednesday and didn’t even take a vote on whether to expand. Forde told DP that the decision was largely about pettiness and hurt feelings coming out of the SEC’s move to add Oklahoma and Texas.

“Basically it comes down to an unwillingness to let the SEC and ESPN get everything it wants here more than anything else.”

While ESPN has denied being involved in the effort to get the two marquee properties in the Big 12 to leave for the SEC, league commissioners are not buying it. A bigger SEC, particularly one that includes Oklahoma and Texas, likely means more of the 12 available spots go to the conference. The SEC and College Football Playoff’s exclusive media partner is Disney/ESPN.

“ESPN would be the sole media benefactor, and we don’t like what happened with Texas and Oklahoma, so we’re gonna throw a stick in the wheels here and at least slow it down,” Forde said, explaining the position of the other conference commissioners. “I still think we’re gonna get to expansion. I don’t know if it is going to be 8. I don’t know if it is going to be 12, but we’re gonna get to expansion with multiple broadcast partners is my belief.”

The College Football Playoff’s current television contract expires after the 2025 season. Forde pointed out that it is possible if everyone has the same goal that a change could be made in time for the 2024 season. That seems unlikely now.

Dan Patrick added that he had heard that 12 may not be a number etched in stone. The CFP could expand to 8 or even 16 teams. Forde cautioned against expecting as many as 16 pointing out that conference commissioners still want to give college football an illusion of amateurism, and likely don’t want two teams having to play a 17-game schedule like the NFL.

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Kate Scott Named New TV Voice of 76ers

“The new voice of the Sixers is the first woman to call an NFL game on the radio.”

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Courtesy: Kate Scott

The Philadelphia 76ers have found their new TV play-by-play voice while breaking barriers along the way. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the team is hiring Kate Scott as the new TV voice, replacing Marc Zumoff.

Scott joins Lisa Byington of the Milwaukee Bucks as the only female play-by-play broadcasters to handle team calls full time in league history. NBC Sports Philadelphia did not respond to the Inquirer’s request for comment. Sources told the Inquirer that Byington also auditioned for the Sixers job before joining the Bucks broadcast team. 

Scott’s busted through a few glass ceilings in her career, just like Byington. The new voice of the Sixers is the first woman to call an NFL game on the radio, the first to broadcast college football for the Pac-12 Networks, and she was the play-by-play voice for the first all-female NHL broadcast in 2020.

“I would have loved to try my hand at producing or directing,” Scott told IBC365 last year. “When I was in college less than 20 years ago the only route I saw as viable as a woman interested in sports was side-line reporting, which is where my television career began.

“We really are hoping the International Women’s Day broadcast shows young people who want to get into this industry; there is so many more opportunities than just being on-air. From graphics and replays and producing and directing to stage managing and shooting the games.”

Scott also called events at this year’s Tokyo Olympics and is currently calling college football games for Learfield IMG College with Mike Golic. Her exit from the 95.7 The Game morning show makes a lot more sense now that her new role is surfacing across the country. Scott doesn’t have much experience calling NBA games, but she has years of time on the college basketball circuit broadcasting games for the Pac-12 Networks.

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