The Manning brothers have brought on some heavy-hitting guests over the first two weeks of their ESPN Monday Night Football alternate broadcast. That theme isn’t changing anytime soon as the duo gets set to welcome Alabama Football head coach Nick Saban to their Week 3 show.
The appearance is aptly timed with Nick Saban and Alabama facing another SEC test this weekend when they match up with Ole Miss. Former Rebels quarterback Eli Manning and Peyton are having Saban on for the majority of a full quarter during Monday night’s game.
The Cowboys-Eagles matchup features plenty of Saban’s NFL connections. Five former Crimson Tide standouts are starting in the game, including, quarterback Jalen Hurts, who started at Alabama for 2 years before moving to Oklahoma, wide receiver DeVonta Smith, offensive lineman Landon Dickerson, wide receiver Amari Cooper, and cornerback Trevon Diggs.
Former assistants from Saban’s tenure with Alabama are on display as well. Doug Nussmeier (Cowboys quarterbacks coach), Jeff Stoutland (Eagles offensive line coach), and Joe Pannunzio (Eagles assistant special teams coordinator) all worked with Saban at one point or another.
In the alternate broadcasts’ first two weeks, Charles Barkley, Russell Wilson, and Brett Favre made up a few of the names to pop in to talk football with the Manning brothers. Fans and critics alike are praising the conversations as a whole new way to get these athletes into a relaxed environment.
Eli Manning and Nick Saban have some established history with each other already. The younger Manning followed in his older brother’s footsteps with Eli’s Places, a spin-off of Peyton’s Places. Eli spent one of the episodes hanging out with Saban for a lake day tubing on his boat.
The brothers are aiming to keep their strong Week 2 momentum rolling after averaging 1.9 million viewers last Monday. The figure made their second go-round the highest-watched alternate broadcast ever aired on an ESPN platform.
Russ Heltman is a daily news writer for BSM. He is the morning host and producer for 89.3 WMKV in Cincinnati, OH. He also works in gameday communications for FC Cincinnati and additionally contributes to the AllBengals blog for Sports Illustrated. Russ can be found on Twitter @RussHeltman11 or you can reach him by email at Heltmandm@yahoo.com.
Bob Costas: MLB ‘Didn’t Do Themselves Any Harm’ in Attracting Younger Viewers
“He told me that some of their research showed that their viewership for the postseason especially was up among the younger demographic.”
The 2022 MLB season wrapped up a few weeks ago with the Houston Astros winning their second World Series title in five years, and it put a bow on one of the more exciting campaigns in recent years.
Baseball has struggled to keep viewers engaged and attract younger audiences to the ballpark. Often one of the biggest gripes about the sport is that the regular season and games themselves are too long and not very captivating.
But legendary broadcaster Bob Costas has a reason to believe that MLB actually did well in terms of viewership and connecting with young folks. He told Ray Ratto on 95.7 The Game in the Bay Area that everything was on the up and up.
“My sense is that it was a good year for baseball overall,” Costas said. “And I had an interview last week with (MLB commissioner) Rob Manfred, and he told me that some of their research showed that their viewership for the postseason especially was up among the younger demographic. And you have to measure it in the various ways that they receive it – streaming or this way or that as opposed to classic over the air broadcasts.”
2022 saw games streamed exclusively for the first time. The league inked deals with both Apple and NBC Sports that saw weekly contests aired on Apple TV+ and Peacock. RSNs like Bally Sports have rolled out their own exclusive options for fans to stream games, while the league’s own streaming service MLB.TV continues to offer fans opportunities to watch every out of market game from the spring training through the end of the regular season.
Costas said the league came out heading in a positive direction with fans.
“Certainly they didn’t do themselves any harm,” he said. “And this postseason was very exciting, and there were a lot of really good storylines during the course of this season. So you’d have to think that it had to be a plus.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Bob Chapek Out, Bob Iger Returns As Disney CEO
“It is with an incredible sense of gratitude and humility — and, I must admit, a bit of amazement — that I write to you this evening with the news that I am returning to The Walt Disney Company as Chief Executive Officer.”
In a somewhat shocking Sunday announcement, Disney has announced it is re-appointing former executive Bob Iger as the company’s CEO, replacing Bob Chapek who had departed.
“It is with an incredible sense of gratitude and humility — and, I must admit, a bit of amazement — that I write to you this evening with the news that I am returning to The Walt Disney Company as Chief Executive Officer,” Iger reportedly wrote to employees in an email.
Iger departed the company a mere 11 months ago. In that timeframe, Disney’s stock price dropped 41%.
Chapek, who was appointed to the company’s CEO position in February of 2020 stepped down, according to a report from CNBC. He had signed an contract extension earlier this year to remain in the role.
Chapek’s tenure was heavily criticized from many different avenues, including from employees over his silence on the “Don’t Say Gay” law passed in Florida. He also received pushback from lawmakers after then opposing the bill.
In the sports world, Chapek and Iger clashed about prices for ESPN+, the streaming service offered by the worldwide leader. The pair eventually had a falling out of several large disagreements about the company’s future.
Iger returns to the role he held for 15 years. In a press release, he said he will help the company find a successor.
“I am deeply honored to be asked to again lead this remarkable team, with a clear mission focused on creative excellence to inspire generations through unrivaled, bold storytelling,” Iger added.
David Kaplan Leaving NBC Sports Chicago
“I was presented an opportunity that will allow me to spend a lot more time my wife, Mindy, our four sons, and their expanding families. This is far from a retirement.”
David Kaplan has announced he is departing NBC Sports Chicago. In a video posted to his YouTube channel, Kaplan said a new path opened that he couldn’t turn down.
“I was presented an opportunity that will allow me to spend a lot more time my wife, Mindy, our four sons, and their expanding families. This is far from a retirement. You’ll still be able to catch me weekday mornings with Jonathan Hood on the Kap and JHood morning show on ESPN 1000. It will also allow me to provide you with more engaging and outstanding content right here on YouTube.”
Kaplan, who will turn 62 this weekend, accepted a buyout offered by NBCUniversal. He has hosted several different shows for the network during his tenure.
“He’s made enormous contributions to our network, and his passion, opinions and love of Chicago’s teams have made him a beloved and respected figure, not just with fans but also his colleagues,” NBC Sports Chicago Vice President of Content John Schippman told The Chicago Sun-Times. “We wish him the best and look forward to seeing what’s next.”
December 30th will be his final day at NBC Sports Chicago. He called his time with the network “an amazing run”.