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Neil Everett: ‘I Was Not Ready For First ESPN Audition’

“I didn’t know the Chicago White Sox. I couldn’t name a player on their team. I hadn’t done the homework. I was horrible.”

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Geoff Thurner

When ESPN opened up a production facility in Los Angeles in 2009 for SportsCenter, Neil Everett became one of the facility’s main anchors along with Stan Verrett on the 1 a.m ET edition of the show. Over the last 10+ years, those two have become one of the more prominent duos for SportsCenter.

Everett was a guest this week on the Bleav in CollegeFootball Legends Podcast with Chris Smith to talk about his favorite interviews among other topics. He said on the show that he never really worked with Verrett that often in Bristol, but the two are similar people that have forged their own path at the network: 

“We both come from similar stock. We both believe in hard work. We both are two guys that I don’t think ESPN has expected as much out of us than we’ve produced. We determined our trajectory once ESPN let the reins off us and let us go a little bit. I love Stan to death.”

When Everett had his first audition with ESPN in 1999, he admitted that he wasn’t exactly prepared for the interview and the local sportscasts that he did in Hawaii were completely different than the role he was trying to apply for.

“I hadn’t done my homework. I wasn’t familiar with half the things they were talking about on SportsCenter because when I did the sports in Hawaii, we weren’t talking about half the stuff they were talking about. There were two different worlds of sports. Our local sportscast was mostly local sports. I didn’t know the Chicago White Sox. I couldn’t name a player on their team. I hadn’t done the homework. I was horrible. I knew I had nobody to blame but me, but fortunately, a year later, they called me back to do another audition.”

The second audition worked out for Everett has he has been at ESPN for over 20 years (July 2000) and he has become known for some of his catchphrases such as “Bartender, how about a Jack?” Everett mentioned that all of his catchphrases are not pre-planned.

“’How’s it’ is just a common thing in Hawaii. ‘Bartender, Jack’ just seemed like a natural. Probably just came to me. They come to you organic. Sometimes somebody will give you one and you go that’s pretty good, I’m going to use that…I got to write them down because my brain gets so fried.”

Even though Everett did not have a great first audition with ESPN, he learned from it and now is one of the faces most recognizable with SportsCenter, particularly the west coast edition out in Los Angeles. In addition to SportsCenter, Everett will be hosting pregame, halftime, and postgame shows for most of the Portland Trail Blazers road games for ROOT SPORTS this season.  

Sports TV News

Michelle Beadle: I’ve Been Giving Opinions To Walls For 800 Days

“After my last gig I had one rule and that was do what I want with people that I like, no more jerks.”

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Former ESPN personality Michelle Beadle is back and she wants everyone to know it on her new podcast, What Did I Miss? with Michelle Beadle. The first episode dropped this week, and Beadle talked about what she was up to while she was away.

“I have missed a lot, I have kinda been sitting back for 800 days giving my opinions to walls because my friends don’t care about sports and neither does my family. Nobody really cared what I had to say so in between knitting and buying toilet paper I was just mumbling a lot of opinions to the ether,” said Beadle on her time away from sports media.

Michelle Beadle talked about her move to The Athletic, saying “I ended up at The Athletic because when I think of serious journalism I think of The Athletic and myself. To me it was just a match made in heaven. After my last gig I had one rule and that was do what I want with people that I like, no more jerks.”

One of the many things that Beadle discussed had started since she has been away is the alternate Manningcast Monday Night Football telecast, which she had some high praise for.

She also went on to talk about her unread text messages that she has on her phone, and one of them was from her former colleague at ESPN Bob Ley.

“People from the outside think that Bob Ley is someone who is super serious because he is one of the pillars of SportsCenter. While we worked together on SportsNation I would just tell stories and crack jokes to everyone in the newsroom and all of the sudden Bob Ley who I also thought was super serious joined in on the jokes. I just loved Bob so much.”

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Sports TV News

NBC Will Air Winter Olympics After Super Bowl 56

“We want to be able to maximize the the coverage of the Olympics while it’s going on and especially when we’re in full live events.”

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For the past 46 years, the Super Bowl has been followed by a series lead-out. NBC has some different plans for this year’s event, however. Super Bowl 56 will be followed by the Winter Olympics.

The Super Bowl takes place on February 13th, right in the middle of the Winter Olympics which run from the 4th to the 20th. This year will be the first time that a network has aired both at the same time, and it gives NBC a prime opportunity to cash in on the Super Bowl audience for their coverage of the Olympic games.

“We have the benefit and the luxury of being right in the middle of the Olympics and we have a commitment to air live Olympics,” said Frances Berwick, chairman, entertainment networks, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming.

“I think the fortunate position that we’re in is to have the benefit of those 18 days of the Olympics plus the Super Bowl as these immense promotional platforms to promote our new shows, too,” said Berwick “So we’re in a really unique situation in that regard.” he added.

Networks usually use the Super Bowl as an opportunity to market a new show, and it has worked to varying degrees of success over the years. The last time NBC has had a Super Bowl was in 2018, where the show This Is Us averaged a whopping 27 million viewers.

The last time a network followed the Super Bowl with another sporting event was in 1976, when CBS aired the Phoenix Open golf tournament after Super Bowl X.

“We want to be able to maximize the coverage of the Olympics while it’s going on and especially when we’re in full live events,” Berwick added.

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Sports TV News

John Canzano: ESPN Did Not Like My Criticism

“Canzano closes his Monday column by encouraging George Kliavkoff, the new commissioner of the PAC-12, to hire TV producers to advise the league’s next television contracts.”

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John Canzano wrote a second piece in the Oregonian on Monday about ESPN. This one was addressing the network’s reaction to his Sunday column about the poor visual quality of the network’s coverage of PAC-12 football.

In Sunday’s piece, Canzano cited sources that told him the network is cutting costs in its PAC-12 coverage. It is using fewer cameras and an outdated broadcast truck. He referred to the network’s coverage of Oregon’s win over Washington State as “a fuzzy, low-budget disappointment.”

“An ESPN spokesperson read my column and wrote in bold to tell me, ‘The notion that we are doing Pac-12 games on the cheap is patently false,'” he wrote on Monday.

According to John Canzano, ESPN says it had seven cameras at the game, not six as he had previously reported. The network also acknowledges that there have been technical issues on some PAC-12 games this season, but characterized them as “some isolated technical issues…that we are actively working to fix.”

Bill Rice also spoke with Canzano. He was a camera operator at the game. He is clear in his diagnosis of the problem. ESPN is using outdated equipment.

“All of that gear that we were using is old and wore out. It’s their ‘E’ show. That truck is a long way from home. That’s ESPN’s ‘E-level’ show.

“You know… A.. B… C… D… E.”

Rice also said that the broadcast truck ESPN uses for games on the West Coast is a relic. He says it is from the 20th century, which would mean that the network is relying on technology that is more than two decades old to broadcast games in HD.

John Canzano did some digging and did find some answers regarding the truck and the equipment inside the stadium.

The Oregonian/OregonLive obtained the information sheet that was distributed to crew working for ESPN in front of the Oregon-WSU game. The truck itself was built in 2012, but the key equipment inside was manufactured 10-25 years years ago. The document verifies there were, in fact, six “hard” cameras at the game and a seventh handheld camera present. It also lists the names of crew working the game. I researched them and they’re all highly qualified and experienced television production experts.”

Canzano closes his Monday column by encouraging George Kliavkoff, the new commissioner of the PAC-12, to hire TV producers to advise the league’s next television contracts.

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