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Anson Carter: Wayne Gretzky Is A Savage On The TNT Set

“It’s important for our group to just be ourselves. Gretzky can’t be me, I can’t be him.”

Ricky Keeler

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Since 2013, former NHL veteran Anson Carter has been a part of the media covering the sport. First he was at NBC Sports and now at Turner Sports as part of TNT’s inaugural season covering hockey. 

Carter was a guest on the most recent episode of the Drinks With Binks podcast on Fubo Sports, Julie Stewart-Binks talked with Carter about the NHL being on a different network. Carter wanted to see the same type of environment that was at NBC and the same high standard reached.

“It’s been amazing. We’ve got a tremendous amount of great, quality people that we work with at TNT. Coming from NBC Sports, the standard was so high because it was a family there as well. I still talk to a lot of my friends that I established there and worked with at NBC Sports. To move to TNT and Turner and have that same kind of environment has been amazing.”

Of course, everyone was wondering how Wayne Gretzky would do as an analyst and Anson Carter believes that Gretzky brings great value to the set because of his storytelling, but he believes more people will be drawn to something else about The Great One.

“He’s [Gretzky] so witty. That’s the first thing I have tried to bring out of Gretz…We’ve had a couple of rehearsals and listening to him chirp Biz or Tocchet or myself. He would do it when the red light goes off on the camera and I was like Gretz, what are you doing? Your one-liners are insane. You’re a savage. You can’t stop those when the cameras start.”

As TNT and Turner Sports keep establishing themselves in hockey, Anson Carter believes the studio crew doesn’t need to change what it has been doing. That is how to win over fans.

“It’s important for our group to just be ourselves. Gretzky can’t be me, I can’t be him…We’ve all been able to stay in our lane, but at the same time, be able to jump over each other if we have to. We’re not afraid to rip one another either. No one’s bigger than the game on our set and I think that’s what makes it fun.”

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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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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