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Ernie Johnson Opens Up About Son’s Death With Paul Finebaum

“Charles is great to work with and he has a heart of gold.”

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Longtime Turner broadcaster and personality Ernie Johnson was on The Paul Finebaum Show yesterday to discuss a number of different topics, including his co-host Charles Barkley.

“If you think about our show and how long we have all been around, the fact that we have a group that has remained in tact for as long as we have is remarkable. Usually someone has an idea, oh this will work better than this. I grew up with older sisters, and this is as close as I will ever come to having brothers,” said Johnson.

Finebaum also asked Ernie Johnson about his dad, who was also a legendary broadcaster himself. Ernie Johnson Sr. called Braves games from 1962 until 1999.

“It was terrifying to work with my dad,” the younger Johnson said. “In the early to mid 90’s when we got a chance to work together for 3 or 4 years of Braves baseball. My Dad had been doing games there for ages. It was definitiely nerve-racking.”

Johnson has also been very public about his son, who lost his life recently after a long battle with a progressive form of muscular dystrophy.

“At first, we didn’t talk much about what was going on in our lives. Our adoptions, we have adopted 4 kids out of our 6. People asked me about my journey as a broadcaster and my personal life is certainly a part of that. Jeremey Schaap’s E60 on us shined a light on adoption and special needs kids and going through cancer like I have, and a father and son relationship and it made a difference for people.”

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BetMGM Agrees to Become Exclusive Sportsbook of the The BetQL Network

The partnership is an exclusive multi-year agreement that significantly expands the current relationship between BetMGM and Audacy. The BetQL Network launched in June of 2021 and has expanded from two markets to 31 markets.

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BetMGM and BetQL

On Monday, a partnership between BetMGM and The BetQL Network was made official. It was announced that BetMGM will become the exclusive sportsbook of the network, owned by Audacy.

The partnership is an exclusive multi-year agreement that significantly expands the current relationship between BetMGM and Audacy. The BetQL Network launched in June of 2021 and has expanded from two markets to 31 markets.

“We are delighted to expand our strategic partnership with BetMGM, highlighted by their new exclusive position with the BetQL Network,” said David Field, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Audacy. “Barely a year old, the BetQL Network has a bright future ahead of it as legalized sports betting continues to expand over the next decade.”

BetMGM will have category exclusivity of the network’s full slate of programming, including flagship program You Better You Bet, commencing in September.

BetQL Network’s weekly lineup will distribute approximately 100 hours of original content per week on the Audacy and BetQL digital platforms. Audacy will also produce content for live audiences at various MGM Resorts across the country who will host the network inside of BetMGM sportsbooks.

“We’re excited to further our strategic partnership with Audacy and to bring our market-leading sports betting and gaming entertainment content to millions of listeners nationwide across the entire BetQL Network platform,” said Matt Prevost, Chief Revenue Officer, BetMGM.

BetMGM hasn’t been shy in attempting to increase their market share. They announced earlier this month that they have partnered with Carnival to offer sports betting on select cruises ships.

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Aqib Talib, Andrew Whitworth Expected To Join Amazon’s Thursday Night Football

Talib and Whitworth are expected to be a part of the studio team but will not be analysts as the desk. They will contribute in other portions of the Amazon studio and produce other NFL content.

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Aqib Talib and Andrew Whitworth

The roster is continuing to load up for Amazon’s Thursday Night Football broadcasts. Two more recent retirees are expected to be a part of the games’ coverage. Aqib Talib and Andrew Whitworth are the two former players expected to sign on soon.

Talib and Whitworth are expected to be a part of the studio team but will not be analysts as the desk. They will contribute in other portions of the Amazon studio and produce other NFL content.

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment.

Talib retired in 2019 after his last season with the Los Angeles Rams. Whitworth retired after this past season after winning the Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams.

So far, the reported crew is Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit in the booth, Charissa Thompson (reported, not confirmed) to host the “studio” desk, Tony Gonzalez will be on the desk as well as will Richard Sherman and Ryan Fitzpatrick.

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Kendrick Perkins’ Media Career Happened By Accident

“I was the only person that ever did First Take and Undisputed in one day.”

Ricky Keeler

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You never know what can happen once you post something on social media. For Kendrick Perkins, he was tweeting his thoughts on NBA games after his 14-year career came to an end. He never had an interest in being in the media or on television, but tweeting ended up getting him noticed.

On the latest episode of The Old Man and the Three with JJ Redick and Tommy Alter podcast, Perkins was a guest and said that his rise in media did not happen on purpose:

“It happened by accident. You know how they have those classes you can take in the summer while you are playing? I never took those. I never had interest in being on TV or in the media, but I always respected the media as a player.”

“All of a sudden, I get a DM on Twitter from a producer from Undisputed that said ‘Hey Perk, would you be interested in coming on Undisputed with Skip and Shannon? Hell yeah…I go down and I do Undisputed and they wanted me to stay an extra day,”

“They reached back out and were like hey, would you be interested in doing the remainder of the playoffs? I started off hot. I was right about everything, making bold predictions. Then, ESPN sent me a DM, hey do you want to come do the car wash in Bristol? My career all started on Twitter.”

Once Perkins was on ESPN, he remembered the first time he was on Get Up and a viral take he gave had the network ask him to come back:

“I go to Bristol and I remember my first time on Get Up, I go on and say Kawhi Leonard mimics Michael Jordan and the s**t went viral. All of a sudden, ESPN started calling me back.”

“I’m falling in love with TV. They are loving me. I was the only person that ever did First Take and Undisputed in one day. First Take was like we can’t have that no more. We are just going to lock you in for the remainder of the playoffs.”

Perkins and Redick got into a conversation about how they criticize current players since some players in the league used to be their teammates. Perkins has no problem doing it because he views himself as the same guy that he was when he was his locker room:

“The same Perk you see on TV is the same guy that I was in the locker room. I would say the same thing as far as holding them accountable….You have to be yourself. Don’t come into this media space trying to be something that you are not.

The two of them also took the listener a little bit inside the curtain of First Take and Perkins mentioned he was asked to give a particular take during the 2021 NBA Finals:

“Doing First Take, you know it’s a debate show. When you are prepping for it, it’s all about where you disagree at to make great TV. Sometimes, I may play devil’s advocate. Last year, the Suns jumped on the Bucks, 2-0. I’m getting ready to go on First Take the next morning and they like hey Perk, would you sit up here and say the Suns are on the verge of being a dynasty? People still bring that up to this day.”

“What people don’t realize, good and bad engagement is what the head people at ESPN want. Even if you engage with the content and you may say look at this clown with this BS take, they want that.”

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