Sports TV News
Dan Le Batard: Does Audience Know Papí Was Fed Lines on Highly Questionable?
I think they think that my father is a 100% authentic personality who was just that clever every single night.”
Dan Le Batard welcomed Izzy Gutierrez to his South Beach Sessions podcast this week. The show is usually a deep dive into the life and opinions of the guest, but Gutierrez wanted to talk about working with Papí, who Le Batard says Gutierrez “has an unusually good relationship with”.
Gonzalo “Papí” Le Batard, is an immigrant that fled Cuba after Fidel Castro took power. He came to the United States at 12 years old and eventually earned a masters degree in industrial engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
He became an unlikely star while working with his son on ESPN’s Highly Questionable. While Le Batard led the show’s segments, Papí would sit next to him, laughing at viral videos and cracking jokes.
“It’s all anyone wants to talk to me about either,” Le Batard said. “I spent eight years slaving on that show looking at looking for bear videos, bears falling out of trees and landing on a trampoline to entertain the people. And all they want to talk about is my dad.”
He compared it to the way people react when he talks about the frustration of working with Stugotz on The Dan Le Batard Show. All the audience knows is the show. They may not realize how much the personalities carry over into dealing with these people in real life.
Izzy Gutierrez revealed that Papí wore an ear piece and was fed one-liners by the show’s producer, Erik Rydholm. He said that while the rest of the cast was enjoying the videos and reacting to the hi jinx, Papíwas actually working, waiting to deliver his next line.
Dan Le Batard said that might be the first time the audience has heard that not everything the elder Le Batard said was original thoughts off the top of his head.
“I don’t know if they know that he’s being fed lines,” he said to Gutierrez. “I think they think that my father is a 100% authentic personality who was just that clever every single night.”
Gutierrez countered that as the show went on, Papí began to be a little more spontaneous and deliver zingers off the cuff. Le Batard agreed that was true.
“When he was having a good time, that’s what it was the best,” Gutierrez said. “Like, that’s when it was 1,000% genuine. I loved just the fact that this man is sitting here giggling and doing a job he’s getting paid for that he never once in his life thought he would ever do.”
Sports TV News
Neil Everett Exits ESPN After 23 Years
“ESPN changed my life, but now it’s time for me to change my life.”
Neil Everett’s SportsCenter days are over. Front Office Sports reports that the anchor has chosen to say goodbye to ESPN after 23 years at the network.
“ESPN changed my life, but now it’s time for me to change my life,” Everett said. “Time to write a new chapter.”
The network reportedly offered Everett a new deal. Had he agreed to it, the anchor would have taken a salary reduction.
This is a significant moment for SportsCenter. Everett moving on means one of the show’s longest-tenured partnership comes to an end. He had worked with Stan Verrett since 2009.
Everett’s exit comes in the same week that it was revealed Chris Chelios would not return to the network’s NHL coverage next season. The Walt Disney Company is currently in the middle of trying to cut 7000 jobs to save $5.5 billion.
As for the future, Everett says he will seek to increase his TV role with the Portland Trail Blazers. He has been part of the team’s broadcast crew on NBC Sports Northwest for the last two years.
Sports TV News
Chris ‘The Bear’ Fallica To Make FOX TV Debut on Belmont Coverage
“Everyone I’ve worked and interacted with at the company has been so helpful and open to someone who has spent his entire professional life elsewhere.”
As the college football season was winding down, fans found out one of the foundational members of the College Gameday staff would be leaving ESPN. Chris “The Bear” Fallica left the network and has been working for FOX since the new year. This weekend during the network’s coverage of The Belmont Stakes, he will finally make his TV debut for his employers.
“It’s been great. This will be my first TV appearance, so I’m excited,” Fallica said in an interview with FOXSports.com. “But we’ve been cranking out content on the digital side since January, and I’m very happy with how the USFL picks have been going (4-0 last week for those of you counting at home). Everyone I’ve worked and interacted with at the company has been so helpful and open to someone who has spent his entire professional life elsewhere.”
Fallica, who worked for ESPN for nearly three decades, is going to be a major presence in FOX’s gambling content both on air and online. Making picks is nothing new. He had been doing it on College GameDay for years prior to his exit.
In addition to making football picks, horse racing is going to be a major part of what The Bear does for FOX. While this will be his TV debut on FOX, Fallica put the spotlight on one of his colleagues.
“It was a great decision to bring Tom [Durkin] back for this call. His voice is synonymous with the sport for a generation of racing fans, so it will be a treat to hear him call a race again.”
Durbin is coming out of retirement to call the race. This is the first year that the Belmont is airing on FOX as part of a rights deal with the New York Racing Association.
Sports TV News
FOX Reportedly Considering Replacing Reggie Bush on Big Noon Kickoff
“Marchand writes that the favorite to replace the 2005 Heisman Trophy winner is the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner. Mark Ingram II is expected to retire from the NFL and join FOX.”
It looks like changes are coming to FOX’s college football coverage. Andrew Marchand reports that the network is considering replacing Reggie Bush on Big Noon Kickoff.
Bush and the network reportedly argued over money before the 2022 season. FOX kicked the tires on multiple options, including Desmond Howard and Robert Griffin III of ESPN. Eventually, it decided to bring Bush back on a one year deal. With that deal set to expire and the two sides again at an impasse, FOX is eyeing other options.
Marchand writes that the favorite to replace the 2005 Heisman Trophy winner is the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner. Mark Ingram II is expected to retire from the NFL and join FOX.
If Ingram does join the show, he would be the first analyst from outside of the conferences FOX carries. Ingram played his college football at Alabama. He has since amassed more than 8000 yards over 13 seasons in the NFL.
FOX declined to comment on the report. Marchand reports that with no deal finalized, there is an outside shot that Ingram returns to the NFL, Bush returns to FOX and there is no change at all. That, however, is considered a long shot.