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Stan Van Gundy: Kevin Harlan Is A Great Coach

“After Van Gundy was let go by the Pelicans, he told his agent that the only network he wanted to work for was TNT.”

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A new NBA season begins on Tuesday night and TNT will have a doubleheader beginning with the Brooklyn Nets taking on the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks at 7:30 p.m ET followed by the Los Angeles Lakers hosting the Golden State Warriors. 

Two of the analysts this season on the TNT broadcasts will be Reggie Miller (Warriors-Lakers with Kevin Harlan and Allie LaForce) and Stan Van Gundy (Nets-Bucks with Ian Eagle and Stephanie Ready). Miller will be entering his 17th season at TNT and he enjoys getting the chance to work with some of the best play-by-play broadcasters in the game. 

“Number one, you have the best seat in the house on a nightly basis as a former player,” he said on a recent conference call. “You are between the lines and to be that close, we get to hear strategies, the trash talking. Stan understands the game so well. I get a chance to see plays or trends before they happen. 

“Having been in this 17 years already, I’ve had the chance to work with some of the great play-by-play men in Dick Stockton, obviously marvelous Marv Albert, who retired last season, Kevin Harlan. The symmetry you form as a bond to tell these stories. The game is going to tell the story for you.”

As for Van Gundy, he is entering his second stint as an analyst at Turner after he spent last season as head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans. Since he is fairly new at the analyst role compared to Miller, he is always trying to learn and focuses on preparation.

“I try to focus on two things. One is I try to make sure that I’m really well-prepared going in, that I know the teams I’m watching, that I’ve watched them play recent games on film, that I’ve spent time looking at all the numbers, reading everything I can. The second thing is I ask for a lot of feedback particularly from the play-by-play guys I work with.” 

The key to getting better for Van Gundy is always getting feedback not only from his play-by-play partner, but from people behind-the-scenes as well. 

“I started working at Turner two years ago with Ian Eagle. He’s not only a great play-by-play guy, but a great coach and gave me a lot of help in that regard. In the bubble, I also worked with Spero Dedes and Brian Anderson. They gave me a lot of help. I worked the other night with Kevin Harlan.

“Asking those people to give you feedback, same with the producers and directors… I don’t want people telling me great job when it wasn’t. Tell me what I can do to get better. That’s something I’ll continue to try to do all year and validate the confidence that Turner has shown in me to give me this opportunity.” 

After Van Gundy was let go by the Pelicans, he told his agent that the only network he wanted to work for was TNT. It would be a homecoming of sorts, as he was an analyst for the network during the 2019-2020 season. He mentioned that he liked working there because of the great people who put the NBA broadcast together and he wanted more of a defined role compared to what he had while at ESPN in 2018. 

“My experience working with Turner/NBATV was outstanding. They treated people really, really well. I liked not only the broadcasters, but the people behind the scenes. The atmosphere is great. It’s just great for me to still be able to be around the game and be out there every night. Quite honestly, it’s a lot less stressful.” 

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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