Media Musings returned last week. What is Media Musings? It’ll be a smorgasbord of media chatter from the industry that will run irregularly. It will contain rumors and innuendo. Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. Anonymity is assured.
Jamie Horowitz is ESPN’s new hit maker. With successful shows* like First Take and Sports Nation under his belt, he’s put himself in position to get a Green Light for anything he approaches the suits with. Someone at ESPN told me this week Horowitz is “like the 3rd most influential guy” at the network right now. Another source told me that over the summer, Horowtiz – official title: “Vice President, Original Programming and Production” – was putting together an idea for ESPN’s version of “The View.” His dream scenario was to pair longtime friends Bill Simmons and Jason Whitlock with two others. Unfortunately, the source said Simmons was not interested and Whitlock was lukewarm, and the idea has been shelved (for now).
RADIO CHANGE: Max Kellerman and former NFL player Marcellus Wiley, who host a radio show on 710LA from 10-3, are moving to drive time (3-7) to accommodate Wiley’s new job: He’s going to be taking over for Colin Cowherd on Sports Nation starting Dec. 31st when the show moves from Bristol to LA. (The show will tape from 2-3 PST and then Wiley will switch chairs and do his radio show, which is at the same location.) Cowherd didn’t want to do the show without Michelle Beadle, and when she left for NBC, he apparently tried to get ESPN to shrink the show from an hour to 30 minutes. ESPN didn’t want to shorten it, so Cowherd decided to leave the program when his deal was up, and he’s in the midst of putting together his own 30-minute show. So ESPN has paired Wiley with Charissa Thompson, a move that will be officially announced later this year.
ON THE MOVE: Amber Theoharis is leaving MASN (Mid-Atlantic Sports Network), where she covered baseball, and heading to the NFL Network. She would like to know if there’s a company that ships Baltimore crabs across the country, since she’s moving to LA … Zach Lowe, who covered the NBA for SI.com, is going to Grantland to do the same … the Kansas City Star has lost columnist Kent Babb to the Washington Post. Does everyone want out of the paper, or is the Star a great “mid-major” launching pad? Jason King (ESPN), Liz Merrill (ESPN), and Wright Thompson (ESPN) have left in recent years, in addition to Posnanski and Whitlock … Ryen Russillo eschewed NBC’s advances and will stay at ESPN, Chad Finn of the Boston Globe reported. Russillo will (finally) get his name next to Scott Van Pelt on their radio show, and one would assume he’ll have some more NBA duties. The word on that street was that NBC tried to dangle a TV show pairing him and Michelle Beadle.
BREAKING NEWS: ESPN took heat last week when former employee Bruce Feldman (now at CBS Sports) reported FSU’s Brandon Jenkins was lost for the season with a foot injury. ESPN immediately pulled the “sources say” move on TV and reported the Jenkins news, but didn’t acknowledge the original source of the story. The internet did what it normally does – freak out.
This week, ESPN had a conference call celebrating the 50,000th Sportscenter episode (which happens next week). I asked Van Pelt how Sportscenter makes the decision whom to credit when news breaks: “It’s much more of a news editor decision. If you’re on the air and news is breaking, you’re handed copy and you’re not necessarily aware of where it came from. As an anchor, you’re not in a position to source where it came from if you’re live on the air.”
Mark Gross, Senior Vice President and Executive Producer of Sportscenter, added, “we have to confirm a story somebody else has broken. The main reason we confirm a story somebody else may have broken is to double check that it is true. If we’re putting it on our air, we’re accountable for the story. We go through great pains to make sure what we’re reporting is indeed accurate.”
* By ESPN’s standard, they are successful. I’m sure you disagree.