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Tag: ESPN (1-10 of 16)

ESPN suspends Bill Simmons for calling NFL commish 'a liar'

Bill Simmons, one of ESPN’s most popular and outspoken personalities, was suspended by the network for three weeks after he ripped into embattled NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and called him “a liar” during his weekly podcast with gambling pal Sal Iacono.

Goodell has been under increased media scrutiny since suspending Ray Rice for two games after the All-Pro running back was accused of beating his then-girlfriend, now-wife at an Atlantic City casino. After security footage of the brutal attack later emerged, outraging the public, the Baltimore Ravens released Rice and the NFL made his suspension indefinite. Goodell told CBS that the league had requested but never received the damning video, but that assertion is being challenged and seems unlikely to many journalists—including Simmons—who cover the NFL, an industry with an annual revenue of about $10 billion. READ FULL STORY

World Cup opener a ratings high for ESPN

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is setting records for ESPN, which scored its highest-rated World Cup opener when 4.435 million viewers tuned into the Brazil-Croatia telecast on Thursday.

It marked the fourth-highest-rated match of all group play games dating back to 1994 for the network, and was ESPN’s best non-U.S. game. Brazil’s 3-1 victory also became the most-watched event on the digital platform WatchESPN, bringing in 1.1 million unique viewers.

Meanwhile, Univision Deportes — the Spanish-language network broadcasting matches in the U.S. — is outdelivering the venerable sports network’s coverage of the World Cup in a number of markets and outpacing its own coverage of the 2010 soccer tournament.

Through the first four matches, Univision Deportes is beating ESPN/ESPN2 by 34 percent among total viewers. The best-performing markets for the network during World Cup broadcasts so far have included Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Sacramento. READ FULL STORY

Drake to host the 2014 ESPYs

And the host of this year’s ESPYs is …. Drake!

The rapper/singer/actor/now-host will take the stage at the 2014 ESPYs to hand out awards for Excellence in Sports Performance. For a point of reference, last year’s show was hosted by Jon Hamm.

There’s no word yet on whether Drake will rap his way through the show, but we can only hope. Check out his announcement via Twitter below:


'Scrubs' creator Bill Lawrence picks his underrated TV favorites

Cartoon Clone High may have been booted from MTV back in 2003, but Bill Lawrence still has fondness for the series that he helped create. The Scrubs and Cougar Town creator talks why he thinks Clone High was so great, and tells us his other picks for his favorite underrated TV shows:


Tim Tebow joins new ESPN network, keeps NFL options open

Tim Tebow was an all-time great as Florida’s Heisman-winning quarterback, but despite an improbable NFL playoff run that made him a folk hero in Denver in 2011, he’s currently out of football after being released by two different teams. Only 26, Tebow isn’t giving up on his playing career — officially — but he’s actively preparing for life after football.

Today, ESPN announced that Tebow will join the SEC Network as an analyst when it launches next August. “Tim is a SEC icon with a national fan base and broad appeal. He will be a significant contributor to the compelling content we will deliver with the SEC Network,” said Justin Connolly, ESPN senior vice president, programming, college networks. READ FULL STORY

Florida State investigation bumps Ron Burgundy off 'SportsCenter'

Serious news has bumped fictional anchorman Ron Burgundy off SportsCenter.

Actor Will Ferrell was scheduled to reprise his role on a Thursday evening edition of the highlights show on ESPN. The network announced Wednesday night that the appearance had been scrapped because of the “potential implications” of the news conference scheduled Thursday afternoon about the investigation into sexual assault allegations against Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston.

ESPN says Ferrell’s guest spot hasn’t been rescheduled. His character has been on a media blitz to promote Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, which included covering Canada’s Olympic curling trials and hosting a local newscast in North Dakota.

ESPN drops out of PBS project on NFL head injuries

ESPN says it’s ending its collaboration with public TV in an investigation of the NFL and players’ head injuries.

ESPN said Friday its decision was based on a lack of editorial control over “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis,” airing in October on PBS’ Frontline public affairs series.

At ESPN’s request, its logo was being removed from websites related to the project and from the film itself.

In an online statement, the producers of Frontline said they regretted ESPN’s exit. The producers said the two-part “League of Denial” will air as scheduled on Oct. 8 and 15.

Meanwhile, both ESPN and the NFL on Friday denied a New York Times report that quotes unidentified sources saying the NFL had pressured ESPN to drop out of the project.

New ESPN '30 for 30' sports docs include 'Tonya and Nancy'

The knee whack heard ’round the world will be revisited near the 20th anniversary of the rivalry between Olympic figure skaters Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding, as one of six new documentaries on ESPN’s 30 for 30 series.

The series’ second season begins Oct. 1 with “Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau,” about the big wave surfer and lifeguard.

It wraps up Nov. 5 with “Tonya and Nancy,” a look back at the Jan. 6, 1994, incident in which Kerrigan was clubbed on the knee after practice for the U.S. championships in a plot masterminded by Harding’s ex-husband. The film includes new interviews with Harding and people close to Kerrigan.

ESPN Films Vice President Connor Schell said Wednesday that they’re still trying to persuade Kerrigan to do an interview. She has mostly shunned the spotlight to focus on raising her family.

“Several people close to her have done interviews,” he told the Television Critics Association summer meeting. “We’re still working to get Nancy and hope by November that we do.”

Keith Olbermann on his new ESPN show: 'It will be a sports cast with my stamp on it.'

If Keith Olbermann wants to talk about politics on his upcoming nightly talker on ESPN2, he will. But, he says, it has to make sense first. “I’m not intending to talk about politics, certainly not in the partisan sense and not in the sense I have in the last ten years of work that I’ve done,” he said today during the first day of the Television Critics Association press tour, referring to his time on his MSNBC program Countdown. But, he admitted, “it’s a sports show and there will be occasions in which…we will have to talk about [it].”

Olberman, who recently settled a legal battle with Al Gore’s Current TV after he was fired from the network, also shot down reports that his contract included any limits on content and confirmed that that there will be no “pop culture segments.” “I’ve done and enjoyed and own the work I did in politics and news, but this is not what this is. I wanted to go back into sports,” he said.

Keith Olbermann headed back to ESPN2: Updated

Proving bridges can be rebuilt after they’ve been burned, ESPN is welcoming Keith Olbermann back into the fold. It’s now official: Olbermann, a one-hour show airing generally at 11 p.m. ET Monday-Friday, will debut Aug. 26 on ESPN2.

Back in March, the New York Times reported that Olbermann and his reps had approached ESPN about returning to the network, where he partnered with Dan Patrick to set the standard for SportsCenter. At that time, ESPN’s president John Skipper seemed slightly unreceptive: “I agreed to dinner with Keith because I assumed he’d be provocative and witty and fun to have dinner with, and he was indeed lots of fun,” Skipper told the Times. “Clearly he was looking to see if there was an entry point to come back… After the dinner, at that point, there was no real appropriate place for Keith to come back, nor did I feel like I was prepared to bring him back.” Instead, it was announced in June that Olbermann would host a postseason baseball studio show for TBS.

In today’s announcement, Skipper sang a different tune: “Keith is a one-of-a-kind personality and these shows will be appointment viewing for that very reason,” he said. “Keith brings a blend of editorial sophistication and unpredictability — you can never be sure what you’ll get. Olbermann on ESPN2 gives viewers the quality late-night complement to ESPN’s SportsCenter in the same way we’ve developed distinct show options across our networks the rest of the day.”

Olbermann’s prodigal-son return is especially ironic since he was the reluctant star of ESPN2 when it launched in 1993. Shifted from SportsCenter at the height of his fame to anchor the new network, Olbermann’s tenure at the Deuce had an inauspicious start, with Olbermann wearing a leather coat and beginning the show with the quip, “Welcome to the end of my career.” His tune has also changed: “Apart from the opportunity to try to create a nightly hour of sports television that no fan can afford to miss, I’m overwhelmed by the chance to begin anew with ESPN,” he said in the announcement. “I’ve been gone for 16 years and not one day in that time has passed without someone connecting me to the network. Our histories are indelibly intertwined and frankly I have long wished that I had the chance to make sure the totality of that story would be a completely positive one. I’m grateful to friends and bosses — old and new — who have permitted that opportunity to come to pass. I’m not going to waste it.”

ESPN's 'Nine for IX' starts with Whoopi Goldberg-produced doc -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Basketball coach Vivian Stringer is maybe most famous outside the sports world for her role as a spokeswoman during the Don Imus scandal, when the former radio host made racist and sexist remarks about Stringer’s players. But there’s much more to Stringer’s career and life — maybe too much even for Coach, the new ESPN documentary about her.

The film kicks off a new series called Nine for IX: Nine documentaries airing over nine weeks for the 40th anniversary of Title IX. We spoke with the doc’s director, Bess Kargman, about working with Stringer — and Coach‘s producer, Whoopi Goldberg.

See an exclusive clip from the documentary, and read our Q&A, below. READ FULL STORY

ESPN's Chris Broussard calls homosexuality a 'sin' in segment about Jason Collins

In a segment on Monday about NBA player Jason Collins’ coming out, EPSN analyst Chris Broussard said that as a Christian he does not “agree with homosexuality” and implied that by coming out as gay, Collins is “walking in open rebellion to God and Jesus Christ.”

Broussard has come under fire for that comment, made on the network’s one-hour special episode of Outside the Lines, which focused on Collins’ essay in Sports Illustrated where he announced he is gay, becoming the first openly gay male major American professional sports player. READ FULL STORY

Jon Hamm to host 2013 ESPYS -- VIDEO

During an appearance this morning on LIVE with Kelly and Michael, Jon Hamm announced that he will be hosting the 2013 ESPYS.

“The ESPYS is designed to showcase the year’s best sports moments in a sharp, fun and entertaining manner and Jon’s the perfect host for this year’s show. His appearances on shows like 30 Rock and SNL show that humor and creativity are two of his main strengths,” ESPYS executive producer Maura Mandt said in a statement. “The combination of Jon’s dry wit with his passion for sports will give fans a unique and original view of the year in sports.”

The 2013 ESPYS will air live on ESPN on July 17 at 9 p.m. ET from Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. Previous hosts for the show have included Justin Timberlake, Seth Meyers, and Samuel L. Jackson. READ FULL STORY


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