ESPN Upfront 2013 Message: Destroy Fox Sports 1 Or Bus(t)







Among other things at their 2013 upfront presentation, ESPN introduced a new bus, as well as a new million-dollar "SportsCenter" studio. Fox Sports 1, launching this summer, likely had a hand in these being created.

Among other things at their 2013 upfront presentation, ESPN introduced a new bus, as well as a new million-dollar “SportsCenter” studio. Fox Sports 1, launching this summer, likely had a hand in these being created.

Before I paint the picture of ESPN’s annual upfront presentation for 2013, let me first give you a quick recap of last year’s edition: the place was packed with advertisers and sports media observers (of course, the show is mostly for the advertisers). The headliners were “stars (including would-be ESPN analyst Ray Lewis), a marching band (the one belonging to The Ohio State University) [and] mascots (Mr. Met and Al E. Gator, among others).” Many of the announcements last year included the unveiling of a new ESPN Radio app, and the expansion of Bill Simmons’ Grantland franchise.

You could say that this year’s ESPN upfront presentation was just a little bit different: oh, sure, the ad buyers and sports media flacks packed the house again, and sports stars were once again present; in fact, New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera “closed” the event (watch the righty, currently in his final year in the major leagues, shadow Lewis and become an analyst next year; in fact, bank on it). And yes, there was some more mascot mischief.

But when you’ve got a competitor in Fox Sports 1 launching in a few months – perhaps the first network in the Worldwide Leader’s existence that can call themselves a legitimate competitor – not only do you have to top your previous upfront, oh, no: you also have to top Fox Sports 1’s upfront in March.

Yes, there was your average slew of announcements – new slate of “30 For 30” documentary films; new football (“NFL Insiders”, replacing the incumbent “NFL32”) and soccer (“ESPNFC”) programs; new “ESPN The Magazine” “body issue” featuring San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in all his tattooed glory, much to the chagrin of David Whitley.

But there were two gigantic things that ESPN unveiled at this year’s upfront.

First, starting next year, ESPN’s “SportsCenter” shows will emanate from a brand new, state-of-the-art – make that continent-of-the-art, it’s so huge – 193,000 square foot studio, being billed “Digital Center 2.” Estimated cost to erect the set: $125 million.

Yes, cable subscribers, that is where your hard-earned inflated cable bill dollars is going.

Oh, and you’ll also be footing the bill for fuel that ESPN will be needing to get around in their brand new bus!

The vehicle, dubbed “SportsCenter On The Scene,” will be mobile for many sporting events year-round. Among its features, according to the network, are “satellite technology, bureau kit camera, lighting and equipment to do a live shot.” Yes, but will it prevent the trajectory of rogue water bottles being thrown in its direction?

By the way, ESPN’s “SportsCenter On The Scene” bus is said to be the first vehicle for the Worldwide Leader since Stephen A. Smith’s old late-night talk show on ESPN2, “Quite Frankly.”

And ESPN president John Skipper was quite frank in talking about the soon-to-be-launched Fox Sports 1 and other competitors that are already in battle (CBS and NBC Sports Network, just to name a couple) in the sports cable trenches. “We like competition,” he admitted. “It makes us better.”

Well, if it took Fox being committed to a new national sports cable network for ESPN to make a dramatic upgrade in their “SportsCenter” set and add a pair of wheels, what took them so long?

Yes, who needs the duo from the Canadian version of “SportsCenter” (that would be Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole, who will be leaving TSN to anchor Fox Sports 1’s nightly “Fox Sports Live” program) when you can watch who we have in a breathtaking new structure!

There’s ESPN bidding aggressively on sports broadcasting contracts – and it is these contracts, as well as long-term carriage deals with cable companies, that Skipper says is the backbone of ESPN’s success – and then there’s flat-out largesse.

A bus? Really? Were plans for a “SportsCenter In The Sky” helicopter a little out of hand?

In a related item, earlier in the day, Fox Sports fired a salvo and announced that when the current Speed channel morphs into Fox Sports 1 on August 17, its action sports-themed network Fuel will indeed be transformed into Fox Sports 2 on the very same day. A third Fox Sports network (Fox College Sports?) can’t be far behind at this point.

But for now, with its splashy “look at how much money and talent we have” upfront, ESPN wins the day in the end.

The question is, will they win the fight with the elephant in the room that will be Fox Sports 1?

2013 NFL Schedule: The Primetime Games: Broncos, Falcons, 49ers, Giants, Patriots, Redskins Have Five Games Each







Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins will play five games in primetime this season, starting with the 2013 opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 9 on ESPN.

Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins will play five games in primetime this season, starting with the 2013 opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 9 on ESPN.

Here is the list of all the primetime games scheduled for the 2013 NFL season.

Commentary to follow… Actually, I’ll get the back-patting out of the way early: I called the Ravens/Broncos opener on September 5, and I called the Washington Redskins getting five primetime games this season, up from just one last year.

And here are the games:

Thursday, September 5 – Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Sunday, September 8 – New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 9 – Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins – 7:10 PM ET – ESPN

Monday, September 9 –  Houston Texans @ San Diego Chargers – 10:20 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, September 12 – New York Jets @ New England Patriots – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, September 15 – San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 16 – Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, September 19 – Kansas City Chiefs @ Philadelphia Eagles – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, September 22 – Chicago Bears @ Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 23 – Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, September 26 – San Francisco 49ers @ St. Louis Rams – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, September 29 – New England Patriots @ Atlanta Falcoms – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 30 – Miami Dolphins @ New Orleans Saints – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 3 – Buffalo Bills @ Cleveland Browns – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 6 – Houston Texans @ San Francisco 49ers – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 7 – New York Jets @ Atlanta Falcons – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 10 – New York Giants @ Chicago Bears – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 13 – Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 14 – Indianapolis Colts @ San Diego Chargers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 17 – Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 20 – Denver Broncos @ Indianapolis Colts – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 21 – Minnesota Vikings @ New York Giants – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 24 – Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 27 – Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 28 – Seattle Seahawks @ St. Louis Rams – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 31 – Cincinnati Bengals @ Miami Dolphins – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 3 – Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 4 – Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 7 – Washington Redskins @ Minnesota Vikings – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 10 – Dallas Cowboys @ New Orleans Saints – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 11 – Miami Dolphins @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 14 –Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 17 – Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 18 – New England Patriots @ Carolina Panthers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 21 – New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 24 – Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 25 – San Francisco 49ers @ Washington Redskins – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 28 (Thanksgiving) – Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens – 8:20 PM ET – NBC

Sunday, December 1 – New York Giants @ Washington Redskins – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 2 – New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, December 5 – Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, December 8 – Atlanta Falcons @ Green Bay Packers – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 9 – Dallas Cowboys @ Chicago Bears – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, December 12 – San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, December 15 – Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 16 – Baltimore Ravens @ Detroit Lions – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Sunday, December 22 – New England Patriots @ Baltimore Ravens – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 23 – Atlanta Falcons @ San Francisco 49ers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Sunday, December 29 – [Teams to be determined following Week 16] – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

TEAMS WITH FIVE PRIMETIME GAMES: Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins.

TEAMS WITH FOUR PRIMETIME GAMES: Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks.

TEAMS WITH THREE PRIMETIME GAMES: Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Chargers.

TEAMS WITH TWO PRIMETIME GAMES: Carolina Panthers, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

TEAMS WITH ONE PRIMETIME GAME: Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans.


OBSERVATIONS: So, let me get this straight: The Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl, yet the runner-up gets one more primetime game in the ensuing season than the World Champions? Explain that to me.

Also, explain to me how the NFL didn’t greenlight the Denver Broncos going to Dallas on Thanksgiving Day. This was a given when the AFC opponents for the Cowboys were released at the top of the year. Or so I thought. Now, it’s going to be a chance to pass out with tryptophan in between another Packers/Lions matinee and the Ravens hosting another Thanksgiving night game, this time against the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers.

I wonder if Peyton Manning not getting a Thanksgiving date with Tony Romo was a byproduct of the Broncos actually hosting the NFL kickoff game.

Predictably, the Eagles/Chiefs game with Andy Reid bringing a new squad into Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia is an NFL Network Thursday night affair.

Predictably, that’s the Chiefs’ lone primetime game. The Jaguars’ sole primetime tilt in 2013 is also on NFLN, as was the case last year. Ditto for the Browns and the Bills, who actually play each other on an NFLN game; the Bills and the Dolphins killed two birds with one Thursday night primetime stone last season.

Thr Dolphins improve from one primetime game last year to three this year. Same with the Vikings. The Colts go from one primetime game last season to four this season. And I’ve already told you about the Redskins’ maxing out at five games, up from one last year.

Further proof NBC loves the NFC East: The Cowboys and Giants open the “Sunday Night Football” 2013 campaign. The Cowboys will appear on “SNF” three times this year, as will the Giants. Two of the Redskins’ five night contests are on NBC; two of them will air on ESPN. Eagles? Nowhere to be found on NBC’s initial schedule. Of course, the latter half of the season allows flex scheduling, so if the Eagles are actually a good team, they’ll likely see more than just the two games (down from five last year() they’ve been scheduled this year. In other words: the Cowboys/Eagles game that was not flexed out late last season might be the last time in awhile you’ll hear Al Michaels working an Eagles game.

And for the first time in recent memory, there are no Saturday games scheduled. The Bay City Rollers will now have to find alternate ways to be preoccupied this year.

Bob Costas: Too Hot For Fox? "Family Guy" Boston Marathon Episode Banned







An episode of "Family Guy" featuring an animated Bob Costas has been pulled by Fox in the wake of the Boston Marathon explosions.

An episode of “Family Guy” featuring an animated Bob Costas has been pulled by Fox in the wake of the Boston Marathon explosions.

Bob Costas linked with the Boston Marathon explosions? Sounds ludicrous – not to be confused with Ludacris – but it’s kinda true.

Just weeks before the tragedy that took place at the conclusion of this year’s Boston Marathon, Fox debuted an episode of “Family Guy”, titled “Turban Cowboy.” The plot involves Peter Griffin, the “family guy” of the show, befriending a Muslim, and later learning that he planned to blow up a bridge in the fictitious city of Quahog, Rhode Island, where the show is based.

Much like many episodes of “Family Guy,” the content in the first scene has little or nothing to do with the main plot: Peter and his buddies go skydiving, and after he engages his parachute, Peter says, “Holy crap, this is awesome! I haven’t felt a rush like this since I won that marathon!”

At that point, the scene cuts to what turns out to be footage of Peter driving his trademark station wagon through a parade of screaming runners. Then, Griffin is seated alongside Costas in a studio. “I’m Bob Costas, here with Boston Marathon winner Peter Griffin. Peter, how did you do it?”

“I’ll tell you, Bob, I just got in my car and drove it,” Peter replied. “And when there was a guy in my way, I killed him.”

Later in the episode, Peter used a cellphone given to him by his new Muslim acquaintance, and when he dialed it, a bomb went off.

Thanks to a video splicing together these two scenes – one that went viral, and even led show creator Seth MacFarlane to denounce the mashed-up video, just as much as he did the real terror at the Boston Marathon – Fox has announced that it would no longer be airing the episode on its network. No word if TBS and Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, cable properties owned by Turner Broadcasting, will follow suit.

But fear not, you can still get your Bob Costas “Family Guy” fix: The NBC Sports and MLB Network personality made cameos in two previous episodes, “Patriot Games” and “Petergeist,” both of which originally aired in season four.

Meanwhile, I guess the real-life Bob Costas, who gained some notoriety with his infamous halftime preaching on “gun culture” on “Sunday Night Football” on the weekend in which Jovan Belcher murdered his girlfriend and then committed suicide, was a little too busy to comment on the actual Boston Marathon carnage on NBC News.

Is it possible for NBC to yank Mike Lupica?

Extra Innings For Erin Andrews On Fox's MLB Coverage This Season?







Erin Andrews will be working Yankees/Tigers on the opening week of Fox's MLB coverage, and perhaps even more regular season baseball games, including primetime broadcasts, later this season.

Erin Andrews will be working Yankees/Tigers on the opening week of Fox’s MLB coverage, and perhaps even more regular season baseball games, including primetime broadcasts, later this season.

Baseball is back on Fox this weekend.

And what will be the beginning of the final chapter of Tim McCarver’s broadcasting career, doubles as the continuation of Erin Andrews’ first chapter with the network.

Andrews will be joining McCarver, Joe Buck and Fox’s regular A-team in-game reporter Ken Rosenthal in Detroit for a Tigers tilt with the New York Yankees on Saturday afternoon; it’s one of eight games Fox will be carrying this season that involves the Bronx Bombers (they’ll play the Boston Red Sox in half of these games).

After making her official Fox Sports debut at last year’s All-Star Game, a mere ten days after she joined the network, and working some games in the last postseason, this will be Andrews’ first regular season baseball assignment.

So now, not only will you have Andrews shadowing Pam Oliver on NFL games, she’ll be counterparting Ken Rosenthal on MLB broadcasts, too.

Is this a one-time deal for opening week? Should we expect Andrews to accompany Buck, McCarver and Rosenthal for the next few months, leading into the Saturday night games in the summer, at which point she’ll depart and concentrate on a new college football season? Or will she also be busy at marquee NASCAR races getting fondled by rappers?

The upcoming eighteenth season of baseball on Fox is also pivotal for the fact that many of its MLB broadcasts will soon be relocated to its new Fox Sports 1 network, launching in four months (many of Fox’s NASCAR races are headed there, as well).

On the one hand, MLB on Fox Sports 1 in September should guarantee Andrews’ college football pregame show on Fox isn’t pre-empted for extra innings.

On the other hand, you’re probably going to have more baseball viewers starting to miss the soon-to-be-retiring McCarver than have missed Andrews at that point.

We’ll find out next week if Andrews lands at Fenway Park next Saturday afternoon for what will likely be the next Buck/McCarver game (Rays/Red Sox). At the very least, she could resurface on Fox’s MLB broadcasts on Memorial Day Weekend, when the first of eight primetime games are scheduled, the 2013 All-Star Game just days after that slate of night games is completed.

I’m sure America’s favorite Erin Andrews critic will be watching with bated eyes.

UPDATE, 4.4.13: The magic number is five. That’s how many games Erin Andrews will work between now and the end of Fox’s primetime game run. That’s according to USA Today’s Michael Hiestand.

Retirement On Deck For Tim McCarver







The 2013 MLB season will be Tim McCarver's last in the Fox booth, putting the finishing touches of a baseball broadcasting career that has spanned four decades. He could resurface via the new Fox Sports 1 network, however.

The 2013 MLB season will be Tim McCarver’s last in the Fox booth, putting the finishing touches of a baseball broadcasting career that has spanned four decades. Pictured is likely how Joe Buck first responded upon hearing the news.

We knew this day was inevitable – and, as usual, there’s a large faction of baseball viewers who are reveling in delight upon hearing this news – but on Wednesday, Fox Sports made it official: 2013 will be Tim McCarver’s final season in the booth.

The decision was all Tim’s, admitting on a conference call from his California residence that it was “not a tough call… My mind was made up and it had been made up for two years.”

The bottom line: “I wanted to step down while I could still do the job” (he also insists “my health is fine”).

Not to suggest that he could no longer perform or anything. McCarver is one of the few broadcasters to be an analyst on all four major broadcast networks, and was the recipient of last year’s Ford C. Frick baseball broadcaster award. He also won three Sports Emmy Awards for his work, though he had not been nominated for “outstanding sports event analyst” since 2010.

Joe Buck will know how that feels this year. But now, he’ll have more concerning things to worry about – like how to prolong the upcoming baseball season.

“I don’t want to do these games without Tim,” Buck said during a conference call. “But I respect his decision to step aside.”

Not only did Buck deem McCarver “a great teammate,” but he also gave him the ultimate compliment: a comparison to his father, the late Jack Buck. “He’s every bit as important to be as my dad.”

So who’s on the short list to replace T-Mac? Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch believes it’s a toss-up between current Turner Sports employees John Smoltz, the MLB Network figure who is an analyst for baseball contests on TBS, and also previously worked Braves broadcasts on Peachtree TV (or what used to be the Atlanta network previously known as “Superstation TBS”), and Ron Darling, who has been calling Mets games for SportsNet New York since 2006.

The Big Lead’s Jason McIntyre agrees, and adds Bob Brenly, who is about to become the new analyst for Arizona Diamondbacks games (departing after one season in baseball is not unheard of; just ask Bobby Valentine).

The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman sees Darling as the favorite to fill McCarver’s shoes in the Fox booth, but also sees current Fox broadcaster Eric Karros, whose previous stops include ESPN and KCAL in Los Angeles, as a viable “in house” option.

USA Today’s Paul White likes Karros, as well as Jim DeShaies (who replaces Brenly in the Chicago Cubs booth effective this season), and the aforementioned Valentine; he also has dark horses in the form of baseball players with little or no broadcasting experience, like Chipper Jones (a teammate of Smoltz on the Braves for many years), Brad Ausmus, and yes, even Manny Ramirez.

The website Awful Announcing (which some argue should be McCarver’s middle name, if not his epitaph) speculates Fox might turn to Karros, Smoltz, or even “poach” a member of ESPN’s baseball analyst staff.

And a couple of Deadspin commenters suggest either former ESPN “Sunday Night Baseball” analyst Joe Morgan, as well as Fox play-by-player Gus Johnson, should sit alongside Buck come 2014.

The 2013 season will be McCarver’s thirtieth straight year on network television, and the ensuing postseason will be an unprecedented 29th for the Memphis native.

In addition to his national work on NBC (1980), CBS (1990-93), ABC (1984-89 and again from 1994-95 during the ill-fated, strike-stricken Baseball Network experiment) and Fox (since 1996), he had spent sixteen seasons as a color analyst for Mets broadcasts on New York’s WOR (later WWOR in 1987); he then began working games for the crosstown New York Yankees on Fox O&O WNYW from 1999 to 2001 (incidentally, it was around this time that News Corporation purchased WWOR, making it a sister station to WNYW). He also worked Giants games for a year in 2002 on San Francisco’s KTVU, another Fox O&O.

McCarver first started his broadcasting career on WPHL in Philadelphia, where he spent the better half of his final decade of his professional baseball career as a catcher with the Phillies; the majority of his playing time was with the Cardinals, who signed him in 1959.

He was barely thirty years old by the time current Fox Sports co-president Eric Shanks was born.

Now, there’s but less than thirty regular season games, including the 2013 All-Star Game, which will take place at CitiField in Flushing, New York, where McCarver analyzed many Mets games in the old Shea Stadium, before T-Mac calls it a career.

Fox has given him an open invite to be involved with their new cable network, Fox Sports 1, launching this summer, but he’s undecided at this point. “There is no plan right now for that and I don’t want to speculate. This March is not next March, and next March I’ll have a pretty good idea about what I will be doing post-Fox baseball.”

This could be the year of sunset for longtime baseball broadcasters. On the West Coast, Vin Scully is about to start his 64th season in the booth. He’s nearly spent twice as much time working ball games as McCarver – and meanwhile, it’s McCarver who’s planning to hang up the headset.

“Timing is everything and I wanted to step down while I know I can still do the job and be proud of the job I have done.”

Love him or hate him (and there’s quite a few in the latter category that have made it known), it is hard not to be proud of what Tim McCarver’s accomplished in thirty-four years of baseball broadcasting.

And even though, physically, Joe Buck will be teamed with an Eric Karros or a Ron Darling or a Manny Ramirez (!), Tim McCarver – sorry, haters – will be irreplaceable.

Joe Buck, Skip Bayless Get 2013 Sports Emmy Snubs







The nominations for the 34th Sports Emmy Awards are out, and it's not a misprint: Fox's Joe Buck, who won the award for Outstanding Play-By-Play Announcer last year, is nowhere to be found on the list this year.

The nominations for the 34th Sports Emmy Awards are out, and it’s not a misprint: Fox’s Joe Buck, who won the award for Outstanding Play-By-Play Announcer last year, is nowhere to be found on the list this year.

In addition to the annual “March madness” tradition that accompanies college basketball every year, so to is the version of “March madness” in sports media – of course, I’m talking about the release of the nominations for the Sports Emmy Awards.

The list of nominees for the 34th edition, scheduled to take place on Tuesday, May 7th at Frederick P. Rose Hall, was made public today by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

But there’s a couple of glaring omissions that may make some people, well, mad.

For instance, the nominees for Outstanding Sports Personality, Play-By-Play was whittled down to four this year from five last year; the nominees were Marv Albert, Mike Emrick, Al Michaels, Jim Nantz, and the winner, Joe Buck. This year, Emrick, Michaels and Nantz get another nod, while Albert does not, and ABC/ESPN NBA announcer Mike Breen is nominated.

That has to be a mistake. After all, not only is Joe Buck one of the top sportscasters in the business today, but determination is his middle name. Who can forget last October, when he doubled up in San Francisco to work a New York Giants/49ers regular season NFL game, then take a trolley to AT&T Park to call Game 4 of the World Series between the San Francisco baseball Giants and the Detroit Tigers? You mean, that doesn’t even earn him an “Outstanding New Approaches [In] Sports Programming” nomination? What gives?

Meanwhile, there’s another name that didn’t carry over from the previous year’s nominations, and we wouldn’t be surprised if there’s not that much outcry over this one: Skip Bayless.

Yes, last year, Bayless was among seven people nominated for Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio Analyst, along with Cris Collinsworth (also nominated for his analyst work on “Sunday Night Football”), Trent Dilfer, Kirk Herbstreit, Al Leiter, Harold Reynolds, and your winner, Charles Barkley.

This year, not only has the field in this category decreased by one yet again, but it looks way different: Joining Barkley and Reynolds this year will be Tony Dungy (NBC), Boomer Esiason (CBS) and Kurt Warner (NFL Network), along with Reynolds’ MLB Network colleague, Bill Ripken.

So no Skip Bayless Emmy nod this year. Bummer. I really thought his live-tweeting the Tim Tebow introductory press conference would have been sports broadcasting gold in the eyes of the Academy!

View the complete list of nominations here. Overall, NBC Sports Group leads all nominees with a whopping fifty-eight – including nine attached to NBC Sports Network, which has two figures (Bob Costas, Dan Patrick) aaccompanying CBS’ James Brown, NFLN’s Rich Eisen and Turner Sports’ Ernie Johnson in the Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio Host category (last year, the field was the same, with the exception of Bryant Gumbel in lieu of Eisen; Costas won). The 2012 London Olympics buoyed NBC to the top of the nominees list. The perennial award nominations leader, ESPN, is second this year with 43.

And none, unfortunately, for Skip Bayless.

UPDATE: Fox Sports Vice President of Communications Dan Bell confirms my suspicion, saying: “Joe is happy for his colleagues who were nominated and wishes them all good luck.”

Erin Andrews' New Twitter Friend @GAGirl666: "I Used To Be A Big Fan Of Hers; Now I Find Her An Embarrassment To Women In The Sports Media"







Erin Andrews once again had to stand up to a "cyber bully" on Twitter - this one quite critical of her work since joining Fox.

Erin Andrews once again had to stand up to a “cyber bully” on Twitter – this one quite critical of her work since joining Fox.

This weekend, the folks at Busted Coverage brought to our attention a Twitter user who goes by the handle of @GAGirl666. And despite having the number of the beast in her handle, it looks like this woman is clearly exorcised by sports media.

Having signed up just around the end of the Super Bowl, she appears to be quite observant of the medium. And she has even had nice things to say about some of the folks in the business – usually of the female persuasion.

She praised Michelle Beadle’s new NBC Sports Network series, “The Crossover,” and has even congratulated Rachel Nichols on her new gig at CNN.

But it looks like her thoughts on new Fox hire Erin Andrews are entirely on the other side of the spectrum.

Andrews, no stranger to Twitter bullies, decided to let that be known on Friday during a live chat sponsored by Microsoft (disclosure: Fox Sports is partners with MSN):

Indeed, among the dozens of folks she follows – most of whom are involved with sports media – the aforementioned Beadle and Nichols are listed, yet Andrews is nowhere to be found. (There’s always the possibility that @GAGirl666 followed Andrews until recently; I can’t say for sure since I haven’t followed her… in fact, at the time this post was first published, @GAGirl666 had no followers at all.)

Regardless, if you sift through her tweets, it certainly seems like she has some sort of an ax to grind with Andrews – even tweeting to her ESPN replacement, Samantha Ponder (and yes, she follows her, too):

@GAGirl666 has also had a spirited tet-a-tet with sports media observer Ken Fang – who recently just so happened to author a piece titled, “Can Fox Find The Right Role For Erin Andrews?”

Indeed, @GAGirl666 has had opinions on Andrews, from her Valentine’s Day chat with TMZ, to the announcement that she would be involved with the new Fox Sports 1 network, launching in mid-August.

And yes, she had a thing or two to say about her awkward interaction with rapper 50 Cent prior to the Daytona 500.

All of these tweets, and more, are documented below.

UPDATE: @GAGirl666 has gotten wind of this post, and has responded to methrough Twitter, of course: “I thought Twitter was a place for people to express their thoughts. Obviously, I was mistaken. I do not owe you or her or anyone else an explanation for my thoughts or my opinions. However, I will say the following: 1. I used to be a big fan of hers, and thought she was the best in the business. Now, I find her an embarrassment to women in the sports media. In my opinion, she’s more concerned with being a celebrity than being a broadcaster or doing a good job. 2. I don’t tag her in my tweets. I am not looking to troll her or interact with her in any way. 2. I do not follow her because I have her on a separate list. My Twitter feed consists of sports tweets. I don’t need a bunch of pictures of herself, or high school tweets with swimsuit models cluttering it up. That’s most of what she tweets. Yes, I tagged her in the tweet about broadcasters because I thought it was a valid point to make to her. Otherwise, why on Earth is this woman reading my feed and my tweets that don’t tag her? And now, I’m done. She’s gotten far more attention from me, and from you, than she deserves. Which is what she wanted.

“I used to think she was a role model for women wanting to get into the business. Now I shudder at the ones who want to be like her.”

I do appreciate @GAGirl666 for reaching out to me and having her say. It not only puts into perspective how she feels the way she does about Andrews, while she respects her female peers in the business. And it also explains why she doesn’t follow Andrews on Twitter, but does keep track of her only as part of a secondary Twitter feed (or “list”) – and her reasons for doing so. (By the way, her statement “I am not looking to troll her” is likely in reference to the original title of this post, “Erin Andrews’ New Twitter Friend @GAGirl666: Stalker, Troll Or Critic?,” which I have updated, now that I’ve heard from the other side – it’s only fair.)

Also, @GAGirl666 wants you to know that Andrews really cares about what this mysterious (and I mean that in a respectful way) non-follower of hers has to say – even if it doesn’t involve Andrews herself. “[Friday] she sat around reading my Twitter page and then tried to engage me in some kind of Twitter debate,” GA says. “And again [Saturday] she was reading my page, responding to a tweet that didn’t even mention her, again trying to engage me. She could’ve thanked me for pointing out her oversight or ignored my tweet completely. Instead she kept coming back trying to stir something up.”

So, remember the first tweet you saw on this post? Apparently, Andrews felt compelled to reply to it. “She specifically went to my page,” GA says re: EA. “Otherwise, she never would have seen my tweet to respond to it. If she thinks I’m a troll or a stalker or whatever she wants to call me, why is she going to my page at all?”

“She came to my page looking to start something. Yet she calls me a troll or a stalker?”

Yes, I actually had no idea EA replied to one of GA’s posts until GA told me – the tweet is not easily visible via Andrews’ Twitter timeline, and I had to expand the tweet on GA’s timeline in order to view EA’s reply.

And, as you just read, in order to reply to a tweet from someone that you don’t follow, you’d have to land on that person’s page in the first place in order to see what they’re writing.

So, GA asks me, “who’s trolling who?” Is Andrews simply letting off some steam here, or is there a dark side to her that we’re not aware of?

And now, with all that in mind, I present @GAGirl666’s tweets about Erin Andrews that led up to this point in time…