Sports TV News
Lundquist & Danielson Discuss Their Partnership
Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson have spent the past decade as broadcast partners at CBS – as the cornerstone of the network’s college football coverage – and as part of the SEC on CBS, the duo has seen some of the biggest games in the conference’s history.
The Sentinel caught up with both as they get set to broadcast this week’s Florida-Georgia game Saturday at 3:30 ET on CBS.
Q: How would you describe the past 10 years in broadcasting together?
Lundquist: “Since I’ve started network television in 1974 – I haven’t kept a list, but I have a pretty good idea that – I’ve had more than 40 partners. I’m his longest running partner and he’s mine. It’s been 10 years and we’ve established a friendship and an understanding of each other. I don’t want to irritate any of my previous partners, but I think Gary is the best that I’ve ever worked with.”
Q: What makes your partnership work?
Lundquist: “It wasn’t easy the first year. It never is for anybody. There is a feeling out process. I had worked with Todd Blackledge for the previous six. We had a sudden opening and Gary was available. … I was thrilled because I always respected his degree of preparation, the insight that he brought to a telecast – I’ve learned in the subsequent decade that he never ever makes a comment that is flippant. If he takes a stance, you can rest assured that he has thought about it, he’s researched it, and he believes it. He’s a very principled broadcaster. … It’s that kind of thing that he brings to the broadcast that I really admire.”
“On a personal level, we’ve adjusted every year. I think we’ve grown closer as the years have gone by. I think that has to do with respect. I trust Gary implicitly. I know when we show up in Jacksonville, he will be as well-prepared as he can be. He goes about it completely different than I do because he’s got a responsibility. I’m more the nuts-and-bolts guy – the storyteller – so I’m looking for anecdotes and human interest things and Gary is studying tape and trying to break down who can bring what to the encounter. So we have different roles.”
“I think over the years we’ve learned to A) trust each other – he trusts me to get my side of it done so I come in there prepared and then I think the personalities are so completely different. But that’s turned into strength. That was not true in 2006. We had our moments where we talked over each other and we had our moments where he would look at me and raise his eyes and think ‘Where are you going with this?’ And I would have my moments where I would look at him – it was never expressed – but I would think ‘Why did you just say that.’ But over time – and it began to happen in the second year. He’s so well-prepared and he such concrete opinions. He’s uncanny at his ability to anticipate. I think that’s one of his greatest strengths.”
“We’re not chit-chatting all the time and we don’t normally talk during the week. We go about it completely separately and completely differently. I’ve learned to know when he’s got something on his mind and that he wants to express it. And so I give him the space and I hope he feels that way. And he knows if it’s an anecdote about something, I’ll raise my finger in the air to let him know I have something that I think can add value. … We try to make it as much of a conversation as we can.”
Danielson: “I think first of all what made it work was that we weren’t young newlyweds. We had both gone through a few marriages and we both respected each other’s work when we came to this marriage. We knew that really there is no such thing as a utopia as a partner – everybody has their flaws. Everybody needs their space. … I think we both know that there is time to get away from each other. There is time to give each other space, but we both know that we’re better together than we are separate.
“I marvel at the way that Verne can get along with everybody from the university prior to the game. He takes a deep interest in the smallest things of people. I might not do that outwardly as much as him, but I appreciate it. I think he takes a look at me and has respect for the fact that I can shut out the outside world – almost like a player – and get down to the basics. I think we both respect that about each other.”
“It’s better for us to bring a different perspective each week and if we work too closely together we sort of get the same perspective. … I think the biggest part is that we both understand that we don’t have to be the same to like each other and we don’t have to exactly the same perspective to do a good job for the game. We can come at it from different ends and blend in the middle.”
To read the rest of the article visit the Orlando Sentinel where it was originally published
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Sports TV News
Inside the NFL Headed To The CW For 2023
“We are excited to partner with NFL Films and welcome “Inside the NFL” to The CW Sports family.
After being cut loose by Paramount+ earlier in the year, Inside the NFL has found a new home on The CW, premiering on September 5 at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST. The transition will mean the show is set to air on a broadcast network for the first time. It previously was carried by HBO and then Showtime. It will also be available to stream on The CW app and on cwtv.com.
The Emmy Award-winning series, which has been on the air since 1977, is centered around highlights and interviews from the previous week, with distinctive footage and audio supplied by NFL Films. It gives football fans an outlet to catch up on the action they might have missed, even though the scope of highlight shows is diminishing because of the advent of social media in an immersive content landscape.
“We are excited to partner with NFL Films and welcome Inside the NFL to The CW Sports family,” Dennis Miller, president of The CW, said in a statement. “For almost five decades, Inside the NFL has been an industry leader in showcasing can’t-miss weekly highlights, unprecedented behind-the-scenes content, exclusive access to players and lively discussion. By combining this premiere NFL content with our robust broadcast audience, we look forward to bringing this legendary sports series to more fans than ever before and to advertisers for the first time.”
Producers and hosts for the latest iteration of the show will be announced at a later date, and it will also have an impact on the fall programming schedule for the network itself. Recent editions of the show were hosted by James Brown and featured various former players, such as Brandon Marshall, Phil Simms and Julian Edelman.
“Generations of football fans have grown up watching Inside the NFL,” Ross Ketover, senior executive of NFL Films, added in a statement. “It is a show we cherish at NFL Films and we are thrilled to bring it to a great new partner in The CW. This is a special opportunity to reimagine and reboot Inside the NFL for a wider audience and a new generation of fans. We can’t wait to get started.”
Sports TV News
Frank Thomas Joins Friday Night Baseball on Apple TV+
“He will make his debut on June 9.”
It didn’t take long for Frank Thomas to find a new gig. He is joining Apple TV+. He will make his Friday Night Baseball debut this week according to Front Office Sports.
Thomas’s role will involve multiple duties. He will conduct interviews with some of the game’s biggest stars. Those will take place on the field and in clubhouses before the games. He will also be in the booth for select games.
After FOX hired Derek Jeter to join its studio coverage of Major League Baseball, the network let Thomas go. He had been part of MLB on FOX since 2014. Royce Dickerson, who worked with “The Big Hurt” at FOX is now Apple’s executive producer for live sports.
Frank Thomas will not be available for Apple every week. He will be used on marquee matchups.
He will make his debut on June 9. Thomas will interview Mike Trout ahead of the Angels’ visit to Seattle to take on their division rivals, the Mariners.
Sports TV News
Darren Pang to Replace Colby Cohen On Blackhawks TV Crew
“At this time, we have decided it’s important for my family to be back close to our family and our home in Philadelphia.”
Changes in media coverage for hockey are continuing amid the Stanley Cup Final with the announcement of Colby Cohen walking away from Chicago Blackhawks broadcasts. The team is reportedly hiring Darren Pang, who has been featured as a reporter on NHL on TNT national broadcasts throughout the postseason, as their lead television color commentator. He will work alongside the sophomore play-by-play voice of the team, Chris Vasters, on NBC Sports Chicago. News of the decision was first reported by Jeff Agrest of the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Blackhawks television crew utilized a hybrid approach last season, rotating between Cohen, Patrick Sharp and Troy Murray. The change comes one offseason after the team revamped its television booth following the retirement of Pat Foley, which resulted in Eddie Olczyk joining the Seattle Kraken television booth. Cohen confirmed news of his exit Wednesday morning on Twitter in a statement where he expressed his gratitude for his two seasons on Blackhawks broadcasts.
“My family and I want to thank the Wirtz family and the entire Chicago Blackhawks organization for… two great years working for one of the greatest organizations in sports,” Cohen said in a tweet. “We will miss the thunderous noise of the United Center and the great city of Chicago where our daughter was born. At this time, we have decided it’s important for my family to be back close to our family and our home in Philadelphia.”
Cohen spent just over three years with NBC Sports Philadelphia as a broadcaster for the Philadelphia Flyers, and has also worked on ESPN’s NHL coverage since 2016. It is unknown if Cohen will pursue another regional broadcasting role before the start of next season. He was originally hired by the team in 2021 to serve as a content analyst, creating digital features for the Blackhawks and working on studio coverage.
Pang has worked on Bally Sports Midwest with the St. Louis Blues for the last 14 years, but is now presumably set to move on and work with the team he played for as a goaltender over parts of three seasons. Additionally, he is expected to remain with Warner Bros. Discovery, recently telling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he is on the verge of inking a three-year contract extension with the company. Pang is expected to be the primary color analyst, with the team either finding new roles for Sharp and Murray or using them in a backup capacity. Most hockey insiders expect the Blackhawks to open next season with rookie sensation and consensus first-overall draft selection Connor Bedard on the roster.