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Bob Ley Announces 6 Month Sabbatical From OTL

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ESPN stalwart Bob Ley took to Twitter earlier today to announce that he would temporarily step away from his role on Outside the Lines beginning in October.


Ley has been the host of Outside the Lines since it launched in 1990. Jeremy Schaap, Kate Fagan, and Ryan Smith appear with Ley regularly on the show. They will host during Ley’s time away.

Kyle Koster explained what ESPN is losing with Ley taking time off.

Just a few weeks ago, Ley was the subject of a Ringer profile painting him as the most important on-air talent at ESPN, the person most capable of serving as a compass for the company in today’s political climate. It’s tough to argue that conclusion. That mantle falls to someone else for the next half-year.

If the sabbatical does indeed last six months Ley would be due to return on April 1.

Sports TV News

NFL Sunday Ticket Crowded With More Issues in Week 3

A quick survey of the official DirecTV twitter account on Monday shows dozens of replies to customers complaining that the service did not work for them.

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The NFL Sunday Ticket issues that appeared in the first two weeks of the NFL season continued to show themselves in Week 3.

In the first two weeks of the season, DirecTV was lambasted online for not being able to provide customers access to the entire NFL slate as the service promises. On Sunday, it was much of the same. A quick survey of the official DirecTV twitter account on Monday shows dozens of replies to customers complaining that the service did not work for them.

DirecTV has one more year of the service’s distribution rights before it will move on to another company. The new company that will host the NFL Sunday Ticket feature has not been announced.

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Sports TV News

Thursday Night Football Ratings Slightly Dip In Second Week

Even with the ratings dip, Thursday Night Football was stilly easily the top-rated program of the evening. Law & Order: SVU was second place with 5.5 million viewers.

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Thursday Night Football

Amazon Prime Video saw ratings for Thursday Night Football drop from 13 million for its debut broadcast featuring the Chiefs and Chargers to 11 million for the Browns and Steelers.

The 11 million viewers, however, is a 39% increase over Thursday Night Football from week 3 of last year, which saw the Carolina Panthers face the Houston Texans exclusively on NFL Network. Amazon’s internal numbers, paired with Nielsen’s estimations for the Cleveland and Pittsburgh markets suggest 13.6 million viewers watched the week contest.

Even with the ratings dip, Thursday Night Football was stilly easily the top-rated program of the evening. Law & Order: SVU was second place with 5.5 million viewers.

Another interesting note, according to Nielsen’s ratings, the average viewer of Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video is 46 years old. That average is six years younger than the average viewer on tradition television.

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Sports TV News

JJ Redick Gets New Contract, New Role At ESPN

“The deal comes after Turner had expressed interest in luring him away from Bristol.”

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Basketball fans will see a lot more of JJ Redick on ESPN when the new NBA season begins. The journeyman guard debuted at the network last year and while he made a big impression, Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports that Redick’s role is about to get a lot more substantial.

ESPN has signed JJ Redick to a three-year contract extension. The deal comes after Turner had expressed interest in luring him away from Bristol.

The new deal will see Redick leaving the studio to be a game analyst. He will partner with Richard Jefferson in a three-man booth. Who will handle play-by-play is yet to be decided, but ESPN executives reportedly want to build around the chemistry Redick and Jefferson have shown.

He will also be part of the network’s NBA Draft coverage. Specific duties for that broadcast are yet-to-be-announced.

Finally, ESPN is making sure that JJ Redick continues to create viral moments for First Take. The new deal stipulates that Redick remains part of the regular rotation of analysts joining Stephen A. Smith, Molly Qerim and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, but no specific schedule was outlined in Marchand’s reporting.

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