FS1’s documentary Unrivaled: Earnhardt vs. Gordon was a huge success for the network. The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch reports that the debut drew an audience of 854,000. That makes it the most watched original film debut in the network’s history.
The movie earned rave reviews from fans and NASCAR insiders alike. Dale Earnhardt Jr. even commented on Twitter about the power of watching his father’s arch-rival pay tribute to the late Earnhardt Sr.
Fox Sports Films worked with NASCAR in developing Unrivaled: Earnhardt vs. Gordon. Michael Tolajian was named Senior Vice President and Executive Producer of Fox Sports Films in December. The company’s next original project is yet to be announced.
ESPN Could Still Land Some Big Ten Media Rights
“We’ll continue to be good partners with them in a slightly different way than we have.”
The Big Ten announced the conference’s newest slate of media rights deals on Thursday. The conference confirmed it has partnered with NBC, CBS and FOX for the next seven years. The one glaring outsider is ESPN. However, even though the two may have parted ways after this current media rights deal has expired, there may still be a way to see Big Ten products on ESPN.
In an article from Pat Forde from Sports Illustrated, sources indicate to him the network may still be able to ink an agreement to carry Big Ten contests as a sublicensee. He notes the most likely sport that would happen in is men’s basketball.
“We have one more year with them,” Warren said of ESPN and the 2022–23 season. “They’re professionals, we’re professionals, and we’ve had a close relationship with them for a long time.”
“I don’t think we expect this will be the end of the relationship. We’ll continue to be good partners with them in a slightly different way than we have.”
Roxy Bernstein: ‘Bill Walton’s Persona Is An Entertaining Act’
“But Bill, I think this is good simulation for him.”
One of the enduring broadcast themes of college basketball season is Bill Walton’s calling Pac-12 games and doing so with a but of an untethered flare. Roxy Bernstein, one of Walton’s broadcast partners, says it’s a deliberate attempt to be interesting.
“I think people see this caricature on television,” Bernstein said. “Let me clue you in on a secret and pull back the curtain here: it’s an act.”
Bernstein made these comments as a guest on Announcer Schedules the Podcast. He talked about Walton’s style being one that suits him to satisfy his own happiness.
“If he wanted to be a cookie-cutter analyst, he’s done that. He could do it,” commented Bernstein. “But Bill, I think this is good simulation for him. His ability to inform the audience and make it a well-rounded broadcast, to culture the audience so there’s just laser-focused in on this game.”
Bernstein also noted that when you see Walton and his play-by-play partner for the first time on television, it’s often the first time they are speaking to each other.
“He never opens the door to what is going to happen that night,” said Bernstein. “Essentially the first conversation of that day that we are having is, ‘Hi, welcome to Pauley Pavilion. Along with the Hall of Famer Bill Walton, I’m Roxy Bernstein’. That’s the first time we are really talking all day.”
Michael Grady Named Play-By-Play Announcer of the Minnesota Timberwolves
“Today is a thrilling day for myself and my family as this has been my lifelong dream to be an NBA play-by-play announcer,” said Grady.
The Minnesota Timberwolves, in partnership with Bally Sports North, named Michael Grady as their new television play-by-play announcer.
Grady, 39, will partner with color analyst Jim Petersen.
“Michael’s extensive knowledge of the game and his genuine on-air style make him the perfect fit for this role,” said Timberwolves & Lynx Chief Executive Officer Ethan Casson. “As Michael returns to his Midwest roots, we couldn’t be more excited to have his voice on the call for Timberwolves games for seasons to come.”
Grady spent the last six years with the YES Network as the Brooklyn Nets courtside reporter. He does have previous NBA television play-by-play experience including work with the New York Liberty, Turner Sports, NBATV and the 2022 WNBA Commissioners Cup. He also sas called play-by-play for college basketball and college football games for CBS.
“Today is a thrilling day for myself and my family as this has been my lifelong dream to be an NBA play-by-play announcer,” said Grady. “I can’t wait to join Jim Petersen and the rest of the Bally Sports North crew calling games for this exciting franchise. I also look forward to interacting with our phenomenal Timberwolves fans and partners in the community to continue to tell the stories of this great basketball state.”
“Michael’s unique background and basketball acumen will serve him well in his new role,” said Executive Producer for Bally Sports North Tony Tortorici. “Fans will enjoy his smooth delivery for this exciting new era of Timberwolves basketball and he will be a great compliment to longtime Timberwolves analyst Jim Petersen.”