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Doris Burke: Nothing Means More Than Inspiring Other Women

“I know there are women who preceded me who carved a more difficult path than I did. It was their professionalism and their competence that allowed me the opportunities I had.”

Ricky Keeler

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When you think about who the most notable women in the sports media industry are, it does not take long for someone to mention NBA analyst Doris Burke. Burke has had an impact on so many women in the industry and she was the latest guest on the latest episode of Mike Greenberg’s podcast, I’m Interested

Towards the end of the interview, Greenberg asked Burke about the impact she has had on other women in the industry and how others look up to her. She gave some powerful words and talked about how she is excited for what women are currently doing in the industry: 

“I am so excited by the women I see because I know they are just going to go to higher and higher ground. I will tell you the truth. I did not enter this business. It was sort of a happy accident for me. I love the game of basketball. It has shaped my life since I was 7 years old…So much of my self-worth was wrapped up in could I be an All-Big East player. I have been fortunate in terms of timing. I am operating at a point in history where coverage of women’s sports was growing exponentially. If it’s not for the WNBA, I don’t get in front of those executives at MSG. I am the beneficiary of incredible divine providence and unbelievable timing.

“If somehow I have made the path easier for the women who come behind me, nothing I professionally have done would mean more to me. I know there are women who preceded me who carved a more difficult path than I did. It was their professionalism and their competence that allowed me the opportunities I had.”

During the interview, Burke mentioned how one of her favorite memories in her broadcasting career was being on the broadcast for the UCONN women’s 66-64 loss to Mississippi State in the 2017 Women’s Final Four that ended the Huskies’ 111-game win streak. While describing that moment, she takes the listener inside what she was feeling at the time as well as her notable reaction to the moment: 

“We were in Dallas, Texas. The building was packed. It’s funny because they put a spy camera towards the announce team. Pat Lowry was the coordinating producer. She called me the next morning and asked if I mind if they release the tape? I said hell no. That’s incredible footage of a very real raw reaction and I said please send it out because you are giving the viewer a glimpse into our world.

“That is the play-by-play’s moment. We were working as a threesome for the first time. Kara Lawson just joined our telecast. I wanted to make sure Dave O’Brien called it and to put some context on it.”

For every broadcaster or media member, it takes that big break for them to get on the national stage. For Burke, that also applies as she was able to work her first playoff game and got an email from a basketball Hall-Of Famer and current ESPN analyst: 

“My first playoff game only happens because they had been telling Tom Tolbert to get a password and he could never logistically work it out. ESPN’s first game was on a Saturday at noon in Toronto and Tom could not go. That was my first playoff game. I remember this distinctly. After that, I got an email from Bill Walton. It was substantial, but it said congratulations, it was absolutely fantastic, and I hope you get to work more games as an analyst. That was a big break for me.” 

Sports TV News

Nick Wright: The Best Version of First Things First is What We’re Doing Now

“I used to approach the TV show with the perspective of I have to prove how smart I am to the audience every single day.”

Ricky Keeler

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Nick Wright has been a co-host on First Things First on FS1 for the last five-and-a-half years. The show has evolved over the years and according to Wright, he has evolved as a broadcaster from the time he got cut from doing play-by-play at WAER in Syracuse to now.

Wright was a guest on The Colin Cowherd Podcast this week and he said that when he first appeared on television, he wanted the audience to think he had all the answers, but the mindset has changed for him and he said the new version of the show that he does with Kevin Wildes and Chris Broussard every weekday is the most successful version of the show.

“When I got on TV, I think the first year maybe, I thought the job was to always have all the answers. To have the facts exactly right, to never be wrong. I’ve now done the show for five-and-a-half years. By a country mile, the most successful version of the show is the one I’m doing right now — this moment — with Wildes and Broussard. It’s the funniest and that’s why.

“I used to approach the TV show with the perspective of I have to prove how smart I am to the audience every single day. Now I approach it as our entire goal is to put on a show that people smile while they are watching and have a good time and that has enough meat to it where it is not all empty calories. There’s got to be the information, there’s got to be the analysis, but there’s also got to be a lot of bells and whistles and funny stuff and guys messing with each other and that’s what works. That took me a while to figure out.”

The only time when Wright didn’t think he had to prove how smart he was when he first appeared on TV was when he would appear on The Herd as Cowherd’s guest and he had a goal in mind whenever he would appear on the show.

“Early in our relationship, I was really, really trying to impress you and I wanted to make you laugh. Every time I came on, I was like ‘It’s successful if I made Colin laugh’. I was too stupid to realize I should just be trying to make the audience laugh, too… That was the best version of me at the time. I felt like you knew I was smart, so I wasn’t trying to prove it to you. I could be the best version of myself.”

While Wright knows he is not a traditional broadcaster, he mentioned to Cowherd that there is one skill set he definitely knows he has.

“The point is I’m not a great broadcaster, like a traditional broadcaster. I can’t read off a teleprompter, but there is a specific thing I can do, which is confidently argue, whether it’s 1-on-1 with my wife or in front of a million people.”

Even though Wright got cut from doing play-by-play at Syracuse, he told Cowherd he was doing talk shows at the station still and it led him to where he is today.

“I was fortunate that I was already working on the talk-show staff. Growing up, I thought I wanted to do play-by-play, but what I wanted to do was color commentary. I would watch the NBA on NBC with Bob Costas, Bill Walton, and Steve ‘Snapper’ Jones and what I wanted to do was the color, but I didn’t realize you can’t do that unless you are a former player or a former coach. They aren’t hiring me to do commentary

“I was crushed, but it made me fully pivot to talk shows. Now at WAER, the talk show studio is named after me and my picture is on the wall. I am a Hall of Famer there. Bob Costas, Marv Albert, Nick Wright, those are the three studios there.”

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Sports TV News

Outside the Lines Won’t Return to ESPN Weekend Schedule

The show, which debuted in 1990, aired as a daily show from 2003 to 2019 and aired a Sunday-edition from 2000 to 2017.

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ESPN has decided to not return Outside the Lines to its weekend lineup, ending the show’s linear television run.

A report from John Ourand of Sports Business Journal claims ESPN told OTL staffers that the show wouldn’t return to the network after the Super Bowl.

The show, which debuted in 1990, aired as a daily show from 2003 to 2019 and aired a Sunday-edition from 2000 to 2017. Outside the Lines was often regarded as the “moral compass” of ESPN, and was often the source of some of the more investigative reporting employed by the network.

Outside the Lines — which was airing at 9:00 AM on Saturday mornings — averaged 303,000 viewers in the timeslot. Meanwhile, SportsCenter: AM has seen an average audience of 572,000 in the same window.

The Outside the Lines brand will continue being utilized during the Noon ET SportsCenter, as well as ESPN digital platforms, including the network’s YouTube page.

Jeremy Schaap will continue to host the Outside the Lines segments during SportsCenter, but will also be the host of a new iteration of The Sports Reporters that will air on ESPN’s YouTube channel. Schaap’s father, Dick, was the host of the ESPN Sunday morning program from 1988 until his death in 2001. The show aired on ESPN from 1988 to 2017.

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Sports TV News

CBS: Calling Meeting With Tony Romo ‘Intervention’ is ‘Complete Mischaracterization’

“We meet regularly with our on-air talent.”

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An opening question in broadcasting circles is ‘What happened to Tony Romo?’, with even CBS reportedly pondering the issue.

During The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast earlier this week, The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand claimed CBS attempted “an intervention” with its lead NFL analyst.

The intended mission of several alleged meetings with CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus and CBS NFL producer Jim Rikhoff was to return Romo to his previous heights, which were widely regarded as the best NFL analyst in the business.

CBS Sports has responded to the insinuation that the meetings would be classified as an “intervention” with a strong denial.

“To call this an intervention is a complete mischaracterization, we meet regularly with our on-air talent,” CBS Sports spokeswoman Jen Sabatelle told Marchand

Marchand added that CBS Sports officials plan to attempt to rectify the issues it sees with Romo again this offseason. Romo — who signed a 10-year, $180 million contract with CBS Sports in 2020 — is slated to call Super Bowl LVIII in 2024 with Jim Nantz.

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