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After First Take Slams Milwaukee, ESPN Milwaukee Seeks Answers

“The natives called it “mee-lee-wah-kay,” which is of course Algonquin for “The Good Land.” It’s not a nickname a city earns by accident.”

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Chelsea Lewis & Mike DeSisti

The hosts of First Take are no fans of Milwaukee, and it seems the feeling is mutual. On Wednesday morning, Stephen A. Smith answered “hell no!” when asked if he was looking forward to go to the Cream City for the NBA Finals. By the afternoon, a petition had been launched to ban the show from the city.

Host Molly Qerim then piled on. She said that the last time she did not go to the Super Bowl was the year it was played in Minneapolis. Now she doesn’t believe she and Max Kellerman are headed to the NBA Finals and declared that both events she missed were in “terrible cities”.

“I don’t believe either of them will win their series, but I have never been rooting harder for Atlanta and the Los Angeles Clippers in my life,” Smith said.

Clearly Querim and Smith have never seen Wayne’s World. Otherwise they would know that Milwaukee has certainly had its share of visitors. The natives called it “mee-lee-wah-kay,” which is of course Algonquin for “The Good Land.” It’s not a nickname a city earns by accident.

Jen, Gabe and Chewy welcomed one of the offending parties to their show on ESPN Milwaukee on Wednesday morning. Stephen A. Smith didn’t change his mind over being excited to see the city, but he did note that he expects Bucks fans to be very happy.

“I think there’s a better than 60% possibility that the Milwaukee Bucks will win the championship at this stage and point,” he said before adding “I don’t believe there’s anyway in hell you win that series if Kyrie Irving hadn’t twisted his ankle.”

Also dropping by for a conversation was Smith’s partner Max Kellerman. Unlike Qerim and Smith, Kellerman said he had no issues with the city. When Lada asked if there was a reluctance from the national media to embrace the Bucks, Kellerman said yes but not because Milwaukee isn’t a Cosmopolitan city. It’s more due to the team’s ownership group, which features a couple of New York City hedge fund guys, becoming cheap after they acquired the franchise. Kellerman added that the team’s ability to win a championship depends more on other teams having star players injured and catching them at the right time, rather than the Bucks being the best team.

With Bucks fever sweeping across the city, ESPN Milwaukee has increased playoff programming to capture the excitement. The station announced today the launch of ‘Bucks at 6’, a show featuring former Bucks player Tony Smith and former Wisconsin basketball player and ESPN Madison host Ben Brust.

Sports TV News

Rece Davis Believes Final Regular Season College GameDay Show Typically Most Hectic Due to Coaching Changes

“There were so many coaching changes and decisions, and we’re getting people on the phone. That was before everybody got comfortable with FaceTime.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Rece Davis

College GameDay was in Columbus this past weekend ahead of Ohio State’s annual rivalry game against Michigan, and host Rece Davis said a number of head coaching announcements throughout the show made for some pretty chaotic moments.

Luke Fickell being named the new head coach at Wisconsin and former Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule being hired at Nebraska were among the marquee hirings announced over the weekend.

On the College GameDay Podcast, Davis said trying to get information confirmed and incorporated into the show in real time was exhilarating.

“It was a bizarre, fun show that we’ve had over the years when we’ve gone to Ohio State/Michigan,” he said. “I remember the ’16 year that we extended the show to five hours. It was really fun, and then a really great game followed it. And there were so many coaching changes and decisions, and we’re getting people on the phone. That was before everybody got comfortable with FaceTime. But there were a lot of bizarre things going on.”

Podcast co-host and senior college football reporter Pete Thamel echoed Davis’ sentiments, saying he would do a hit on the show, then take out his earpiece and immediately get back on the phone to work on getting the most up to date information.

“It was whoa,” he said. “We did the first segment…and normally I would’ve stayed and watched to see what the guys had to say, but I just walked off the stage and went back and started making calls.”

In addition to the Wisconsin and Nebraska hirings, Thamel was also working on trying to figure out the situation at Auburn. He helped get Rhule on the show as well, and he said it was cool the show’s team was able to book guests so quickly from different locations in the country.

“We literally went coast to coast on GameDay with good interviews on Saturday,” he said.

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Sports TV News

Disney CEO Bob Iger: Company Will Chase Profitability Over Growing Subscriber Base

“We have to start chasing profitability. It will be demanded of us.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Change is abound at Disney, but it’s welcomed change. CEO Bob Iger, who was announced as the replacement for Bob Chapek last week, said his goal is to help get the company’s financial ship righted.

“We have to start chasing profitability,” Iger told employees and executives at a town hall. “It will be demanded of us.”

Iger announced one of his first moves in returning to the CEO role was to shake up its digital media and entertainment distribution division. That branch of the company oversees its streaming services like Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+. Disney+ boasts tens of millions of subscribers, and Chapek focused heavily on reaching as many people as possible.

But Disney stock price has shrunk sharply over the course of the last year, and there have been other areas of the company in which there has been discourse. There was some belief that Disney could be up for sale.

Iger hopes things at the company can be turned around in due course, but he made one thing for certain: Disney and its properties are not for sale.

“Nothing is forever, but I’m very comfortable with the set of assets that we have,” he said. “I think they can serve our company, don’t expect any headlines soon about deals.”

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Sports TV News

YES Network Considering Derek Jeter and Don Mattingly for Analyst Roles

“I have something else burning fairly hot right now,” Mattingly said. “Depends how that goes.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Could Yankees fans see and hear from two of the franchise’s most beloved former players on TV next season? It’s not out of the realm of possibility. The New York Post reported Monday the team’s YES Network appeared to have an interest in bringing in Derek Jeter and Don Mattingly.

But according to the network’s president of programming and production John Filippelli, it’s all speculative at this point.

“We haven’t had any in-depth discussion with either,” he told Andrew Marchand. “If they are A) available and B) interested, you probably at least have to have a conversation.”

Marchand reached out to Mattingly, who finished his run as manager of the Miami Marlins at the end of the 2022 season, and the former Dodgers manager seemed to indicate that there is another potential opportunity in the works.

“I have something else burning fairly hot right now,” Mattingly said. “Depends how that goes.”

Jeter will likely be a hard sell on getting into the booth. The understanding is the legendary former shortstop doesn’t have a big interest in getting into broadcasting like his former teammate Alex Rodriguez.

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