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Stephen A. Smith Says He Wants Rich Eisen To Come On First Take

“Smith and Eisen missed working with each other at ESPN by about two years.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: ESPN Images

Stephen A. Smith made a couple of rare comments on the First Take airwaves this week. The highest-paid ESPN media personality discussed the Dallas Cowboys’ wild overtime victory over the New England Patriots when he made a rare reference to a competing network and host.

Smith shouted out NFL Network host Rich Eisen while facing off against one of his NFL Network co-workers, Michael Irvin.

“Each Sunday morning,” Smith said on the debate show. “I make sure I flip that channel over to the NFL Network. I wanted to see because Rich Eisen’s my man, former ESPN dude, love him dearly. Can’t wait to bring him on the show one of these Mondays as well.”

Smith and Eisen missed working with each other at ESPN by about two years. Eisen left for NFL Network in 2003, while Smith debuted Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith on ESPN in 2005. 

“That’s my brother right there. Rich Eisen, and his wonderful wife, Suzy, who I’ve been friends with for decades, decades, I’ve known her for decades. Hey, love you, Suzy.”

Smith shouted out Suzy Shuster, Eisen’s wife, who has an extensive career in sports media as a producer, reporter, and host. Shuster most recently filled in for her husband on his radio show this past summer when Eisen was called away for Tokyo Olympics coverage.

Outside of Shuster, it’s rare to see high-octane competitors get a shutout on the opposite network, but Smith felt compelled to acknowledge his friends on a day when he had to hear all about the Cowboys from Michael Irvin.

Smith is a famous Cowboys hater who never buys into the hype. Now, the Cowboys are 5-1 and off to their best start as a team since 2016. It’s been over a quarter-century since Dallas played in a Super Bowl, let alone won the whole thing. Cowboys fans would love to change that in a time where one of their legends faces off against Smith every Monday.

Sports TV News

Matthew Berry Joins NBC Sports

Berry is expected to host a daily podcast and have his own Sunday fantasy football show.

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Matthew Berry

Matthew Berry, the fantasy football expert that helped to elevate the niche to mainstay programming surrounding the football season, is joining NBC Sports.

Berry, who left ESPN less than a month ago, is expected to host a daily podcast and have his own Sunday fantasy football show, sources told The New York Post. The show might go against Fantasy Football Now, his previous show that airs on ESPN2.

The show is also expected to be on NBC’s streaming service, Peacock, as well as possibly on some NBC affiliates. Berry could also make appearances on Sunday Night Football.

NBC Sports declined comment.

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Sports TV News

NBC Pushing for Big Ten/NFL Primetime Pairing in Media Rights Deal

“The Big Ten would have exposure in every TV home,” said one source to Front Office Sports. “It would also be a smart idea to follow the model of the most successful sports league in America.” 

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Big Ten media rights negotiations are getting closer to being completed. The results could mean a minimum of $1.25 billion annual distribution for the conference’s soon-to-be sixteen members. One of the bidders in the process, NBC, has an interesting idea to make the Big Ten the “NFL of college football conferences.”

NBC has reportedly pushed the idea of combining Big Ten broadcasts with its existing Notre Dame coverage and would feature the Big Ten in its primetime window. With CBS, ESPN/ABC also bidding on coverage packages, such a series of deals would make the Big Ten the only college football conference that would be seen across all of the American broadcast networks. Something only few entities have done, like the NFL.

NBC is also pushing the allure of having primetime Big Ten football on Saturday night and primetime coverage of Sunday’s only NFL evening game with Sunday Night Football.

“The Big Ten would have exposure in every TV home,” said one source to Front Office Sports. “It would also be a smart idea to follow the model of the most successful sports league in America.” 

The Big Ten’s current media rights deals expire after the 2023 season.

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Sports TV News

ESPN’s College GameDay Adds Peloton Instructor and Sports Reporter Jess Sims

ESPN has announced the newest member of the College GameDay show for this football season and it’s Jess Sims.

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Jess Sims

ESPN has announced the newest member of the College GameDay show for this football season and it’s Jess Sims.

Sims is a very popular Peloton instructor and a sports reporter. According to ESPN, Sims will be joining the show weekly with Rece Davis, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack. The show is entering it’s 36th season.

Sims played college basketball at Liberty College, then worked with the WNBA’s New York Liberty as an in-arena host and sideline reporter for the last two seasons.

“Jess is a rising star who exudes personality and energy.  We’re looking forward to her adding to the excitement surrounding College GameDay each week throughout the season – both during the show and as we engage with students and fans on every campus we visit” said Lee Fitting, ESPN senior vice president, production.

“I am so excited to join the GameDay crew because the show not only celebrates all of the on-field action, but also highlights the passionate communities that surround the games,” said Sims. “This is such a great opportunity to get back to my roots in college sports and I can’t wait to meet incredible athletes and fans and explore these campuses and cities that eat, sleep and breathe their hometown teams.”

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