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Networks Pay Tribute To John Madden In Week 17

“Madden worked for all four networks during his TV career, so nearly everyone in a booth or in the studio had something to say.”

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No one has had a bigger impact on the way football is presented on television than John Madden. It makes total sense then that in the NFL would take time out during the first games after his death to pay tribute.

Moments of silence were held in every stadium where games were played in Week 17. Fans watching at home saw a variety of tributes as well. Madden worked for all four networks during his TV career, so nearly everyone in a booth or in the studio had something to say.

No network owes its sports presence to the influence of John Madden more than FOX. The network replaced its own logo on Sunday with the drawing of Madden used on his video games and as the promotional image for the recent All Madden documentary.

Both of the network’s pregame shows also paid tribute to the Hall of Famer.

There may be no booth in history as beloved as Madden and his longtime partner Pat Summerall. While no one can replace that duo, Jim Nantz and Tony Romo may hold the “most beloved” distinction today. The CBS duo paid their respects, talking about Madden’s impact on both the network and sports television.

FOX had a tribute to Madden as a broadcaster as well.

One of the most impactful tributes came from Al Michaels. He and John Madden were partners on ABC’s Monday Night Football and then worked together on NBC when the network won the rights to Sunday Night Football.

In a video essay, Michaels described Madden as “a thoughtful listener” and “a terrific teacher” both on the field and behind the mic.

While John Madden never worked for ESPN, he was part of Monday Night Football from 2002 until 2005. Between the regular broadcast and ESPN2’s Manningcast, it is certain that there will be more tributes to the late coach and broadcaster when the Steelers play host to the Cleveland Browns in Week 17’s final game.

Sports TV News

FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage

“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”

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The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.

Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.

“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.

Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.

How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.

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Sports TV News

NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake

“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”

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The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.

“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”

Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.

Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.

Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”

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Sports TV News

Greg Olsen Believes He and Kevin Burkhardt Can Handle Games ‘On Any Stage’

“Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

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Greg Olsen

Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen are on tap to call Super Bowl LVII in February, and Olsen told Front Office Sports he has the confidence to announce the game with no hesitations.

“If you’re asking me, I think Kevin and I have shown that we can handle a game on any stage – on any day. We just did it on Thanksgiving. We’ll do it again around Christmas. And obviously throughout the [NFL] Playoffs,” said Olsen. “So whatever decision they make. Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

“But as of now, I anticipate Kevin and I, the two of us, with Erin and Tom down on the sidelines, the four of us, broadcasting the Super Bowl in February in Arizona. Until I’m told otherwise, that’s how we’re proceeding.”

Olsen also told FOS he has negotiated a new contract with FOX Sports, but declined to share details. He is slated to be replaced on the top broadcast crew once Tom Brady ends his playing career. Brady will then begin a 10-year, $375 million contract to serve as the network’s top NFL game analyst and brand ambassador.

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