Sunday night will mark the entrance of Bomani Jones into the late-night space. His show Game Theory, which premieres at 11:30 p.m. ET on HBO, is something Jones has long considered doing.
Appearing on the Media Noise podcast with Demetri Ravanos to promote his HBO show, Jones said when Jon Stewart exited The Daily Show in 2015, he had his agent contact the show and Comedy Central to consider Jones as Stewart’s successor.
He knew he wouldn’t get the job, and it ultimately was awarded to Trevor Noah, but the style of show Stewart put on was something Jones thought he could do.
“If I think, ‘Yeah I can host that,’ let ‘em know that I think I can host that,” he said. “They might think so too! The worst that they can do is be like, ‘I ain’t ever heard of that guy,’ or ‘Meh, I just don’t see it for him.’ All of those things were possible. But what was also possible was, ‘Huh, that’s an interesting idea!’”
It turns out that Adam McKay, who is an executive producer of the show, told Jones early in the development of Game Theory that in 2015, he wanted to try and make a TV show with Jones. It didn’t happen because of contractual obligations Jones had to ESPN, but Bomani said to look at the possibility that could’ve come from that — even more so if McKay had been running The Daily Show at the time.
All roads have led Jones to HBO. Bomani told BSM that him getting fired from hosting at a small sports radio station in the Raleigh/Durham area early in his career actually turned out to be a blessing.
“I was probably gonna be moving to do something else, and it really did work out,” he said. “Because the next job that I got was a significant raise, and it was on Sirius and all this stuff. So they made a call that I’d love to hear them explain it.”
Jones said he felt at home doing radio. Radio opened doors for him to break into TV.
Game Theory will tackle sports stories from a completely different angle. But while this will be a late-night program, it won’t fit the typical late-night TV mold. It won’t try to say what everyone else is thinking, either.
“We ain’t really about to be out here saying nothing obvious,” he said.
Don’t expect the show to be done in front of a studio audience like Last Week Tonight or Real Time with Bill Maher, either. Jones knows that studio audiences for TV have to be fed cues for when to clap and react, and they can’t necessarily react honestly. He said having a studio audience is not anything he or show staff seriously considered.
“I don’t think we’ll lose anything from not having a studio audience,” he said. “I guess maybe for me just because there’s no studio audience in a podcast or ESPN television studio either. Them lines are gonna have to hit one way or another.”
Look for Demetri’s Media Noise podcast and his interview with Jones to hit BSM and your podcast app on Friday. Game Theory with Bomani Jones premieres Sunday, March 13 at 11:30 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Stephen A. Smith Slams Washington Post For Jerry Jones Reporting
“But you’re going to bring up a photo of him when he was 14, 15 years old? 65 or 66 years ago? This is where cancel culture gets into the mix.”
After reporting from The Washington Post revealed a photo of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones standing on the steps of North Little Rock High School as six black students attempted to integrate in 1957, ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith has slammed the outlet’s reporting and defended Jones on First Take Monday.
“I’m pretty pissed off,” said Smith. “I’m pissed off but not for reasons that people would think. I am very, very fond of Jerry Jones, and I’m not hiding that from anybody. Is his record perfect? No, but I’m pissed off because he doesn’t deserve what just happened. He doesn’t deserve it. One report, our report, said he was 14 years old. Another report said he was 15 years old. At minimum that’s 65 years ago.
“You’re going to bring up a picture of Jerry Jones standing at this protest — no question — what was happening is not something that anybody — as a black person — should be appreciative about. You had six students trying to desegregate the school,” Smith said before stating that racism is still “alive and well’ in America, noting black men especially face it daily.
“But you’re going to bring up a photo of him when he was 14, 15 years old? 65 or 66 years ago? This is where cancel culture gets into the mix. You’re making an attempt to eradicate him, what he stands for and all he has done.”
Smith continued by saying he doesn’t have a problem with the photo, and Jones’ youth changes the potential for outrage, noting if he was 30 or 35 rather than a teenager, that would be a bigger indicator of his character.
Gus Johnson: ‘Nobody Ever Told Me I Was Doing It Wrong’
“I just want to delight in the excellence of these young men and women that I have the chance to call because I know it’s so important to them because it’s important to me.”
While fans get to hear Gus Johnson call big college football and college basketball games and get to see his reactions to memorable moments, he unfortunately never gets to see his own reaction, but he just enjoys being a part of sports, such as when he called Michigan-Ohio State for FOX this past Saturday.
Johnson was a guest on The Rich Eisen Show last week and he said while calling a game, he never wants to be too controversial and he appreciates that people choose to watch him during their times of relaxation.
“They say you never see yourself, you only see a reflection. You’ve never seen your face. You’ve only seen a reflection of your face as a human being. I can’t see myself. I would love to see myself during those moments because I sometimes don’t really understand the reaction. To me, I’m just watching the game, I’m a fan. I’m a journalist and I take that seriously, but more than anything, I’m just a fan of sports. Thank God for sports.
“People for the last almost 30 years have allowed me to come into their homes during their times of relaxation, rest, to spend time with their families. That’s important to me. When I call the game, I don’t want to be too controversial. I’m not trying to be 60 Minutes. I just want to delight in the excellence of these young men and women that I have the chance to call because I know it’s so important to them because it’s important to me. It connects you to great moments in your life and in your mind.”
Before he got to FOX, Johnson was at CBS Sports from 1995-2011 calling some memorable NCAA Tournament games and NFL games that went down to the wire. In an era where criticism can be found easily, Johnson told Eisen that he never received criticism about his broadcast style from any of his bosses:
“Nobody ever told me that I was doing it wrong. That’s one thing I loved about the CBS experience. At CBS Sports, we had different kind of broadcasters. Our leader back then and still is Jim Nantz. He had his own style. We had Verne Lundquist, we had Dick Enberg there during that time. Don Criqui was there during that time. Not one time did anybody ever tell me that I wasn’t doing it right. Nobody ever said ‘Gus, don’t do it that way’. I would get negative criticism when the Internet started, but not from my bosses.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.
Scott Hanson Clarifies NFL RedZone Missteps During Raiders/Seahawks
Hanson believed in the moment that CBS was airing the overtime period to a national audience. But due to NFL broadcasting rules, the game was only available on select stations.
NFL RedZone host Scott Hanson ruffled feathers for many football fans Sunday when he told viewers to switch from the channel to their local CBS affiliates to see the conclusion of the Las Vegas Raiders and Seattle Seahawks game.
Unfortunately, for both viewers and Hanson, the game was only being shown in a small portion of the country, with the rest of the nation’s CBS affiliates already airing 60 Minutes. The game was also available to NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers.
Hanson took to Twitter Sunday evening to explain what happened on the air and to apologize for the miscalculation.
Hanson believed in the moment that CBS was airing the overtime period to a national audience. But due to NFL broadcasting rules, the game was only available to stations in the Las Vegas, Fresno, Sacramento, Reno, Eugene, Portland, Boise, Seattle, and Spokane markets on the west coast. Additionally, the game was available in Chicago, Tampa, Atlanta, and Charlotte.
He apologized for the mistake and said he would have more details at a later date.