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Bomani Jones: ‘I’d Love To Hear Raleigh Station Explain Why I Got Fired’

“We ain’t really about to be out here saying nothing obvious.”

Jordan Bondurant

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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.

Sports TV News

The NFL Still Considering Multiple Offers For Sunday Ticket

The NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has not bid for the package but has stated it is willing to partner with the new rightsholder for a potential deal.

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Sunday Ticket Negotiations

DirecTV currently has the rights to Sunday Ticket. That deal expires at the end of this upcoming football season. The NFL is expected to make a boatload of cash when they decide which media organization gets the next rights to the package. The only question is… who will that be?

Alex Sherman of CNBC reports that the NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has decided not bid for the package. However, they are interested in partnering with the new rightsholder for a potential deal. DirecTV knows that Sunday Ticket is a staple in bars and restaurants and is interested in maintaining those relationships.

Outside of the bar/restaurant industry, success has been limited for the satellite provider with the football package. Fewer than two million subscribers signed up for Sunday Ticket each year which made the package a money-loser for the satellite TV provider.

According to the report, the NFL wants more than $2 billion for the rights and a stake in NFL Media, which is being packaged with Sunday Ticket. Also on the table is the NFL’s mobile rights. The league’s previous mobile agreement with Verizon has ended.

An interesting piece of the negotiations is Sunday Ticket price. According to the report, a buyer would have limited flexibility on pricing. The NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox and within the framework of those deals, language mandates Sunday Ticket have a premium price. That’s to prevent loss of viewers from the networks that feature local market Sunday afternoon games. So essentially, the price is the price for the consumer.

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Sports TV News

F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

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Sports TV News

Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

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Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

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