Tim McCarver will not go quietly into the night; ESPN demotes OTL

Monday July 22nd, 2013
McCarver (left) will broadcast his final full season of baseball this year for Fox alongside Joe Buck.
Paige Calamari/Getty Images

The sometimes volatile and always opinionated Olbermann returns to ESPN to host a late-night show.
Michael LeBrecht/SI

7. Sports pieces of note this week:

• The Boston Globe's Chad Finn profiled Peter's King new MMQB site.

Bloomberg Businessweek examined Fox Sports 1's quest to topple ESPN, a piece that no doubt had Fox Sports PR people high-fiving on the streets of Los Angeles.

Miami Herald writer Dan LeBatard wrote a terrific profile of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez:

Three non-sports pieces of note:

• Brilliant work by Tampa Bay Times writer Lane DeGregory on a 99-year-old man who lives to work.

• A fascinating Economist obit on a female Soviet night bomber.

• This book review on one of Britain's most daring World War II special agents reads like a can't-miss movie script.

8. The ratings for the ESPYs continue to tank, perhaps a sign that the annual exercise in self-aggrandizement needs to be re-tooled. The show drew an average of 2.3 million viewers, down six percent from 2012. It was the fourth-least viewed ESPY Awards show since 1996.

8a. Deadspin's John Koblin wrote a take-no-prisoners piece on how much money ESPN spends on the ESPYs.

8b. The runaway best moment from the show was a rousing speech by "Good Morning America" anchor and former ESPN-er Robin Roberts, who was honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

9. Fox Sports announced that Michael Hughes has been named executive producer for "Fox Sports Live," which is the network's flagship news, opinion and highlights program. He'll be a key player in shaping whether this program is serious about news or merely a "Best Damn Sports Show, Period" for the Instagram generation.

9b. Other notable production announcements: Fox Sports said Bardia Shah-Rais will oversee its studio production for Fox College Thursday and Fox College Saturday as well as well as FS1's Big East basketball studio production and select MLB studio coverage. Shah-Rais spent the last eight seasons at NFL Network where he oversaw production of "Thursday Night Football" and "NFL Total Access." NFL Network officials were furious when Shah-Rais was raided by Murdoch Land. As one NFL Network exec told me last May: "He's phenomenal, and that's an understatement. It's a huge loss for us." But Shah-Rais has heavy lifting ahead of him. Fox's college football coverage has been lightweight editorially compared to ESPN, and some talent moves made this summer have been head-scratching if national credibility remains a long-term goal.

9c. ESPN says that 50 college football head coaches will visit its Bristol, Conn., headquarters from July 22 to August 1. The schedule includes coaches from the SEC (July 22-23); Pac-12 (July 24-25); ACC (July 29-30) and Big Ten (July 31-August 1). Among the high-profile names: LSU coach Les Miles and Alabama coach Nick Saban (Monday afternoon), Florida coach Will Muschamp and South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier (July 23), Stanford coach David Shaw (July 24), USC coach Lane Kiffin (July 25) and Ohio State coach Urban Meyer (July 31). The questions Meyer receives will be interesting given the kid-gloves treatment ESPN has normally bestowed on its former employees.

9d. Sirius XM Radio hired former Auburn University football coach Gene Chizik to co-host multiple shows each week on SiriusXM College Sports Nation, channel 91.

10. The hosts for ESPN's Open Championship coverage -- Mike Tirico, Scott Van Pelt and ESPN Radio's Bob Wischusen -- did sensational work during the tournament. Once again, when ESPN sends a professional host (e.g. Rece Davis, Chris Fowler, Ley) to an event and the host opts to make the broadcast about the event and not about the host, they get a great broadcast.

10a. Fox Sports 1 revealed its first promotional spot, a 90-second video titled "Happy Days Are Here Again." The song is best remembered as the campaign song for Franklin Delano Roosevelt during his 1932 Presidential election run.

10b. HBO's "Real Sports" with Bryant Gumbel has a promising story this Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET as correspondent Soledad O'Brien investigates charges of ethnicity-based preferential treatment at Chivas USA of the MLS.

10c. The first FIVB sanctioned Grand Slam tournament in the U.S. -- the World Series of Beach Volleyball from Long Beach, Calif. -- will air on NBC, NBC Sports Network, and Universal Sports Network from July 25 to 28.

10d. Bluefoot TV produced a series of terrific video essays for ESPN's coverage of The Open Championship. Check them out here.

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