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Posts Tagged ‘John Skipper’

ESPN Ombudsman: Trailer For ‘Frontline’ Doc A Catalyst For Channel Dropping Out

The bombshell news late last week that ESPN would be pulling out of a PBS “Frontline” documentary on concussions in the NFL continues. The latest comes from ESPN’s ombudsman, Robert Lipsyte, as well as Sports Illustrated‘s Richard Deitsch, who each shed new light on the situation.

Lipsyte talks to ESPN president John Skipper, who says it was a trailer for the doc that was the catalyst for the decision to drop out of the project (watch the trailer below).

He hadn’t seen the trailer or approved its content, which included the ESPN logo and a collaboration credit. He thought it was “odd for me not to get a heads up,” and said it made him “quite unhappy” to discover that ESPN had no editorial control over the trailer.

Upon screening it, Skipper said he found the trailer to be “sensational.” He particularly objected to the tagline — “Get ready to change the way you see the game” — and to the final sound bite in the piece, from neuropathologist Ann McKee. Referring to brain injuries, she says, “I’m really wondering if every single football player doesn’t have this.”

Skipper said he found that comment to be “over the top.”

Lipsyte also reports that Skipper talked to Disney CEO Bob Iger and lawyers at both companies before pulling out of the project.

In SI, Deitsch looks at what comes next for the book League of Denial, which the “Frontline” doc is based on, and which was written by two brothers… who are ESPN investigative reporters.
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NBC News, Fox Sports 1 In The Spotlight On ‘Reliable Sources’

Former TVNewser editor Brian Stelter guest-hosted CNN’s “Reliable Sources” today, and while Amazon founder Jeff Bezos‘ purchase of the Washington Post was the big story, there was plenty of TV news to go around as well.

For starters, there was this segment about new NBC News president Deborah Turness, which featured a shout-out to this humble blog.

WATCH:

Stelter also interviewed ESPN president John Skipper about the threat posed by Fox Sports 1, which launches next week.

WATCH:
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Nate Silver Sold FiveThirtyEight To ESPN

FiveThirtyEight creator Nate Silver didn’t just leave the New York Times to join ESPN (and ABC News), he sold his company to them.

On a conference call this afternoon, Silver confirmed that ESPN acquired the FiveThirtyEight name and web domain as part of the deal to have him join the company. Put another way: if Silver leaves ESPN in a few years, FiveThirtyEight will not be going with him, but rather staying with ESPN and ABC.

“Our goal here is to make Nate comfortable and happy that this is his new long-term home, so he doesn’t have to do this every four years,” ESPN president John Skipper said. “We really care about smart, talented individuals who can make a difference, and we think that’s what Nate can do for us.”

Silver had a licensing deal with the Times, letting the newspaper host FiveThirtyEight on his site, but ultimately with Silver retaining the rights to the name and domain. It was expected that his ESPN deal would be structured the same way, so it was surprising that the Disney-owned channel had acquired the brand outright. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Keith Olbermann: ‘If I wanted to do politics I would still be doing politics’

When Keith Olbermann‘s new ESPN2 program “Olbermann” debuts August 26, there will be no question as to what it is, and what topics will be discussed.

“The key three or four words about this are, ‘it’s a sports show,’” Olbermann said on a conference call this afternoon. “The idea that I would want to do anything that was not specifically sports related–even in a political context–I don’t know where this came from. If I wanted to do politics I would still be doing politics. This is something else.”

That does not mean that politics or current events won’t be covered on the show, but rather the message is: this is not “Countdown,” the show Olbermann hosted on MSNBC for 8 years.

“If the House is considering a bill to make PED use a capital offense, we will cover it. If Barack Obama runs onto the field during the All Star Game, we will talk about it. If George W. Bush wanted to talk baseball I would be happy to have him, but we are not going to talk politics,” Olbermann said.

ESPN surprised the media world by announcing that Olbermann would be returning to the company 16 years after he left “SportsCenter” to host a late night show on ESPN2. He did not leave ESPN on good terms in 1997, and although he has contributed to the company since then (most notably a stint with ESPN Radio), it would have been crazy to think a few years ago that he would ever be on-air for the channel as a host in the future.

Neither Olbermann nor ESPN president John Skipper ignored that elephant in the room, with Olbermann saying “I don’t want that to be in the obituary. I don’t want that to be the end of the story.”

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Moguls, Journalists Descend On Sun Valley For Media/Technology Confab

This week, the world’s media, entertainment and technology moguls are converging on Sun Valley, Idaho for the annual Allen & Company shindig. What happens in Sun Valley usually stays in Sun Valley, but according to a number of reporters in attendance, we can glean a few things.

For starters, CBS News anchor Charlie Rose, NBC News’ Tom Brokaw and CNN’s Erin Burnett are all attending, with Rose and Brokaw scheduled to moderate (secret) panels. CNBC’s Julia Boorstin, FBN’s Dennis Kneale and Bloomberg TV’s Jon Erlichman are getting as close as they can to cover the action for their networks.

In terms of moguls, all the usual suspects are there: 21st Century Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch, along with sons Lachlan Murdoch and James Murdoch (above), Disney’s Bob Iger, ESPN’s John Skipper, Comcast’s Brian Roberts, CBS’ Les Moonves, Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook and IAC’s Barry Diller among many, many others.

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The Evening Ticker: Forbes, Skipper, Wallenda

  • Discovery will re-air Nik Wallenda‘s wire walk across the Grand Canyon on Sunday at 8 PM. This time, however, Wallenda will watch the walk himself, providing commentary on his thoughts along the way for the program.

SportsNewser: ESPN Betting Big On SportsCenter, As Fox Sports 1 Looms

Sports media juggernaut ESPN held its upfront presentation in New York City this morning. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera and Soccer star Landon Donovan joined executives in the Best Buy Theater to pitch advertisers on spending big bucks with the Disney-owned company.

ESPN president John Skipper opened up the show by talking about “the elephant in the room” as the elephant mascot for the University of Alabama walked behind him.

“Several broadcast companies have decided–in the early 2010s–that there might be something to this whole national sports network thing,” Skipper quipped, referencing the NBC Sports Network, CBS Sports Network and the upcoming Fox Sports 1. After the event, Skipper told a group of reporters that while he embraces the competition, he thinks ESPN is still in driver’s seat.

“They are going to be in the business, we don’t expect this to be over and done, but what we do expect is to compete vigorously,” Skipper said. “What Fox does have is more live rights. Fox has more to start with, but again, in any comparison between our collection of assets and their collection of assets, we have a significantly broader, and better, portfolio.”

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Robin Roberts To Be Honored With Arthur Ashe ESPY, DVF Awards

ABC News “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts is set to receive a pair of high-profile honors this year. Her old employers at ESPN will be presenting her with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2013 ESPY Awards in July. Roberts worked at ESPN from 1990 to 2005, when she joined “GMA” full-time.

Roberts will also be receiving the “Lifetime Leadership Award” from designer Diane von Furstenberg.

Roberts returned to “GMA” in February, after having been off-the-air for more than five months to receive a bone marrow transplant.

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Keith Olbermann Eyes Permanent Return To ESPN

Could former MSNBC and Current TV host Keith Olbermann be making a return to sports TV… at the place where he got his start, no less?

The exceedingly well-sourced James Andrew Miller, the co-author of the terrific book Those Guys Have All The Fun–which chronicles the rise of ESPN–reports in the NY Times that Olbermann wants to return to the iconic sports cable channel in some form. We noted over the weekend that Olbermann appeared in an ESPN “30 for 30″ short film.

Even more amazingly, he got Olbermann, Olbermann’s former “SportsCenter” partner Dan Patrick and ESPN president John Skipper on the record on the matter.

“I had the privilege to spend some time with John Skipper,” [Olbermann] said. “His vision and charm were readily apparent, and judging by his leadership, his family name was prophetic…”

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ESPN Shakeup: John Skipper to Become President, Bodenheimer To Become Executive Chairman

Left: Skipper, Right: Bodenheimer

In a major development at sports juggernaut ESPN, Disney has announced that ESPN president George Bodenheimer will step down and become executive chairman of the channel in January, 2012. Meanwhile, John Skipper will become the new president of ESPN, as well as co-chairman of the Disney Media Networks alongside Anne Sweeney.

Bodenheimer has been president of ESPN for 13 years, and has worked at the network for 31 years. Skipper has been with ESPN since 1997, and is currently executive VP of content. The news comes just a month after Disney announced that it would transition Disney CEO Bob Iger out of his role and into an executive chairman role in 2015.

2011 has seen a number of sports media executives leave their posts. In May longtime NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol resigned, and in July HBO lost its sports chief Ross Greenburg.

More information below.

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