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Posts Tagged ‘Mark Lazarus’

Josh Elliott Leaves ABC for NBC Sports: ‘No News Role Has Been Discussed’

josh elliottJosh Elliott is joining NBC, not to be the next Matt Lauer, he says, but because he “grew up with a love of sports that is unrivaled.” Elliott was introduced as the newest NBC Sports talent by division chairman Mark Lazarus during a conference call with reporters this afternoon.

“No news role has been discussed with me,” Elliott says, adding, “I hope Matt Lauer is here when I step away from this gig, 30 years down the road. I love being a part of a team and the team I’m on now is a fantastic one.”

Elliott joins NBC Sports after three years at ABC News, as a co-host of “Good Morning America.” He doesn’t know if he’ll be back on “GMA” for a final farewell. “Those sorts of decisions aren’t mine to make,” he says.

“I was really happy to see my teammates wish me so well on Monday morning,” Elliott added. He says he remains “eternally thankful for all the people who helped me along the way. None more so than Ben Sherwood.” Sherwood, still new to his job as president of ABC News, plucked Elliott from ESPN in 2011. A year later, the longtime No. 2 morning show had toppled the “Today” show’s 16-year reign at No. 1.

“Everything I have today I owe to Ben,” Elliott says. “[ABC] put a generous offer on the table. They made this for me, simply, a qualitative choice.”

Not only will his commute get easier, NBC Sports is “a couple exits down I95″ in Stamford, CT, but Elliott will now get to fulfill a childhood dream: “A profound and essential part of my being has always been to be a part of an Olympics broadcast.” That wish will be fulfilled in two years in Rio. His first NBC Sports assignment is the Kentucky Derby next month.

Elliott says his only discussion about working with NBC News has been “ways to provide sports content to them.” Lazarus jumped in, adding, “that’s something I would discuss with NBC News, down the line.”

“I feel like the luckiest man in TV today, because of what has been a wondrous near-decade at Disney and a glorious 3 years at ABC News and ‘GMA,’” said Elliott.

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The Morning Ticker: Keteyian, Sochi, Empire

  • Armen Keteyian‘s inside report when the lights went out at Super Bowl XLVII airs tonight on “60 Minutes Sports” on Showtime. Keteyian was in the NFL control booth interviewing the league’s Senior V.P. of Events when the power went out.
  • As the “Today” show marked one year to the Sochi Olympics this morning — with tubing on man-made snow on Mt. Rockefeller — NBC Sports chief Mark Lazarus predicts, “We believe we’ll be profitable in Sochi.” NBC lost $223 million on the 2010 Vancouver Winter games, and made $88 million on the London Summer games.

  • The Weather Channel’s Stephanie Abrams and “LIVE’s” Kelly Ripa will be among the runners taking part in the Empire State Building Run-Up tonight, a race up the 86 floors of New York City’s most famous office building.

NBC Announces Jim Bell’s Return to Sports

NBC has officially announced that Jim Bell is leaving as EP of the “Today” show and will return to NBC Sports as executive producer of NBCU’s coverage of the Olympics. Bell, who reports to NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus, will have editorial and creative control over NBC’s Games and rejoins the NBC Olympics Unit, led by Gary Zenkel, President of NBC Olympics.

“The Olympics is one of the signature franchises in television, and for more than two decades they’ve been a huge part of my life,” said Bell. “The London Olympics was especially exciting for me, and I look forward to continuing through future Games working with so many good friends and colleagues.”

The announcement about a new executive in charge of “Today,” likely NBC News SVP Alex Wallace, could come as early as tomorrow.

NBC’s press release after the jump…

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Ratings, Mistakes, And Some Surprises on NBC Olympics Call

NBC Sports held a conference call with reporters this morning, outlining the coverage so far, and some of the lessons learned.

Not surprisingly, NBC Sports chairman Mark Lazarus and NBC’s research chief Alan Wurtzel began the call talking about the ratings, which have placed above the Beijing games every single night so far.

“I don’t think any of us here or any of you frankly expected us to be having this dialog right now,” Lazarus said, adding that the numbers were a “very pleasant surprise.” 38.7 million watched Tuesday night delivering a 21.8 rating/35 share; the best non-U.S. Summer Olympic night since Montreal in 1976.

Other surprises included the cost of the games. Lazarus acknowledges that NBC was expecting to lose around $200 million for these games, but now says “there’s a chance” that the network could even make a bit of money, when it is all said and done.

NBC Sports chairman Mark Lazarus

Then there was the sleeper sport of the games so far: Archery, which drew 1.5 million viewers on TV, more than Olympics basketball games so far. “Archery is the new curling,” quipped Wurtzel. “Maybe it’s the ‘Hunger Games’ phenomenon.”

The executives addressed the criticism the network has faced on social media platforms, with Lazarus noting that “some of [the criticism] is in fact fair, and we are listening.”

That said, he defended NBC’s edit of the women’s gymnastics final, saying that the Russian performance that was cut was “immaterial to the outcome” and done so purely for time reasons. He challenged anyone listening to re-watch the full event online, which he says would confirm that the cut was fair.

With regards to the #NBCFail hashtag on twitter, Lazarus said of online criticism: “We think it is a very loud minority, the silent majority has been with us the last six days.”

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NBCU Makes Michelle Beadle Deal Official

NBCUniversal has formally announced its deal with former ESPN anchor and corespondent Michelle Beadle. Earlier this month we noted that NBC was the likely destination for Beadle, though the exact role was undefined.

Rather than co-host NBCU’s syndicated entertainment news show “Access Hollywood,” Beadle will serve as a correspondent, and will cover all of the major red carpet events. Beadle will also serve as a correspondent for NBC’s big sporting events, including the NFL Kickoff and the horse racing Triple Crown. The NBC Sports Network will also be developing a new show for Beadle.

The agreement is not unlike another recent deal NBCU made with a high-profile talent, albeit on a smaller scale.

“Similar to the agreement with Ryan Seacrest, this is another great example of attracting a talent who can contribute across multiple NBCUniversal platforms,” said Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Sports Group in a statement.

More information, after the jump.

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Giants-Jets Third Highest Preseason Game On NFL Network

Monday’s rescheduled preseason game between the New York Giants and Jets scored an average of 1.78 million viewers on NFL Network, the third highest viewership for a preseason game in the network’s history.

The 2011 NFL preseason has been a hit for NFL Network with six of the top 10 all-time most-watched preseason games on the network airing this year.

Radio Host Finebaum to Write for SI.com

Radio host Paul Finebaum, a former columnist for al.com who last year wrote that Vanderbilt should be kicked out of the SEC for not being competitive in football, is joining SI.com as a columnist. He reported the news on Twitter, saying his first column will run Thursday. Perhaps his first piece will address the ongoing story involving USA Today oddsmaker Danny Sheridan, who recently went on Finebaum’s radio show claiming to know who paid Cam Newton‘s father, Cecil, so that the 2010 Heisman Trophy Winner would attend Auburn. Sheridan has refused to name the alleged “bag man,” claiming his source within the NCAA would lose their job. The NCAA, for their part, says Sheridan’s claims are without merit.

Finebaum’s popular radio show is syndicated throughout the southeast and can also be heard on Sirius XM Radio (Channel 91).

Ron Artest Will Compete In Dancing with the Stars

After back-and-forth rumors, Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest will compete in the 13th season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.

Artest is still interested in playing for Cheshire Jets of the British Basketball League. If Artest really can’t dance like he claims, he will be free to play basketball by Oct. 1.

He will be joined by David Arquette, Chaz Bono, Elisabetta Canalis, Kristin Cavallari, Nancy Grace, Rob Kardashian, Carson Kressley, Ricki Lake, J.R. Martinez, Chynna Phillips and Hope Solo on the season premiere Sept. 19.

So much for getting those A-listers.

 

First UFC on FOX Card Only One Hour

Hours after formally announcing their new deal with FOX, details were released about the first UFC card on the broadcast network.

The UFC on FOX card on Nov. 12 from the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. will feature only two fights and last one hour, allowing sports fans to watch the Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez fight on pay-per-view from Las Vegas.

“We’ll be out of there before Pacquiao even walks to the ring,” UFC chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta told the Las Vegas Sun. “This is going to be a perfect night for any fight fan. Get together with your friends, watch two big fights in the UFC and then change the channel to ride into the Pacquiao pay-per-view.”

 

Big Lead Sports Jumps To #4 Among Online Sports Properties

Big Lead Sports is moving on up the online sports properties digital ladder.

For the month of July, the independent online sports property surpassed 18 million unique visitors and landed the #4 spot among all online sports properties, according to comScore Media Metrix.

“We are very excited to become a top 4 online sports property,” said Chris Russo, CEO of Big Lead Sports. “The traffic success reflects the strength of our talented journalists who provide unique expertise and an independent perspective to sports coverage.  We believe that we can continue this momentum, given the new relationships we announced in the past month with Amar’e Stoudemire, Sirius XM, and TXN Sports.”

Below are the Top 15 online sports properties for the month of July:

Name Unique Visitors

1. Yahoo! Sports 48,020
2. ESPN 35,646
3. FOXSports.com on MSN 29,898
4. BIG LEAD SPORTS by FSV 18,443
5. Turner-SI Digital 17,442
6. MLB 17,414
7. NBC Sports 11,440
8. NFL Internet Group 11,203
9. CBS Sports 10,083
10 USA Today Sports Media Group 9,182
11. Sporting News on AOL 7,841
12. BLEACHERREPORT.COM 6,890
13. SB Nation 5,843
14. STACK Media 4,955
15. HuffPost Sports 4,396

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