Now that CBS-TV has provided its announcer assignments for the first four weeks of the upcoming NFL regular season, it confirms that all of the networks (which televise the NFL) are banking on Peyton Manning being a ratings draw as the Broncos' season gets underway.
Of course, Manning's Broncos regular season debut kicks off Sunday Night Football (9/9) when Denver hosts Pittsburgh on NBC. Then, the Broncos get 11 days off (plus a bye week later) before their Monday Night Football game on Sept. 17th on ESPN.
CBS is obviously hoping that the Broncos show well in the first two games and/or that Manning will be a big ratings draw. For Week 3, the #1 announcer team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will call the Houston at Denver telecast of the primary doubleheader game at 4:25 ET. In Week 4, CBS does not have the doubleheader telecast (with Fox having New Orleans at Green Bay at 4:25 ET), but does have Oakland at Denver as a 4:05 PM ET regional telecast.
Since the Giants play on NBC Sunday Night Football that night, and the Jets host San Francisco in a 1:00 ET game that will be on Fox, it means that the New York and San Francisco markets are among those which figure to carry the Broncos game as a regional telecast. Thus, Nantz and Simms have been booked to call that game as well.
Marv Albert and Rich Gannon have been assigned to the two regional N.Y. Jets games (within the first four weeks) that CBS will carry. Those are the opener on Sept. 9th vs. Buffalo and then Week 3 against Miami, both of which are 1:00 ET telecasts. Otherwise, CBS continues its trend of assigning announcers based on game importance, whereas Fox often keeps its regional announcers within certain divisions.
CBS-TV also gets to show a live college football telecast this coming Saturday (Sept. 1st), something it usually is not able to do because of its U.S. Open commitment. However, the Notre Dame vs. Navy game is being played in Dublin, Ireland, and therefore will be shown live at 9 AM ET, which is 6 AM PT. Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson will call the game. In addition, cable's CBS Sports Network kicks in with a live two-hour pre-game show, even though it will air starting at 7 AM ET 4 AM PT. Doing this gives CBS-TV the opening Saturday college telecast. Not bad considering they usually don't get to show any games on that day.
Rodney Harrison, known for his role on NBC-TV "Football Night In America" will begin a two-hour radio show next week on the new NBC Sports Radio Network. The "Safety Blitz with Rodney Harrison" begins on Saturday Sept. 8th, although the number of stations which will actually carry the show is not yet known. September 8th is the first "full" Saturday of college football along with a full slate of MLB games, leaving many sports stations with one or more play-by-play commitments on that day.
Chris Rose has a sportscaster "first" among his list of career accomplishments. In addition to his weekday work on MLB Network, Rose will also be a part of NFL Network's roster starting next week. Rose is expected to work the NFL GameDay Highlights and later be a part of NFL GameDay Final on Sundays. Although it makes for a 6-day work week for Rose, that part does not conflict with his "Intentional Talk" show weekdays on MLB Network. However, Rose is also expected to host the post-game show for NFL Network's Thursday Night Football package, which will make for a long day each Thursday.
Over at Fox Sports, it seems comparably quiet regarding its upcoming NFL coverage. That became even more obvious when the only announcement is that Fox NFL Sunday will again have a "comedic prognosticator". I'm not sure that is necessary, considering how some of the "experts" pick the games, but Fox seems to. For those keeping track, Frank Caliendo is being replaced by Rob Riggle (formerly of The Daily Show) to handle the prediction segments with Terry Bradshaw, Jimmy Johnson, Howie Long, and Michael Strahan. Frankly, the fact that there was a Press Release about this is more funny than these segments have been in the past.
Perhaps there is more to the Comcast SportsNet group dropping Fox Sports programming than dumping The Dan Patrick Show telecasts after all. As we commented on last week, the CSN group also lost out on some college football telecasts it used to carry from Fox Sports. The announcement that Comcast SportsNet Chicago has added 17 live college football telecasts starting next week could signal that the other CSN regional networks might not be far behind. CSN Chicago has scheduled five telecasts of regional interest, with each game involving either Northern Illinois University or Illinois State University games.
In addition, CSN Chicago will carry nine live Conference USA telecasts (including Texas State at Houston this coming Saturday 9/1), and plans to carry three SEC games later in the season.