Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Scully Final Home Game Broadcast To Air Nationally

It's not often that fans would choose a regular season baseball telecast over the NFL doubleheader game, but this Sunday (9/25) could be an exception for many. It will be the Dodgers final home game of the regular season, which makes it Vin Scully's final telecast from Dodger Stadium.

Since TBS is showing the Yankees vs. Blue Jays game as its national tilt, starting at 1 PM ET, it clears the 4 PM ET time slot, which is when the Dodgers vs. Rockies game begins. As a result, MLB Network is able to air that game nationally (except in the Denver and Los Angeles markets) and bring baseball fans almost everywhere this special telecast.

As expected, Scully will not call any post-season action, home or road, making the following Sunday (10/2) his final telecast ever, from San Francisco. Because of the uniform 3 PM ET start time for all MLB games that day, TBS (or MLB Network) will be unable to carry the Dodgers telecast. Our only hope is that the Dodgers - Giants game would have some meaning (which is possible based on the wild card race), and that TBS would select that game and perhaps carry Vin's call of the final inning.

On the NFL side, while it's only two full weeks into the season, there is already concern about the reduction in the ratings for prime time telecasts, especially Monday Night Football. This past Monday night (9/19), even with strong ratings from both Chicago and Philadelphia, was about 11 ratings points lower than week two (Jets vs. Colts) last season.

While it is true that the second half of the game was not competitive, this followed a week one doubleheader for which both games had a drop compared with last season's ratings. In fact, the late game between the 49ers and Rams (with the added significance of being the Rams first game as the L.A. Rams in many years) wound up with a 25% audience reduction from last season.
Having Atlanta vs. New Orleans this coming Monday might not be a ratings winner either.

Doug Sherman, who has called play-by-play of more than 50 college games for ESPN over the past year, has officially joined ESPN full-time. While he will also continue as the voice of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Sherman is giving up his gig as Sports Director of WRGB Channel 6 in San Antonio.

Sherman, who was with WRGB-TV since 1995, will continue as sports anchor on the 6 PM and 11 PM newscasts through October, when his contract runs out.

ESPN is moving some of its program hosts around over the next couple of weeks. Jorge Sedano will join ESPN2 as co-host of what it calls a bi-lingual sports show, "Nacion ESPN", which will end the Jorge & Izzy Show on ESPN Radio on weeknights. Sarah Spain will join Izzy Gutierrez as co-host for "Izzy & Spain" starting next week.

Los Angeles over-the-air NFL viewers probably feel that they are getting screwed with this coming Sunday's local telecast schedule. The market does not get prime matchups such as Denver vs. Cincinnati or Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia.

Instead, its only Fox game will be a late game with the Rams playing at Tampa Bay. The local CBS doubleheader only gets those viewers Oakland at Tennessee followed by San Diego at Indianapolis. Back to the 'secondary market' bit for the Raiders and Chargers.

PHILADELPHIA: Let the speculation intensify about who will take over afternoons on WIP-FM 94.1 to officially replace Josh Innes. Afternoons had been the one shaky time slot for WIP-FM over the past year or so, yet the station has been in no hurry to announce a definite replacement.

This week brings the reports that Jon Marks plans to leave his morning co-host role on WPEN 97.5 The Fanatic when his contract is up in late October. Marks has been with WPEN (both the FM and the AM) in some capacity since it first went to all sports back in 2005.

Since the rumor is that Marks is "leaving" at the end of his contract (as opposed to being let go, which he is not), and WIP-FM has yet to name a replacement for Innes, it will be most interesting to see what Marks has to say on the first day after his contract expires. It is quite possible that, since he is still under contact, he can't say anything publicly about where he will wind up.

CHICAGO: As mentioned above, even with lower national ratings for this past Monday's Bears vs. Eagles game, the telecast was the most watched television program in the Chicago market, combining for a 22.1 rating between ESPN and its telecast airing locally on WCIU-TV.

Speaking of WCIU-TV, our best wishes to Sports Director (for the past 15 years) Kenny McReynolds. Kenny Mac, who has had some major health issues in the past couple of years, will soon need more surgery. He continues to call play-by-play of high school telecasts which air on sub-stations and sister station WWME-TV each weekend.

SAN DIEGO: Fox Sports San Diego has extended its partnership with Prime Ticket Los Angeles and will once again air all available (not national telecasts) L.A. Clippers games this season. This deal includes the ability for San Diego viewers to receive streams of the telecasts where applicable

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