Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Are you ready for some basketball this winter?

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Oct 31, 2006 5:00 AM (1 hr 24 mins ago)
Current rank: # 1 of 4,344 articles

WASHINGTON - Opening night of the NBA season is just hours away. If you are a pro hoops fan, be ready to log plenty of time on the couch. Games will air virtually every night with CSN, TNT, ESPN and NBA TV serving up all the action.

TNT gets things started tonight with a doubleheader that showcases Chicago taking on Miami and Phoenix at the Lakers.

The Wizards and the Cavaliers take the national spotlight Wednesday night as part of the ESPN’s opening act. The late game will be the Clippers at Phoenix. Wizards fans can also see the opener on CSN at 8 p.m. after an extended pre-game show.

So how do the national experts think the Wiz will do this season?

I talked to a cross section of experts from TNT and ESPN and here is what they had to say.

» Mike Breen, ESPN lead play-by-play man: I really like the way the Wizards look this season and I have them as a sleeper team in the East. If anyone doubted that Gilbert Arenas is a superstar in this league he put that to rest last season. They have a real chance to go deep into the playoffs.

» Hubie Brown, ESPN lead game analyst: I like the Wizards and to be honest, there is no real dominant team in the East. If Washington wants to contend for an NBA championship — and they have the talent to go far — then there is only one word they need to remember: DEFENSE. Arenas and the guys can score but to be real contenders they must defend.

» Mark Jackson, ESPN studio host: As a former player I can tell you the best thing for the Wizards was to watch Cleveland advance and go deep into the playoffs. You sit there and say that we could have beaten those guys, that should have been us.

Radio for all the Wizards games can be heard on Sportstalk 980-WTEM and SIRIUS.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Ravens wired to their fans

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Oct 28, 2006 5:00 AM (6 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 3 of 6,414 articles

BALTIMORE - The Baltimore Ravens are not just in the football business. They are also in the broadcasting business, and that is very good news for their fans.

The Ravens have been producing their own TV shows for years, and now, with their relationship with the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, they have been able to expand their reach.

Ravens-produced shows include “Ravens Report,” “Ravens Wired” and “The Brian Billick Show.” They work with MASN on “Game Plan,” and their new offering is “Ravens Xtra,” a postgame show after all home games.

I first met Kevin Byrne, the Ravens’ senior vice president of public/community relations, about 20 years ago in Cleveland when he was working for the Browns. He has been part of the franchise for more than 26 years.

I spoke with Byrne recently about a number of different topics.

Byrne on the Ravens’ broadcasting history, starting with former majority owner Art Modell: “Mr. Modell was the first owner to produce his team’s preseason games in the early ’80s and to produce team-owned shows. So, fast- forward to the Ravens, and we are very proud of the network-quality preseason broadcasts. As for the locally produced regular-season shows, we put a great deal of effort and thought into each program. Our goal is to give the fans unlimited access to our players and coaches through these shows. We have a wonderful team of bright, talented people who work closely with the coaches and players to capture the real behind-the-scenes stories that you simply won’t find anywhere else. We have been able to offer clips from these shows, plus other video on our Web site, as well.”

Byrne on the relationship with MASN: “We felt that we needed an outlet for our programs. We enjoy a good relationship with Comcast SportsNet, but when MASN came along, they gave us a very good chance to expand our brand. We have Ravens fans all over the mid-Atlantic region, and we felt that the relationship with MASN would allow us to produce more programs for our fans and to also keep them in the loop on all things Ravens, 12 months out of the year.”

Byrne on the Ravens and their fans: “When we first got to Baltimore, I really envied the Orioles and how you would see their fans wearing their caps and shirts. They really had the kind of relationship that I wanted to see the Ravens have with this city. Now, I can say without fear of contradiction we have the best fans in the NFL. You can’t go anywhere in this town without seeing Ravens caps, jerseys and fans having fun. This team and this city have a real love for each other. The coaches feel it, the players feel it, our owner, Stephen Bisciotti, feels it, and we know our fans feel it. So you can count on us never taking that love for granted and for always doing our best to keep them in the loop via TV and on the Web.”

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. E-mail him at jwilliamsexaminer@gmail.com.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Let’s give ’em something to talk about

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Oct 27, 2006 5:00 AM (1 hr 29 mins ago)
Current rank: # 2 of 5,398 articles

WASHINGTON - This was a great week for interesting people producing interesting quotes. To that end, I’ve put together a collection of takes from my conversations with sports figures.

» NBC NASCAR analyst Benny Parson on the Chase for the Cup:

“If we’ve learned anything over the last six Chase races, it’s that no lead is safe. Matt Kenseth finished fourth at Talladega, his next best Chase finish was 10th but he’s now the points leader.”

NBC 4 Has the Bass Pro Shops 500 Sunday from Atlanta at 12:30 p.m.

» NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol on how “flex” scheduling works in the NFL:

“The NFL put this policy into effect when they negotiated the television deals with CBS and FOX in the fall of 2004. Our deal wasn’t made until April of ’05 so we inherited flex scheduling. We’re able to say to the NFL, ‘Here is a game that we would like to air on Sunday night football, and here are reasons why we think this the most compelling game.’ And then their television department and the [NFL] Commissioner make the final decision. There may be a week where we want ‘X’ game and there may be another game that the NFL rules equally or more compelling and they’ll make the determination that that is the game that we’re going to do. They have the final authority.”

The first “flex” schedule game on NBC will be Bears–Giants at 8:15 p.m., Nov. 12. We will know the Sunday night game of the week for Nov. 19 about 10 to 12 days in advance. This gives NBC the chance at getting the best game FOX and CBS do not protect and should make for more competitive primetime games for the rest of the season.

» The best quote of the week came from Norby Williamson, ESPN’s executive vice president in charge of “Monday Night Football.” As you may know, the Cowboys-Giants game was the most watched program in cable TV history, beating out the trade debate on CNN between Al Gore and Ross Perot on Nov. 9, 1993.

“We’ve never believed the acronyms NAFTA and MNF belonged in the same sentence,” Williamson said, “and we’re thrilled to have established MNF as the home of cable’s biggest audience ever.”

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Amber Theoharis set to be Baltimore’s next big star

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Oct 25, 2006 5:00 AM (3 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 2 of 5,784 articles

BALTIMORE - Mark down the name Amber Theoharis. She is going to be a star in the national sports broadcasting business. She will also be the first to send me an e-mail for saying it because she is not one to call attention to herself, rather preferring her work to speak for itself.

Theoharis is a solid journalist with a magnetic personality and a gift for being able to ask the right question at the right time. She has been rewarded for her hard work by being the first woman sportscaster in Baltimore to earn an Emmy Award.

For those not aware of her, Theoharis is currently part of Baltimore’s FOX 45 sports team, along with sports director Bruce Cunningham, and is also a fixture on several high-profile shows on Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. Along with former Ravens star Rob Burnett, she hosts the new “Ravens Xtra” postgame show, which can be seen after all Ravens home games. You can also see her every Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. on “MASN Playmakers Live,” an entertaining interactive call-in show.

A local girl from the Frederick area, Theoharis is a proud graduate of the University of Maryland, and after leaving her alma mater, she worked hard to refine her craft in Salisbury, Columbus, New York and Washington before coming home to be part of the FOX 45 team.

I recently spoke to Theoharis about her passion for sports.

“I really love my job, and I hope that comes across to the fans,” she said. “Doing ‘Ravens Xtra’ gives me a chance to ask the players, coaches and experts all the questions that I feel the fans would ask if they were in my shoes. I see myself as the liaison between the fans and the people I interview. Being part of this new show is a real pleasure for me, and working with Rob Burnett is super. I know the fans wanted a postgame show, and we are all committed to giving them the best one possible.”

Theoharis on her career: “I love working with Bruce at FOX 45, and with 10 minutes of sports on the 10 p.m. show Monday through Friday, we can really do things that other stations in the market can’t. We have the time to really get into a story and not just grab a few sound bites. It has given me, as a sports journalist, a chance to challenge myself to do the best job possible for FOX 45 News and the viewers. As for the ‘MASN Playmakers Live,’ it is fun, and to interact with the callers really makes me think on my feet. Steve Stofberg and the rest of the gang on ‘Playmakers’ are great to work with all true professionals.”

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. E-mail him at jwilliamsexaminer@gmail.com.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006


The Chicago Bears-New York Giants game on Sunday, November 12 will be played at 8:15 PM ET on NBC and the New Orleans Saints-Pittsburgh Steelers game will move to 4:15 PM ET on FOX as part of the first week of flexible scheduling, the NFL and NBC announced today.

As for the Ravens being added to the schedule there is only one thus far in consideration and that is the week 11 game between the Ravens and the Falcons. San Diego and Denver is also under consideration for that date. Week 12 the Ravens – Steelers is also a game that is a possible move. Look for the Ravens to get one but unlikely two games.

According my conversation today with John Madden and Dick Ebersol they want the best games that have not been protected by FOX or CBS.

This season the NFL is implementing for the first time a “flexible scheduling” feature on Sundays in Weeks 10-15 and in Week 17. November 12 (Week 10) marks the first week of flexible scheduling, which will ensure quality matchups in all the NFL Sunday time slots and give teams a chance to play their way onto primetime and into the late-afternoon 4:15 PM ET time slot on CBS and FOX.



“The devil comes in many forms. In the Garden of Eden, he was a serpent. In the movies, he was a lawyer in “The Devil’s Advocate.” On Broadway, a baseball fan in “Damn Yankees.” And in Dallas, now he comes sliver and blue, wearing number 81.”

– Tony Kornheiser, in his opening essay about Terrell Owens

“Bledsoe to the air. Bledsoe to the ground.”
– Mike Tirico, describing Drew Beldsoe getting sacked

“You wonder if he’s (Owens) happy. Does he look happy? He’s jawing at an assistant. He’s talking to both quarterbacks. Now he’s just yelling at Terry Glenn. T.O is not happy. This is the play that could have been a touchdown if it hadn’t been hit by Lavar Arrington.”

– Kornheiser, describing camera shots of Owens

“Eli (Manning) said the other day of news that Tiki (Barber) was going to retire: ‘Good. Now we don’t have to save him for next year. We can overwork him.’ And they’re doing it tonight.”

– Kornheiser

“If it’s as simple as holding it up on your shoulder, why didn’t anyone point this out to him before Tom Coughlin did?”

– Kornheiser, after Theismann explained how Barber has dramatically reduced the number of fumbles he has had the past two seasons by adjusting the ball positioning

Theismann: “Probably because no one had the knowledge Tom Coughlin did to make the adjustment.”
Kornheiser: “If he’s ever out of work, he can be my fumble coach.”

“The Giants are saying he was simply shaken up on the play. I watched the doctors as he came to the sideline. They had him cross his feet over, walk a straight line. They poured some water on his face. He took a sip, and, blinking his eyes, he told his coaches, ‘I’m alright.’ He should be back.”

The Ravens: Washington’s other home team?

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Oct 24, 2006 5:00 AM (2 hrs 45 mins ago)
Current rank: # 3 of 5,155 articles

WASHINGTON - The Redskins have one of the largest and most passionate fan bases in all of sports, despite their abysmal start this season. In fact they are most valuable franchise in sports according to Forbes Magazine, who price tags them at around $1.4 billion.

However, the Baltimore Ravens know they have fans in the Washington area that buy season tickets, proudly wear their jerseys and want more Ravens info.

Baltimore is one of the NFL’s smallest markets. They have the Redskins to the south, Eagles to the north and Steelers to the west.

The Ravens’ goal is to market their team well beyond the greater Baltimore area.

Kevin Byrne, the Ravens Senior Vice President, Public & Community Relations, is acutely aware of their D.C. fan base and he wants it to grow. To that end, the Ravens made some bold moves in hopes of making their existing fans in the area happy while attempting lure some new ones to the purple and black.

» Byrne on the new marketing plan: “We now have WTNT 570-AM in Washington as part our Ravens Game Day network and our new relationship with MASN gives our fans at least five nights a week of programming so they can follow the team. We want our fans to get as much Ravens information as possible and also to expose new fans to our team. Our goal is to have a shared market much like Major League Baseball has done in this region with the Nationals and the Orioles. We will continue to push the NFL for that equality for both the Ravens and the Redskins fans.”

In short a shared market would give football fans in both Baltimore and Washington the ability to see all the Ravens and Redskins games throughout the region. Presently, while you can see both teams in action most weekends, there are four or five times a year that you can’t. A shared market would resolve that problem.

And hey, the Ravens games on WTNT 570-AM have a stronger signal than Redskins games on 730-AM.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.

Friday, October 20, 2006

FOX Expects Good World Series Ratings

I spoke to FOX Sports President Ed Goren and he was up beat about the World Series ratings:

On whether the Cardinals or the Mets would make a better World Series matchup for FOX:
Ed Goren: "It’s about how many games you get. We’re coming off back-to-back World Series sweeps. I am told by our ratings people that a New York-Detroit World Series, game for game, would potentially out-rate a St. Louis-Detroit World Series. Having said that, it’s more about volume than about the match-up. The World Series last year, in a four-game sweep, was the sixth highest rated show in primetime for the fourth quarter. The World Series typically out-rates the primetime average by 82%. In 1990, the spread was 69%, in the ‘80’s, 58%, in the ‘70’s 52%. In today's rating world, the World Series is a ratings success, even in a four-game sweep. It’s just a matter of how good it can be."

Friday night will be lit by TV lights in DC

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Oct 20, 2006 5:00 AM (1 hr 54 mins ago)
ESPNU has been in town this week and, no, they aren’t here to cover the local college teams. They are in D.C. for high school football. The network will be nationally televising the Coolidge vs.Dunbar game, tonight at 8.

The Coolidge-Dunbar football game was chosen to be part of ESPNU’s 13 game national high school game of the week package. The goal is to showcase some of the top players and programs from Florida to California and this week the cross country trip stops in Washington.

I spoke to Burke Magnus, the VP and GM of ESPNU, about the dedication of time to high school sports on the network.

» Magnus on why to televise high school football: “We know that we have plenty of college football fans that follow the top high school players in the country wondering if they are going to end up playing for their favorite schools. This is our chance to showcase the best high school players and
programs nationwide. Giving Friday nights back to high school sports.”

» Magnus on the exposure of high school sports on a national level: “We are very aware of the importance of making sure that we show all aspects of the schools that we cover — not just the athletic side, but the academic and artistic sides as well. The vast majority of the kids that you will
see playing in these games won’t play in the NFL or in some cases even in D-1 college football but we think that high school sports is important for its spirit and tradition, so we are happy to have it on

Doug Bell will handle the play by play with ESPN Scouts Inc. recruiting analyst Tom Luginbill doing the color.

ACC action

The weekend’s ACC games has Maryland hosting N.C. State on MY20 at noon and ABC 7 at 3:30p.m. with Boston College at Florida State.

Before the Redskins game

» Plenty of great racing action for those who can’t make the drive down to Martinsville on Saturday,
you have the Kroger 200 on SPEED and then at 12:30 p.m. on NBC 4, the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup continues with the Subway 500. Radio for both days is on XM and the MRN
Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.

Baseball diversifies its TV coverage in new six-year deal

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Oct 20, 2006 5:00 AM (1 hr 51 mins ago)
Current rank: # 3 of 4,531 articles

BALTIMORE - TBS, which began the whole “Super Station”/baseball-on-cable trend, took things to a whole different level this week by completing a six-year deal with Major League Baseball.

The deal gives TBS the cable rights to the League Championships Series, one of sports’ crown jewels, and continued an interesting trend of moving high-profile sporting events to cable from broadcast TV. It’s the second major event in less than a year to make such a move, following the transfer of Monday Night Football from ABC to ESPN.

MLB’s new broadcast and cable TV contract is now complete, running from 2007 through 2013. It will be the most ambitious contract in the history of baseball, with its partners being FOX on the broadcast side and ESPN and TBS on the cable side.

Here’s who gets what starting next spring:

FOX: Twenty-six regular-season Saturday game of the week broadcasts, the All-Star Game, one of the League Championship Series and the World Series.

TBS: Twenty-six regular-season Sunday afternoon game of the week broadcasts, the All-Star selection show, regular-season tie-breaker games, both the National and American League divisional series and one of the league championship series. (Braves fans, this will be the final season you’ll see them on TBS.)

The way FOX and TBS will handle the coverage of the LCS is simple: In odd-numbered years starting in 2007, the American League will be on FOX and the National League will air on TBS, and they’ll alternate each year through the remainder of the contract.

Meanwhile, ESPN will broadcast 26 Sunday night game of the week telecasts, as well as games on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights.

The total package is estimated at around $5 billion (or about $28 million per year, per team, for the next six years).

From a broadcast structure, the deal is almost exactly the same as that of the NBA, which uses both ESPN and TBS as its primary cable partners in hopes of delivering their product to a more diverse audience.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. You can reach him at jwilliamsexaminer@gmail.com.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Jim Williams: Baseball’s 2007 TV deal puts LCS games on cable for first time

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Oct 19, 2006 5:00 AM (1 hr 24 mins ago)
Current rank: # 1 of 5,288 articles

WASHINGTON - TBS, who began the whole “superstation” baseball on cable trend, took things to a whole different level this week by completing a six year deal with Major League Baseball.

The deal gives TBS the cable rights to the League Championships Series, one of sports crown jewels, and continued an interesting trend of moving high-profile sporting events to cable from broadcast TV.

It is the second major event to move in less than a year following the transfer of “Monday Night Football” from ABC to ESPN.

Thus completes Major League Baseball’s new broadcast and cable TV contract that runs from 2007 through 2013.

It will be the most ambitious in the history of baseball with their partners being FOX on the broadcast side and ESPN and TBS on the cable side.

Here is who gets what starting this spring:

» FOX: 26 regular-season Saturday “Game of the Week” broadcasts, the All-Star Game, one of the League Championship Series and the World Series.

» TBS: 26 regular season Sunday afternoon “Game of the Week” broadcasts, the “All-Star Selection Show,” regular season tie breaker games, both the National and American League Divisional Series and one of the League Championship Series. (Braves fans, this will be the final season that you will see them on TBS.)

The way that FOX and TBS will handle the coverage of the LCS is simple, the odd number years starting in 2007, the American League will be on FOX, and the National League will air on TBS, then will alternate each year through the remainder of the contract.

Meanwhile, ESPN will broadcast 26 “Sunday Night Baseball” game of the week telecasts, as well as, “Monday Night Baseball,” “Wednesday Night Baseball” and “Friday Night Baseball.”

The total package on all the baseball is estimated at around $5 billion. (Or about $28 million per year, per team for the next six years.)

The deal from a broadcast structure is almost exactly the same deal that the NBA has using both ESPN and Turner Broadcasting as their primary cable partners in hopes that they can deliver a more broad and diverse audience for MLB as they have done for the NBA.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Jim Williams: It’s better to think before you speak

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Oct 17, 2006 5:00 AM (14 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 6 of 5,713 articles

BALTIMORE - Steve Lyons, in my opinion, is not a bigot. But his feeble attempt at humor in front of a national audience was far from appropriate, and FOX Sports did the right thing by firing him.

FOX canned Lyons, a longtime baseball analyst, after he made “racially insensitive” remarks during Friday’s ALCS Game 3 between Detroit and Oakland. Lyons was working the game with Thom Brennaman and Lou Piniella.

The comments came in the second inning when Piniella mentioned A’s shortstop Marco Scutaro’s success at the plate in the playoffs. Piniella went into an analysis of how Frank Thomas and Eric Chavez needed to be more productive and compared Scutaro’s production to finding a “wallet on Friday” and hoping it would happen again the next week.

Piniella said the A’s needed Thomas to get “en fuego” — hot, in Spanish — because he was currently “frio” (cold). After Brennaman praised Piniella for being bilingual, Lyons said Piniella was “habla-ing Espanol” and added, “I still can’t find my wallet.” Lyons finished digging his grave by saying, “I don’t understand him, and I don’t want to sit too close to him now.”

Lyons, who was told by network executives after the game that he was fired, said, “If I offended anybody, I’m truly sorry. But my comment about Lou taking my wallet was a joke and in no way racially motivated.”

Last Monday, the popular “Mike and the Mad Dog Show” on WFAN in New York featured a verbal battle with Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle, whom the hosts accused of not being behind Joe Torre.

Lidle called the show and asked Mike Francesa and Chris Russo how they could know what he thought of Joe Torre without asking him. At the end of the half-hour debate, Lidle said, “I’d like to meet you sometime and we can sit down and you guys can really get to know me instead of just what you think about me.”

Tragically, that meeting, of course, will never happen. Lidle, 34, and a flight instructor were killed last Wednesday when his small plane crashed into an apartment building in Manhattan.

But perhaps we all can learn from the mistakes of Lyons, Francesa and Russo. We need to think before we speak. It’s such an old adage, it has become cliché. But as last week poignancy reminded us, in the realm of broadcasting and beyond, it still holds great truth.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. You can reach him at jwilliamsexaminer@gmail.com.

More coming to the little screen...

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Oct 17, 2006 5:00 AM (14 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 5 of 5,780 articles

WASHINGTON - Saturday the Maryland–Virginia game was on ESPN 360 and for those who don’t know what that is, it is ESPN’s broadband (computer only) network.

Make no mistake about it, this is where you will be seeing more sports in the future and college sports will be at the forefront.

After all the new HDTV sets are just large computer monitors so the lines between cable and broadband are growing ever closer.

Recently, Tim Pernetti the CSTV programming boss told me that troops in Iraq had hooked up a plasma screen to their computer and watched Navy football and other sports offered by his network.

CSTV just launched more than 100 new college broadband channels and they include a solid group of local schools: Maryland, Navy, Georgetown, George Mason, George Washington, Virginia and American. The ACC, Big East and A-10 are some of the network’s conference partners.

This is great news for college sports fans because there is a larger variety of sports making their way on to cable and now broadband.

» Pernetti on CSTV and their huge expansion into broadband “Our core business is to get as much college sports on the air as possible to as many fans as possible no matter where they are in the world. Our large broadband network will allow colleges to produce some of their own shows to be complimented by our shows. For instance, if Maryland (or any of our schools) wants to stream a soccer game or field hockey, they can do it on their Web site live, and if someone missed it they can comeback later and view the game on demand when it fits their schedule.”

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Jon Miller and baseball on the radio — the perfect match

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Oct 14, 2006 5:00 AM (4 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 2 of 7,745 articles

WASHINGTON - Talking with Jon Miller about baseball and broadcasting is about one my favorite things to do. His passion, knowledge and simple joy for the game — and broadcasting it — turns a short interview into a nearly two hour conversation.

He and Joe Morgan are doing the ESPN Radio broadcasts of the American League Championship Series and then they will handle the World Series.

I spoke to Jon from his San Francisco Bay Area home as he was getting ready for game two between the A’s and Tigers from Oakland.

» Miller on radio vs. TV: “I love TV but on radio it’s only Joe, me and a producer and no long production meetings, no pre-taped packages — just plain old sitting behind the microphone and having fun calling the game. Not that we wouldn’t enjoy doing the games on ESPN TV, but we both love radio and we really enjoy connecting with the fans in an old school sort of way via radio. ”

» Miller on baseball on the radio: “Baseball is a great radio sport. I grew up when the majority of baseball was on the radio and as a fan you enjoyed being entertained by the best broadcasters of the day like Vin Scully, Harry Carry, Jack Buck, Bob Prince, Bob Wolf and Chuck Thompson just to name a few. They were able to paint wonderful word pictures that were in some cases better than TV. They knew how keep you on the edge of your seat as they played the drama out. It is an art form to be sure.”

» Miller on young broadcasters: “They seem to be too fixated on stats. One of my partners on Giants radio is Dave Flemming a very bright and talented young man from Alexandria, Va., and my first assignment for him was to put the stats aside and just spend an inning describing what he saw on the field. He was able to make the connection and begin to paint that word picture that a good broadcaster needs to do. Too many young announcers don’t enjoy the game or have fun; they miss the key points of how to handle the drama of the game. But if young broadcasters listen to old tapes of the guys I mentioned they will find the keys are passion, drama and fun.”

Redskins grab ratings

» Another big week for the Redskins — rated the top show in Washington with a 25.8 rating and 56 share.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Christies letting us inside

By:Jim Williams, The Examiner
Oct 13, 2006 5:00 AM (3 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 5 of 7,802 articles

WASHINGTON - Doug Christie made a name for himself as a defensive-minded shooting guard for six different NBA teams.

But that was before his wife, Jackie, entered the picture. Now Doug is known as the NBA player whose wife travels with him on the road; as in she follows directly behind the team bus in her car.

What is the big deal about a wife traveling with her husband?

Well, it seems sports talk show hosts and columnists nationwide think Doug might be the most whipped husband in sports.

BETJ is giving you a behind-the-scenes look at this husband-wife team in new reality show “The Christies Committed” on Thursday nights at 10.

Recently, I spoke to Doug and Jackie about the show they feel will explain to doubters that theirs is a love story, not a comedy

» Doug on why so much has been made of Jackie traveling with him on the road in the NBA:

“It is a macho thing, the fact that NBA players are thought to be womanizers. The fact that I love my wife and that we enjoy traveling together is somehow a bad thing is amazing to me. This gives me a chance to see my wife and kids. How can that be bad?”

» Jackie on how the players treated her on the road

“The players have been supportive and in Sacramento, guys were great. They called me the team mascot and often asked about marriage. So to be honest I have never had a player in any way be rude to me; it’s a great treat for both Doug and me.”

I have seen previews of the show and it is an in-depth look at the Christies’ unique relationship. It’s different but entertaining.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.

Rumor has it!

By: Jim Williams, The Examiner
Oct 13, 2006 12:35 PM (6 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 4 of 6,686 articles

Washington -. This time of year rumors are a very big part of Major League Baseball and the Nationals seem to be right in the thick of the spin cycle.

At around 2pm yesterday a wire service story out of the Dominican Republic stated that in the Thursday morning editions of the Santo Domingo newspaper Listin Diario, Nationals Special Assistant Jose Rijo told a radio a reporter that Alfonso Soriano turned down a $70 million, five-year contract offer from the club.

Meanwhile, back here in the states Examiner staffers burned up the phone lines and sent out plenty of emails in hopes of confirming the report. At first no one in the Nationals organization could be reached to either confirm or deny the wire service report.

I contacted baseball insiders at both ESPN and FOX and again no one seemed to have heard of the report or knew if the news of the contract rejection was real. A source at ESPN thought it odd that the story would not have come out of Washington and from GM Jim Bowden’s office. “Its just not Stan Kasten’s or Jim’s style to have Jose make such an important announcement,” the source told me.

By 6pm newscasts were broadcasting the story of Alfonso Soriano’s rejection of the Nationals offer. ESPN, FOX and other sports outlets had taken this flimsy single source wire service story and made it the gospel truth in their sports breaks.

Meanwhile, none of the baseball insiders that I had been in contact with all day long thought the story was true and were looking for some one, anyone to either confirm or deny it.

Finally at about 10:30pm a clearly upset Stan Kasten, the Nationals president, who had been traveling all day, issued a statement that he have no idea how the story got out and that it was a total fabrication. Not a single word of it is true and only I, Jim Bowden (Nationals General Manager) and Mark Lerner (Nationals Managing General Partner) conduct contract talk’s period. At present we have an ongoing dialogue with Alfonso Soriano and his agent Diego Bentz and if and when a deal is either accepted or rejected it will be announced by the Nationals communications staff. That is the way we do business.

So, the rumor mill rolled on all day and one wonders if it was a clever ploy by Diego Bentz to get some numbers out there to perspective suitors or just bad reporting. We will never really know for sure. We do know from a number of sources that the Nationals offer to Soriano is likely to be in the six year $70 to $80 million range. We also know that the newspaper account out of the Dominican Republic had the number that Benz was looking for at seven years and $110 million dollars. So you can understand the need for what we call in Washington a little leakage of the facts.

Don’t expect this to be the last rumor in the ongoing contract talks between the Nationals and Soriano let’s just hope the next one is handled better…

Meanwhile on the Nationals manager front ESPN baseball insider Buster Olney and a number of Chicago based media outlets are reporting that FOX analyst Lou Piniella and former Yankees, Reds, Mariners, Devil Rays manager is the front runner for the Cubs job. Also, the Cubs will ask the Padres as soon as Friday for permission to talk with manager Bruce Bochy and they will likely give Chicago and even perhaps the Giants the go ahead to interview the San Diego skipper. If that happens you could have a Bochy – Piniella race for the Cubs job. That scenario could put Joe Girardi in the Nationals dugout in 2007. Chicago wants to make an announcement as soon as next week and with Girardi having a second meeting with the Nationals yesterday you can bet if the Cubs name either Bochy or “Sweet Lou,” their man, Girardi will be in D.C. talking contract terms.

Welcome to the “hot stove league,” and with a real owner and a new ball park rising out of the ground in southeast, this off season is going to be fun.

The Examiner. All rights reserved.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

NFL Rules Ratings again...



NFL games topped the local ratings in 20 of 29 NFL markets* last week (*New Orleans data excluded by Nielsen). Against strong competition, NFL games ranked first 20 times vs. Major League Baseball’s Division Series games, which topped the ratings in two NFL markets.

NFL games compared favorably in local ratings to other sports and prime-time competition:

# of NFL markets Ranked #1

NFL Football


MLB Playoffs

The Sunday late afternoon Cowboys-Eagles game on FOX was the second-most watched show of the week against all programming with 22.1 million viewers (Grey’s Anatomy was first with 22.8 million). By comparison, the most-watched MLB playoff game last week was Tigers-Yankees ALDS Game 1 on FOX (8.4 million viewers).

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

ESPN Set Records...MNF


Last night, ESPN’s Monday Night Football earned a 10.3 rating for the Denver Broncos’ 13-3 victory over the previously unbeaten Baltimore Ravens, representing 9,455,000 homes (12,505,000 viewers, P2+), cable television’s fourth-biggest audience of all time, and third-biggest this year, behind only previous MNF telecasts. It was the fourth-straight week that MNF earned a rating over a 10.

In addition, last night ESPN led all networks – cable or broadcast – in delivery of all key male demos. MNF continues to boost ESPN’s ratings throughout the day; adding in the pre- and post-game shows, ESPN delivered 21.0 gross ratings points.

Online, ESPN.com’s NFL and "Monday Night Surround" content viewed on computers and wireless devices generated more than 25 million page views Monday, up 50 percent over page views last year according to Web measurement tool HitBox. In addition, there were 1.46 million views of pro-football-related videos on ESPN Motion and ESPN360 on Monday (through Tuesday at noon).

For the NFL season to date, MNF on ESPN is averaging a 10.3 rating and 9,474,000 homes (12,867,000 P2+) for six games in five weeks. These represent increases of 34%, 37% and 36%, respectively, compared to the first five weeks of last year’s ESPN Sunday Night Football (7.7 rating, 6.937 million homes, 9.466 million viewers). ESPN’s six MNF games so far are cable television’s best ratings and largest audiences of the year.

Last night’s MNF telecast was simulcast on local over-the-air channels in Baltimore (21.2 rating) and Denver (24.3 rating), boosting ESPN’s audience to an estimated average of 10,036,000 households. The total also includes those viewing in high definition on ESPN HD.


FOX National Games are NFL’s Highest-Rated; Ranks as Top-Five Show This TV Season

FOX NFL SUNDAY Whips CBS’ The NFL Today by Astounding +82%

New York-- Sunday’s (10/8/06) NFL on FOX presentation of the much anticipated NFC East battle between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, one that featured the return of former Eagles receiver Terrell Owens to Philadelphia, posted a strong 13.9/28 (22.1 million viewers) national rating, according to Nielsen Media Research figures released today. The 13.9/28 posted by Sunday’s NFL on FOX National Game represents an impressive +29% increase over the comparable Week 5 National Doubleheader Game a year ago (vs. 10.8/21) and also out-rated NBC’s Sunday night prime time NFL game by +45% (vs. 9.6). For the week, FOX's National Game was the 2nd highest-rated and 2nd most-watched program on television behind ABC's Grey's Anatomy (14.9/22, 22.8 mill). Through five weeks of coverage, NFL games on FOX are off to their most-watched start to a season in the history of the network’s partnership with the NFL.

This season, FOX's National Game average of 13.5/27 (21.4 million viewers) is up +11% over last year's 12.2/24 on households and up across all key male demos including M18-34 (+11%, 10.7 vs. 9.6), M18-49 (+10%, 11.7 vs. 10.6), and M25-54 (+11%, 12.8 vs. 11.5). FOX's National Games also hold a sizable +16% advantage over CBS's National Games and NBC's Sunday Night Football, and it is the highest-rated of the NFL’s six telecast windows. If it were a prime time program, it would rank fourth this TV season behind only Desperate Housewives (13.7), CSI (14.0) and Grey’s Anatomy (15.4).

After the conclusion of Sunday’s Cowboys-Eagles Game, FOX Sports’ presentation of THE OT postgame show earned a sensational 8.7/15 (13.5 mill.), +235% advantage over NBC’s 7:45-7:58p portion of Football Night in America (2.6/5). It placed second in the Sun/7-8p time period behind CBS's "60 Minutes" (8.5/14) in households, but ranked first on A18-49 (4.9/15).

The FOX NFL SUNDAY pregame show, broadcast live from Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, recorded terrific ratings as well. America’s most watched pregame show earned a fast national rating of 4.0/10 (5.6 million viewers) this weekend. That is a huge +21% increase over last year's Week 5 show (vs. 3.3/8), and is FOX's highest-rated pregame rating so far this year. Demos were equally impressive as this weekend's telecast was up +17% on M18-34 (2.8 vs. 2.4), +15% on M18-49 (3.0 vs. 2.6), and +13% on M25-54 (3.4 vs. 3.0). Last weekend’s FOX NFL SUNDAY obliterated The NFL Today on CBS, which posted a season-low 2.2/6 fast national by 82% in households.


Next Monday: Unbeaten Chicago at Arizona

October 10, 2006

“The hitting continues, right to the echo of the whistle.” – Mike Tirico describing what could have been a late hit by Baltimore’s Todd Wilcox

“I called Titans head coach Jeff Fisher to talk about Steve McNair, and the first words out of his mouth: ‘I miss him so much.’ He said it’s like sending your first kid off to college… When Steve McNair showed up in the off-season to work out, he was asked to leave the (Titans’) facility. Jeff Fisher was out of town and didn’t even know what was going on. It’s certain that if he and Jeff had been able to talk it out, they could have found a way for Steve to finish his career there. But management wanted Vince Young – he was targeted as the starter.” – Suzy Kolber

“We talk about the speed of the Broncos. Watch how many guys get to the ball. Look at the speed. Everyone is on that side (of the ball) except one. That’s what you’re dealing with when you try to run outside.” – Joe Theismann, describing a high-view replay of Denver’s defense chasing Jamal Lewis out of bounds

“Right after Tatum Bell fumbled the football, he ran up and down the offensive bench and pointed to his chest, just saying, ‘My bad. My bad,’ to every single guy on the offense. He really wanted to take the responsibility for that mistake. Right after that, Jake Plummer went to him, patted him hard on the shoulder pads, and said, ‘Keep your head in the game.’” – Michele Tafoya, describing the activity on the Broncos’ sideline

“The ’72 Dolphins better start to get scared. Nick Buoniconti, I’m putting you on alert.”

– Theismann, reacting to a graphic showing the Chicago Bears are scoring the most points in the league (31.2 ppg) and allowing the fewest (7.2 ppg).

Later in the game, while discussing the Bears’ chances for an undefeated season:

Theismann: “They have a passing offense. That’s why I don’t think anybody beats them.”

Kornheiser: “Ever?”

Theismann: “Ever. I think they can go right through.”

Kornheiser: “We’re going to hold you to this if you’ve got them 16-0.”

Theismann: “Actually 19-0.”

Theismann, illustrating a replay to show how the Broncos offensive line is in synch: “Watch the steps of the offensive linemen. They all step to the left like a quartet.”

Kornheiser: “You like that they all step together. The Temptations used to do that, and it worked out very well for their career.”

Jim Williams: Nats could be right fit for Piniella, Girardi

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Oct 10, 2006 5:00 AM (1 hr 24 mins ago)
Current rank: # 35 of 4,787 articles

WASHINGTON - The two names at the top of the Nationals wish list to replace Frank Robinson as manager are making headlines in other cities.

The New York media has Lou Piniella replacing Joe Torre after the Yankees’ first-round playoff exit by the Yankees even though Torre hasn’t been fired ... yet.

Meanwhile, in Chicago they were talking about how nice it would be to have former Marlins skipper Joe Girardi in the Cubs dugout.

So what are the Nationals, chopped liver?

FOX’s public relations team was quick to get out a statement for Piniella: “There are reports from the New York Daily News that Joe Torre may be replaced as Yankee manager by Lou Piniella. We spoke today to Lou in San Francisco where he is getting ready to call the ALCS on FOX. Lou said he hasn’t spoken to the Yankees and is ‘stunned’ at the report.”

Piniella to the Yankees is a logical choice but far from a done deal. His agent, Alan Nero, insists his client isn’t thinking about replacing Torre. A number of baseball and media sources say Piniella is “very interested in the vacant Nationals’ job.”

There would be tremendous pressure on Piniella to win a World Series right away should he return to the Bronx. At age 63, working in Washington might seem a bit more calming to “Sweet Lou.” But if Torre does get bounced, it will be interesting to see if Lou can say no to the Yankees.

In Chicago, Girardi is the home town boy the Cubs want to replaced Dusty Baker. But the Tribune Company, which owns the Cubs, is in deep financial trouble. Improving the Cubs is not a top priority. In fact, rumors began last season that the Tribune Company might sell the Cubs to offset some of their losses in the newspaper and broadcasting business.

As unlikely as it may sound, the Nationals might be a more solid and stable choice than either the Yankees or Cubs.

So don’t yet write off Piniella or Girardi as possible Nationals managers.

Meanwhile, Dusty Baker, Atlanta Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton and a number of others are on deck should the favorites drop out.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.

Monday, October 09, 2006


American League Championship Series on FOX

Play-by-Play: Thom Brennaman, Analysts: Steve Lyons and Lou Piniella, Reporter: Chris Myers

Tuesday, October 10 Game 1: Detroit Tigers at Oakland Athletics 8:00 PM ET

Wednesday, October 11 Game 2: Detroit Tigers at Oakland Athletics 8:00 PM ET #

Friday, October 13 Game 3: Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers 8:00 PM ET

National League Championship Series on FOX

Play-by-Play: Joe Buck, Analysts: Tim McCarver and Luis Gonzalez, Reporter: Ken Rosenthal

Wednesday, October 11 Game 1: St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets 8:00 PM ET #

Thursday, October 12 Game 2: St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets 8:00 PM ET

# - Below is a breakdown of the top 56 markets, detailing which game will be carried by the FOX over-the-air broadcast station.


St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets 82%

MARKETS INCLUDE: Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Birmingham, Boston, Buffalo, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dallas, Dayton, Denver, Fort Myers, Greensboro, Greenville, Hartford, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Knoxville, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Norfolk, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Providence, Raleigh, Richmond, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, St. Louis, Tampa, Tulsa, Washington, West Palm Beach

Detroit Tigers at Oakland Athletics 17%

MARKETS INCLUDE: Cleveland, Detroit, Minneapolis, Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco, Seattle

Are you ready for some MNF, Ravens-style?

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Oct 9, 2006 5:00 AM (1 hr 29 mins ago)
Current rank: # 1 of 5,140 articles

BALTIMORE - Tonight, the Ravens are in Denver for Monday Night Football. You can see the game in HD on WJZ-13 or ESPN. Also, at 8 p.m., WJZ-13 sports director Mark Viviano and “The Bulldog” Damon Yaffe will do a half-hour Ravens pre-game show, taking you up to kickoff at 8:30.

But this really is not just Monday Night Football. Yes, the Ravens will play the Broncos tonight, but ESPN has elevated this to an all-day affair. ESPN 1300 AM will kick things off at 6 a.m. with “Mike and Mike” live from Denver, and there will be plenty more on the game on ESPN2 Cold Pizza. At 5 p.m., ESPN is live from Denver for the rest of the day until the game signs off around midnight.

PTI, NFL Primetime and Monday Night Countdown will give you three solid hours of analysis of the Ravens-Broncos game before the MNF crew of Mike Tirico, Joe Theismann, Tony Kornheiser, Suzy Kolber and Michele Tafoya take over.

So far this season, ESPN’s day-long programming leading up to each week’s game has been a total success. Four weeks have produced four ratings records. All of the shows from 5 p.m. until kickoff are enjoying monster numbers, and viewership is up more than 100 percent over normal daytime ratings. All four MNF games have pushed the 10 million viewer mark, which is very, very high for cable.

Fans are embracing the idea of a whole day of football talk leading up to the game.

Meanwhile, the new Ravens broadcast crew of Gerry Sandusky, Stan White and Rob Burnett has earned a solid C-plus, which is not bad just four games into their first season together. Sandusky has done a solid play-by-play, keeping fans aware of every aspect of the game. White and Burnett both have plenty of quality things to say, but they often talk over each other. Like the Ravens’ offense, you can see the potential, but the timing is just not there yet.

The pre-game edge goes to ESPN 1300/WHFS. With a deep bench of talent, they have the edge over WBAL/98 ROCK.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. You can reach him at jwilliamsexaminer@gmail.com.


"Atlas outside our studios at 30 Rock, the weight of the world on his shoulders feeling much as I do each Sunday night attempting to carry the trio I'm sitting here with, Cris Collinsworth, Jerome Bettis and Sterling Sharpe."
"I have seen you in the gym, and you would have trouble carrying your water bottle much less us."

MCNABB: "It's not about me and T.O. It was great for the media to try to pump it up, to try to get our game going. I'm sure people across the league were watching and that people enjoyed the game, it was an exciting game. But it was the Dallas Cowboys versus the Philadelphia Eagles."
NEUMEIER: "Did you take any particular delight in Terrell Owens not being a factor in this ballgame today?
MCNABB: "Not at all. The delight that I have is in looking up at that scoreboard and seeing 38-24."

"This is a different Colts team and let me tell you why – they are power-running the football. They're not just putting it all on Peyton Manning's shoulders. The last two games, they have run the football 314 yards, almost five yards a clip. I like what they're doing because I've been telling people, before Cris mentioned the Chicago Bears being this good, that the Indianapolis Colts had to re-invent themselves, and they have, with their power running game"
"They had better re-invent their run defense, because they are terrible."

"I talked to Ben Roethlisberger the other day and he told me he put the bye to good use. He looked at a lot of tape, he worked with the wide receivers on their timing, and I think that spells – offensive explosion. Hines Ward is getting healthier, because he had a hamstring injury, and I think that spells offensive explosion."
"It couldn't get any worse, let me put it that way."

"If they want to win the division and have a chance to go to the playoffs, they have got to win this game."

"I had a chance to do a pre-season game with Arizona at New England, and the game is not too big for Matt Leinart. He's a guy who has a lot of confidence in his abilities, a guy who understands big games, he's played in a bunch of them at USC, and he's got a real deep cool, almost a positive cockiness, that his teammates are going to feed off of. Coming out on the first two drives and throwing two touchdowns is going to serve dividends in November and December, more so than it did today."

The "Football Night in America" studio, just down the hall from the famed Studio 8H, home of "Saturday Night Live," was built in the former studio home of first the Philco Television Playhouse (1948-1955) and later for game shows Concentration (1958-1973) and Jeopardy (1964-1975), and talk shows Donahue (1984-1996) and The Rosie O'Donnell Show (1996-2002), and shares the "SNL" control room for the football season. The "Football Night" set was designed and built by Jeremy Conway - the former set designer for "Sex in the City." Two 103" high definition Panasonic plasma screen televisions – roughly the size of a queen-size mattress – ar

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Rich Gannon: In an ideal situation, that wouldn't be the case. You want to have
them groomed by an experienced veteran. In each of those situations that you mentioned (Vince Young and Matt Leinart), it's not the case. In Tennessee Kerry Collins has not been the answer. So rather than throw away an entire season, you go with Vince Young and hope that he can work a miracle. In Tampa Bay Chris Simms goes out and Bruce Gradkowski is forced into action. And in Arizona Kurt Warner is not the same player in that offensive system, so you go with Matt Leinart. Of the three quarterbacks, Matt Leinart is probably further along and gives you the best chance. The bottom line is, in a perfect world, you don't go with a rookie.

(On Carson Palmer)

James Brown: In his last two games he's been sacked 10 times, picked off twice and fumbled five times. What's wrong with Carson Palmer?

Phil Simms: It’s amazing the difference in a week. Last week he was the heir apparent. But nothing's wrong with Carson Palmer. I’ll tell you what's wrong. The offensive line is beat up. They played New England and Pittsburgh. I think they’re pretty good on defense. Watching Carson Palmer, I see nothing physically he’s doing this year that he hasn't done in the past. So time, playing defense…and I think Carson Palmer is going to be fine.

Boomer Esiason: Here's the deal with Carson Palmer, as Phil did say, they are banged up on the offensive line and their center Richie Braham is out. He does all the calls when it comes to pass protection. Eight of the 11 sacks have been by the back-end meaning linebackers or cornerbacks are having problems dealing with the blitz. And as Phil also said, with New England last week, they got steamrolled, so now everybody is in a panic mode. They’ll get it straightened out. They’re on a bye. I think they will be fine when he comes back.

(On wanting Terrell Owens on your team)

Boomer: I'm like Bill Parcells. I don’t want him on my team but if the owner buys him and puts him on my team, I guess I have to play with him. He's already killed two franchises in the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles, and two quarterbacks in Jeff Garcia and Donovan McNabb…So no, I wouldn’t want him but if the owner forced him on me, I guess I’d have to play with him.

Simms: Well, I didn't have as much talent as Boomer Esiason. So I need help. I would want T.O. on my team because he can score touchdowns. That's what I see. He can help the offense and everything we're trying to do. I believe the coach can handle him and when I played for the

giants and anyone got out of line I'd say, Lawrence Taylor wants to see you. He wants to straighten you out a little bit. I'm one of those who believe it can always work. I would take T.O. on my team.

(On Brett Favre admitting that he heard Phil Simms on the radio and decided to return this year and on whether Favre will break Dan Marino’s record for most career TD passes)

Simms: Well first off, maybe Brett Favre should quit listening to the radio. I'll just say
this, I think he's playing well so far this year. And, I believe he will break Dan Marino’s record.

Dan Marino: And I can't believe Brett Favre doesn't have anything better to do in his life than
to listen to Phil Simms on the radio.


(On Albert Haynesworth)

James Brown: Plenty of talk about Tennessee Titans' Albert Haynesworth, and stepping on the head of Andre Gurode of the Dallas Cowboys. Haynesworth received a record five-game suspension for that infraction. The previous high was two games. How did the league arrive at a five-game suspension?

Casserly: Well, number one it was an act that was unprovoked and very dangerous. It could have injured the player even more. Some people even looked at this as an assault. When I talked to the Commissioner about this, he said number one, player safety is going to be a high priority, and the quality of the game. He wanted to send a message that accidents like this will not be tolerated. I think the players got the message…If they try to trade him, they only have 10 days to do it. I think Bud Adams is going to have to step in and make the decision.

Brown: Will the teams go after Haynesworth?

Casserly: No question.


(On Haynesworth suspension being too many games)

Esiason: It’s not too many we all know that. It may not be enough. It is unprecedented. The fine that is going to be associated with the Tennessee Titans trying to get back a portion of the signing bonus makes it that much more severe. This was right on. I do believe the NFL did the right thing.

(On the Raiders)

Marino: The thing about the Raiders is that they are a mess right now…The Raiders have to get it together somehow. I don’t see it happening all year. They may not win a game.

(More on T.O.)

Esiason holding up Terrell Owens’ new kids book: “Little T Learns to Share” on what his next book should be - How about, “Little T Learns How to Con Billionaire NFL Owners.”…I can’t wait for the book tour…It is amazing to me the world we live in.

(On Miami’s Joey Harrington starting in place of Daunte Culpepper)

Marino: I think it has a lot to do with his (Culpepper’s) shoulder first of all. They need a spark in that offense. When Daunte was in there he was getting sacked a lot. They had turnovers and they weren’t really playing with that urgency. I would look for Joey Harrington to be decisive with the football, not get sacked and show some energy early.

Esiason: If they win, what kind of can of worms are they going to be dealing with down in Miami next week when the decision comes down on whether to play Daunte Culpepper or Joey Harrington? The injury is an easy way for Nick Saban to sit down his ineffective quarterback.

Shannon Sharpe: I think you have a different driver in the same raggedy car. That offense has not changed. You still have those five offensive linemen. You still have those playmakers not making the plays.


On Terrell Owens’ return to Philadelphia for the Cowboys-Eagles game ...
Analyst Michael Irvin: "There’s no way Donovan (McNabb) can allow T.O. to come in and take his city again."

On the reception Owens will get from Eagles fans ...
Analyst Tom Jackson: "My feeling about T.O. is well-documented, but he is undeserving of some of the treatment that he is going to get today."

Analyst Ron Jaworski: "I understand the passion of the fans of Philadelphia. They want to win, and they feel that by intimidating the opponent – particularly the Dallas Cowboys – they can share in that victory. I agree -- it’s a rough place to play. I was booed by 70,000, and I was cheered by 70,000, a lot of times in the same game. That’s the ebb and flow of the passion you have with the Philadelphia fans."

Jackson: "You’re talking about passionate fans. I am talking about (fans) bringing pill bottles to a game, chanting O.D., O.D., O.D."

Analyst Mike Ditka: "The fans never won or lost a football game, and they never will."

On Oakland Raiders wide receiver Randy Moss ...
Jaworski: "Until Randy Moss grows up and assumes responsibility for his own actions – he quits whining all the time and plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played – he doesn’t deserve to have the title of team captain."

Ditka: "This team was delusional when they voted him captain. … It all changed (for Moss) in April 1998 when I coached the Saints and I didn’t draft him because none of this would have ever happened. Believe me. None of this would have been tolerated."


Responding to today's New York Daily News that reported MLB on FOX analyst Lou Piniella will replace Joe Torre as manager of the New York Yankees next season:

"There are reports from the New York Daily News that Joe Torre may be replaced as Yankee manager by Lou Piniella. We spoke today to Lou in San Francisco where he is getting ready to call the ALCS on FOX. Lou said, he hasn't spoken to the Yankees and is 'stunned' at the report."


Jimmy Johnson: “Al Davis can’t attract quality people to the silver and black.”

Howie Long: “If Nick Saban is worth $5 million, what’s Lovie Smith worth?”

Terry Bradshaw: “Marty Schottenheimer has proven he will do everything he can to coach a team to mediocrity.”

Joe Buck: "T.O. cut McNabb's leadership right out from under him"

FOX NFL Insider Jay Glazer reports Colts GM Bill Polian accosted a Jets employee prior to last week’s game

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Jim Williams: CSTV, Navy a perfect fit together

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Oct 7, 2006 5:00 AM (7 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 2 of 4,530 articles

BALTIMORE - College Sports Television is getting respect after being bought by CBS. It has the largest broadband network in all of college sports and is growing both in stature and reputation. One of the prize possessions of the network is broadcasting Navy sports.

Pete Medhurst, a lifelong resident of Anne Arundel County and one the most talented — but least known — broadcasters in the mid-Atlantic region, got a call from CSTV and now does the network’s play-by-play of Navy football. Medhurst, who has been part of the Navy broadcast and the WNAV family since age 18, was ready to grab the microphone and be a longtime member of CSTV.

CSTV executives see Medhurst as a future star, and Navy could not be happier with the exposure. This year, the Midshipmen will have 10 of their 11 games seen both regionally and nationally, which is better than Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech and, yes, even Penn State.

I spoke to Medhurst about getting his big break.

» Medhurst, on his new role with CSTV: “I have been a part of the coverage team for Navy sports at WNAV. But now, to be working with the great producers, directors and technical people working so hard to make every CSTV broadcast look like a network-quality broadcast makes me a better play-by-play man, and I know the Navy fans nationwide enjoy the telecasts.”

» Medhurst on the Navy team: “No one runs the triple-option better than Navy does. Coach Paul Johnson has built a system that causes matchup problems for almost every team that we face. Opposing teams hate to see Navy because you see it coming and you simply can’t stop it. I look forward to seeing how things go with the Air Force, Rutgers and, of course, the Notre Dame games. This team is not going to back down from any team.”

Navy will face Air Force at 2 p.m. Saturday on CSTV. Medhurst will miss this game, but he’ll be back in the booth next week when Navy entertains No. 24 Rutgers.

Medhurst can also be heard doing selected Navy basketball games, as well as all Navy lacrosse games, on WNAV. Let’s hope we also see this gifted local broadcaster on more CSTV events in the coming year.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. You can reach him at jwilliamsexaminer@gmail.com.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Jim Williams: Joe B. skates into another season with Caps

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Oct 6, 2006 5:00 AM (2 hrs 47 mins ago)
Current rank: # 2 of 7,266 articles

WASHINGTON - Hockey fans in the area are thrilled the Capitals’ season has started and you can put the team’s play-by-play man, Joe Beninati, atop that list.

“Joe B.” will call all 81 Caps games, primarily on Comcast SportsNet. He will do at least another 18 nationally-televised NHL games as a member of the Verses broadcast team.

Add in his college game work for CSTV and Beninati will call over 125 games before the puck drops on the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

I spoke to Joe about Caps star Alex Ovechkin as well as the team’s overall outlook as the season gets underway.

Beninati on Ovechkin: “When we go into an opposing team’s locker room before the game, the first thing guys talk about is Alex. They want to know about a goal he has scored or a pass he has made and this is coming from guys who have been in the league for five-to-eight years.

“He is a real rock star in the NHL. But I think the most impressive thing about Alex is how well he gets along with the other guys on the team. He really loves being part of the Caps team and he is not aloof; he is just one of the guys.”

Beninati on the Caps’ season outlook: “The 2006-07 Caps are still a young team in the process of building for a long and successful future. Making the playoffs this season will take very consistent play and in particular they need to play solid defense ahead of the rock of the team, goaltender Olie Kolzig.”

Beninati will again join color analyst Craig Laughlin on CSN to form the best broadcast team in hockey. That duo is complemented by the pre- and post-game show tandem of Al Koken and former Cap Joe Reekie.

And don’t forget: All Caps games can be heard on radio as Steve Kolbe subtly calls the action on WTEM and occasionally WTNT.

Working overtime

» Mark Brunell, Santana Moss and the rest of the Skins weren’t the only ones who put in a little extra effort on Sunday. Washington topped Jacksonville in overtime, 36-30. D.C.-area viewers earned the broadcast a 25.3 rating and 47-percent share, made it the No. 1 show of the week locally. Again.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Cal Headed to the broadcast booth?

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Oct 5, 2006 5:00 AM (1 hr 4 mins ago)
Current rank: # 3 of 5,508 articles

BALTIMORE - Baltimore’s favorite son, Cal Ripken Jr., seems ready to finally enter the broadcasting business as part of the TV team for the new TBS Sunday Game of the Week.

At this point, it is not clear if Ripken would join Chip Caray in the broadcast booth or if he would be part of their pregame studio show. A Turner Sports spokesperson said that all conversations between Ripken and the network are in the early stages. However, according to an industry source, “Cal is Turner’s first choice to be part of their broadcast team and they really want him. He is likely to be part of the studio show and work as a game analyst later. But they are making a strong push for Cal, and word is that he is a very interested in all that they have offered so far.”

Ripken has been doing a weekly radio show on XM, along with his brother, Billy, and he has been the spokesperson for a number of top-name advertisers. The Ripken name is still very bankable nationally. He is seen as a role model for not only baseball, but sports in general.

Starting in 2007, TBS will do a package of 26 of the game of the week on Sunday afternoons, covering the entire season. The station will also be the home for all the divisional playoff games, and it is likely to pick up the rights to a League Championship Series beginning next season. The LCS rights are still up for grabs as baseball finishes the final details of its new $3 billion national deal starting in 2007.

The Braves will be gone from TBS in 2008 and seen on Fox Sports South, an Atlanta-based regional cable network.

Baseball in 2007 will offer two national games every week of the season — TBS will get the afternoon game, and ESPN will keep its prime-time slot. Monday, Wednesday and Friday night games will be seen on the ESPN network family.

FOX, which will be the broadcast home of baseball in 2007, has the option to expand its coverage to 26 weeks, which would give it a Saturday game of the week for the entire season.

Locally, of course, both Orioles and Nationals will be on Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, and fans will be able to see both teams.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. You can reach him at jwilliamsexaminer@gmail.com.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Jim Williams: Kruk, Phillips pick Frank’s replacement

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Oct 3, 2006 4:00 AM (2 hrs 16 mins ago)
Current rank: # 2 of 5,769 articles

WASHINGTON - We know Frank Robinson will not be back as manager of the Washington Nationals in 2007. But who will be the manager?

Well, for commentary on topics such as this, there is no better source than odd couple of Steve Phillips and Jon Kruk from ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight.”

They were more than happy to offer suggestions for Nats President Stan Kasten and General Manager Jim Bowden as to who should replace Frank.

Kruk’s take: “I think that the Nationals have a really good core of great young players like Ryan Zimmerman, Nick Johnson, Felipe Lopez, Austin Kearns and Brian Schneider. So I think you need a young guy who can relate to the players like Joe Girardi, who is likely to be fired by Florida because the Marlins front office seems to have a problem with him for reasons that I simply don’t understand. He has done a great job down there on fundamentals and the guys do not make as many mistakes.

“They love playing for him and he got a great deal out of the young players. He is a Joe Torre guy and a great fit for Washington.”

Phillips has a different take: “I know Stan and Jim and they like to have an established teacher in the dugout. Lou Piniella is someone that both Kasten and Bowden like and he is great with young players. Stan wants a Bobby Cox kind of a guy Lou could be that guy.

“Another guy could be Dusty Baker, who has a history with Kasten. I just think that Stan and Jim will go with an established man who can be a teacher and a calming force as the Nationals builds for the future.”

No matter who the Nationals choose, both Kruk and Phillips agreed the time to act is now; they need to move quickly so the team does not fall behind.

Ripken to TBS

Cal Ripken, Jr. seems ready to finally enter the broadcasting business as part of the TV team for TBS’ new “Sunday Game of the Week” starting in 2007.

At this point it is not clear whether Ripken would join Chip Carey in the broadcast booth or if he would be part of the network’s pre-game studio show.

Play ball

Here is the TV lineup for the MLB playoffs through Friday.


1 p.m.: Oakland at Minnesota, ESPN

4: St. Louis at San Diego, ESPN

8: Detroit at New York Yankees, FOX 5/45


1 p.m.: Oakland at Minnesota, ESPN

4: Los Angeles at New York Mets, ESPN

8: Detroit at New York Yankees, ESPN


4 p.m.: St. Louis at San Diego, ESPN

8: Los Angeles at New York Mets, FOX 5/45


4 p.m.: Minnesota at Oakland, ESPN

8: New York at Detroit, ESPN

*Complete radio coverage on XM Radio and ESPN Radio.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.