A Friday Evening Megalink Thing

Let’s give you some linkage on this Friday. Been a busy day. You deserve some links

The Weekend Viewing Picks provide your sports and entertainment TV watching. And now to your links.

National

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand and Mike McCarthy debate whether networks should hire ex-coaches knowing full well they could make news and leave for another job.

ESPN Ombudsman Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute takes the Alleged Worldwide Leader to task for its failure to press the Bernie Fine/Syracuse story and holding a tape for eight years.

Alex Weprin of TVNewser writes that ESPN has hired Bloomberg News sports business reporter Michele Steele.

Over to Gregg Rosenthal of Pro Football Talk who has Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid angry at NFL Network for its portrayal of wide receiver DeSean Jackson after last night’s game with Seattle.

Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News discusses the viewership increase for Thursday Night Football.

Mike writes about the quintet of games that will open the NBA season on Christmas Day.

Dan Fogarty of SportsGrid has an advance clip of a CNN Sunday interview with ESPN Vice President of News Vince Doria speaking about the handling of the Bernie Fine/Syracuse story.

Dan has a very strong promo for the return of the NBA.

Glenn Davis at SportsGrid notes that on the Dan Patrick Show, TNT’s Charles Barkley had some fighting words for notorious sports self-promoter Skip Bayless.

Jason Dachman of Sports Video Group writes that mobile truck operators are happy to have the NBA back in action.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell says while the NBA Lockout has been settled, there’s still a battle that will continue for several years.

Sports Media Watch looks at the NFL ratings for Week 12 for ESPN’s Monday Night Football, NBC’s Sunday Night Football, and NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football.

Ben Koo of Awful Announcing looks at the machinations behind a longer Thursday Night Football schedule.

East and Mid-Atlantic

At the Boston Globe, Chad Finn looks at how Twitter broke the Bobby Valentine-to-the Red Sox story and he handicaps the race to replace Heidi Watney as NESN Red Sox reporter.

Howard Beck at the New York Times notes that current NBA players are returning slowly but surely to NBA TV which has been stuck showing games from the 1980′s and early 1990′s.

The New York Post’s Claire Atkinson reports that the NFL is looking for big bucks from NBC to renew the rights to Sunday Night Football.

The Post’s Phil Mushnick wants the networks to stop showing touchdown celebrations.

Brett Cyrgalis of the Post has five questions for ESPN NBA analyst Tim Legler.

Newsday’s Neil Best bids adieu to WFAN’s Tracy Burgess who left the Boomer and Carton show today.

Neil looks at ESPN being a stepping stone for coaches who are looking for their next job.

Neil has a quickie review of the ESPN Films documentary on former quarterback Todd Marinovich.

And Neil notes that local football players aren’t making news on social networks, but the old fashioned way… on radio.

Bob’s Blitz has pictures of Tracy Burgess’ last day at WFAN.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union says Fox is trying to get the word out that it’s back in the college football business.

Keith Groller of the Allentown (PA) Morning Call says Fall River’s Chris Herren, the subject of ESPN Films’ Unguarded documentary, will be in the local area to talk about his battle with addiction.

Dave Hughes from DCRTV.com has the latest Baltimore/Washington DC sports media news in this week’s Press Box.

In the DC Sports Bog at the Washington Post, Dan Steinberg tells us what happened to local sports radio host John Riggins who’s been missing as of late.

Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner talks with Fox Sports’ Gus Johnson and Charles Davis about calling back-to-back conference championship games on successive nights.

South

David Barron in the Houston Chronicle talks with NFL on Fox sideline analyst Tony Siragusa who will be part of the crew calling the Atlanta-Texans game on Sunday.

Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman talks with ESPN college football analyst Todd Blackledge who will call the annual Bedlam game.

Mel says Gus Johnson, Charles Davis and Tim Brewster are pulling double duty this weekend.

Midwest

John Kiesewetter in the Cincinnati Enquirer notes that Time Warner Cable will be busy with local high school football this weekend.

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press writes that the Detroit Lions have received more national media attention whether it’s deserved or not.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Bob Wolfley has Fox’s Charles Davis talking about Wisconsin running Montee Ball’s Heisman Trophy chances.

Bob says NASCAR races will be airing on a different Milwaukee radio station next year.

In Crain’s Chicago Business, Ed Sherman has his weekly winners and losers.

Paul Christian of the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin says it’s going to be a busy weekend for Gus Johnson, Charles Davis and Tim Brewster on Fox.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says St. Louis University may be a rising college basketball program, but it hasn’t translated to more national exposure.

West

John Maffei of the North County Times says local Cox subscribers will be able to see Time Warner Cable’s coverage of the state high school football championships this weekend.

Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star says the Pac-12 Championship won’t be the showcase that Fox had in mind.

Jim says the SEC Championship will have BCS National Championship Game implications like it always does.

Jim has his weekend viewing picks.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says Fox is doing its best to sell a less than stellar Pac-12 Championship Game matchup.

Tom has what didn’t make his column in his blog.

Tom says the new Los Angeles Dodgers radio flagship will hire former manager Kevin Kennedy as a postgame host.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail gleefully points out that Don Cherry’s Coach’s Corner segment on Hockey Night in Canada is drawing lower ratings than in the past.

And that’s going to do it for our linkage tonight.

Rumored Replacements For Heidi Watney at NESN

If NESN had any sense of PR, they’d be playing up the hunt for Heidi Watney’s replacement like one of their Red Sox-related reality shows.

I get constant questions about it, and looking at Chad Finn’s Twitter stream, he’s getting asked about it all the time as well. He also devoted some of his Friday media column to the subject, with info on the first three candidates below.

Here are three candidates that have been rumored (though it appears now that Sullivan is no longer in the running):

Hawksworth, the sister of Dodgers pitcher Blake Hawksworth (which will get her some inside MLB info right there) has a history in Boston, having spent three years at FOX 25. Chad Finn thinks she is the favorite for the job.  Of the candidates here, she’d be my pick as well.

I’m actually not sure Royle is even an official candidate. (Apparently she is, Finn says she interviewed today.) If we’re talking actual baseball reporting experience and history, she’s clearly the best for the job. However, that’s likely not all that NESN is looking for in this hire. She’s been doing weekend shows on WEEI, raising her profile in the local market. She’s from here, grew up following the local teams and she wants to come home.

Ken Fang reported this morning that Sullivan is no longer a candidate.

On November 19th, The Big Lead said that Sullivan was the top candidate to replace Watney. Her website gives her job history, which includes work with CBS Sports Network, Versus, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, Big Ten Network and ESPN.

Fang believes that Courtney Fallon should be a candidate, though I haven’t heard her mentioned anywhere:

 

Watney Officially Out At NESN, Sox Still Searching…

While Sean McAdam and Chad Finn reported yesterday that Heidi Watney would not be returning to NESN, the network officially confirmed the news this morning by issuing a statement from NESN President and CEO Sean McGrail:

“Heidi Watney will not be returning to NESN next year. She is pursuing other opportunities that would bring her closer to her family on the west coast. We respect Heidi’s decision and would like to thank her for everything that she has brought to NESN over the past 4 years and wish her the very best.”

Watney was a popular topic this morning, as several outlets wrote about her departure.

Heidi Watney heads back to California – The Boston Herald tells of a humiliating encounter with a rude Bill Murray a few years back.

NESN reporter latest to leave Fenway – Mike Fine has Watney as the latest in a long line of exits from Fenway Park this offseason.

Heidi Watney trading Red Sox beat to cover Los Angeles Lakers – Vernon Hill reports for the Springfield Republican.

Heidi Watney Leaving NESN to Head West & Cover the Lakers - Ryan Durling has Watney urging followers just the other day not to jump to conclusions.

Red Sox reporter Heidi Watney is leaving NESN – Brian Rabuffetti on Examiner.com cites rumors of Watney’s personal life.

Say it ain’t so! Heidi Watney leaves Red Sox for Lakers gig – The Yahoo! Sports baseball blog notes that Watney worked hard to improve her game over her four seasons here.

The Red Sox may have lost out on their top managerial candidate, as Dale Sveum has emerged as the favorite to be hired by Theo Epstein to manage the Cubs in 2012.

Cubs want Dale Sveum; Sox search goes on – Scott Lauber has the Cubs offering Sveum the job. Sean McAdam says that it’s likely that Sveum will take the job. In the Globe, Peter Abraham says that this may force the Red Sox to re-open their search for a new manager.

Sox hoping slow, steady wins race – Michael Silverman notes that in the three weeks since Ben Cherington took over, the Red Sox have yet to make a single significant decision.

Sox want the goods from Cubs – Nick Cafardo reports that the Red Sox are still insisting on “significant” compensation from the Cubs for Epstein.

Sox could bring on Minaya to baseball ops staff – Maureen Mullen reports that the Sox might be considering the former Mets GM for a front office role here.

Down in Foxborough yesterday, Rob Ninkovich was one of the centers of attention, following his two pick night (one of which, Steve Burton noted after the game, was an interception!) in New York on Sunday.

Handy man – Julian Benbow as a look at Ninkovich once again proving himself on a national stage. Mark Farinella wonders if Ninkovich, in addition to taking his number #50, might fill Mike Vrabel’s old role as a goal-line tight end at some point. Rich Garven has the linebacker rising up with the rest of the no-name defense. Jeff Howe looks at how far Ninkovich has come from being an overwhelmed Saints rookie in 2006. Paul Kenyon has Ninkovich becoming an overnight sensation – in six years.

Andre Carter, Brian Waters make Bill look good – Following the theme of my PD column yesterday, Karen Guregian notes that not every move this year has been a Haynesworth-sized disaster.

Tyler Palko, not Matt Cassel, next up on Pats’ slate – Ian Rapoport has Cassel’s homecoming getting canceled because of injury.

Cannon practices for first time as member of Pats’ active roster – Glen Farley’s notebook has the fifth round pick going through his first practice. The Herald notebook has more on Cannon. The Patriots Journal has Bill Belichick talking about Tyler Palko. The Globe notebook from Julian Benbow and Monique Walker has more on Chiefs QB.

With no end in sight to the NBA lockout, we’ve got a pair of Celtics writers doing features on the Bruins this morning:

Peter’s Principles: How the Bruins’ architect built the Cup champions – Paul Flannery has a feature on the Bruins GM.

Chara: The journey, sacrifices, and Stanley Cup – Jessica Camerato has a feature on the Bruins captain.

Bruins putting it all together in win streak – Joe Haggerty has the Bruins hitting their stride.

Cranking Out The Friday Megalinks

Let’s do some Friday linkage for you.

MLB Postseason starts up really in earnest with four games on Saturday. College Football in full swing and the NFL completes its first month of games on Sunday. Your Weekend Viewing Picks have everything you need to know in sports and primetime programming.

To the linkage.

National

Michael Hiestand of USA Today writes that Fox Sports’ NASCAR coverage will be known for having the Brothers Waltrip next year.

Mike Reynolds of Broadcasting & Cable writes that Turner Sports will be all over the League Division Series for the first four days of the MLB Postseason.

Adweek has a graphic showing how much time we spend on watching football.

Bill Cromwell of Media Life Magazine writes that TBS and Fox should see good ratings for the MLB Postseason based on an exciting final night of the season on Wednesday.

Nelli Andreeva of Deadline reports that ESPN is developing an ABC sitcom based on Boston sports fans. That’s going to go over well.

Bill Hofheimer in ESPN’s Front Row blog talks with ESPN’s Jon Gruden about calling a “home game” this Monday.

Jim Romanesko of the Poynter Institute looks at the despicable reaction of Buffalo Bills fans to a column written by a female sportswriter at the Albany Times Union.

Bob’s Blitz has video of WFAN’s Mike Francesa attempting to add on the air.

Brandon Costa at Sports Video Group looks at ESPN placing microphones on various players and coaches during the WNBA Finals.

Brandon chronicles a wild Wednesday night at MLB Network.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell looks at the advantages or lack of thereof having a bigger payroll in MLB.

The Sports Biz Miss Kristi Dosh tells us that despite not making the playoffs, the Atlanta Braves and the Boston Red Sox still get a share of the postseason pie.

The Sports Media Watch looks at how the tumultuous Final Night of the MLB season led to a ratings bonanza for ESPN.

SMW says for the MLB season, ESPN’s ratings went up slightly.

SMW says TBS’ ratings for the MLB regular season were flat compared with last year.

Joe Favorito looks at how Dick Vitale has made himself into a viable brand.

The Daly Planet delves into the changes with the Fox Sports NASCAR crew.

The Influencer Economy has a look into Blogs with Balls 4 and the future of sports media.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn at the Boston Globe (this is the last day I’ll be able to link to Chad as his columns go behind the dreaded paywall starting October 1) writes about NESN viewers unable to see analyst Dennis Eckersley on the last day of the season.

Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette writes that Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy shares some blame in the Red Sox collapse.

Newsday’s Neil Best talks with TBS’ Brian Anderson who steps into the network’s lead spot for the MLB Postseason.

Justin Terranova of the New York Post has five questions for NBC Football Night in America analyst Rodney Harrison.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union writes that a new local sports talk show host isn’t spending any time discussing any local topics.

Ken McMillan at the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record writes about local radio stations picking up MLB League Division Series games.

To the New Jersey Newsroom where Evan Weiner says the college conference shuffle is making fans roll their collective eyes.

In the Allentown (PA) Morning Call, Keith Groller writes that MLB will have a hard act to follow in the postseason after a compelling final night of the regular season.

Laura Nachman says Comcast SportsNet will be all over the Phillies in the MLB Postseason.

In Press Box, Dave Hughes of DCRTV.com writes that sections of the Baltimore Sun’s sports website will go behind the dreaded paywall.

South

The Florida Times-Union reports that the Jacksonville Jaguars have avoided a blackout for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.

To the St. Petersburg Times where Tom Jones says Sun Sports got big ratings for the Tampa Bay Rays’ march to the playoffs this week.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle writes that MLB Network was all over the twists and turns from the final night of the regular season.

Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman has his news and notes.

Midewest

John Kieswetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that a local CBS affiliate will provide halftime highlights during Bengals games at Paul Brown Stadium.

John writes that Saturday’s Cincinnati-Miami game will be seen live online and on local TV on tape delay.

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press talks with Tigers TV voice Mario Impemba about the team’s chances of advancing in the MLB Postseason.

Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel speaks with Brewers TV voice Brian Anderson about getting the top gig for TBS for the playoffs.

Bob has a couple of quotes from CBS’ Phil Simms about Sunday’s Denver-Green Bay game.

To Crain’s Chicago Business and Ed Sherman who writes that Nebraska’s addition to the conference can only help the Big Ten Network.

Ed has his winners and losers in sports media and business.

In the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin, Paul Christian talks with former Minnesota coach Tim Brewster who’s now patrolling the sidelines for Gus Johnson and FX’s college football game of the week.

Jennifer Mann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals TV voice Dan McLaughlin has been arrested on DUI charges for the second time this year.

Dan Caesar of the Post-Dispatch writes that Fox Sports Midwest has suspended McLaughlin indefinitely.

West

Bill Center in the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres expect to bring back its TV booth, but no word on the team’s radio announcers or new TV contract for next season.

The Union-Tribune says Sunday’s Chargers game against the Dolphins will be blacked out.

John Maffei of the North County Times says the Padres hope to have a new TV deal (with Fox Sports Net) in place by the New Year.

At the Ventura County Star, Jim Carlisle writes that Wednesday’s MLB season finale was Must See TV.

Jim says despite being on a losing team, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp is in the center of the MVP debate among TV analysts.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News looks at Jenn Brown’s endorsement deal with GNC.

Tom says Bill Macdonald’s full-time days with Fox Sports West are over.

Tom looks at TBS’ coverage of the MLB Postseason.

Tom wonders why the NFL pulled back the 1st half Thursday Night Football package from the table.

Canada

In the Toronto Globe and Mail, Bruce Dowbiggin says MLB got a shot in the arm on Wednesday.

The Canadian Sports Media Blog writes that TSN has locked up curling on TV in Canada through the end of the decade.

And that’s going to do it. I may have a few more links later tonight.

A Pre-Hurricane Friday Megalinks Edition

As we batten down the hatches for the impending hit of Hurricane Irene this weekend, I hope you remain safe and sound throughout Sunday.

For those of you looking for a diversion from Hurricane Irene coverage either on the Weather Channel or local news, I do have the sports and entertainment listings in the Weekend Viewing Picks. If you’re in the projected path or far from it, this will help you find the program you’re looking for.

Let’s get to the links.

National

Bob Velin of USA Today says Floyd “Money” Mayweather is ready for his HBO close-up again as he takes part in another edition of 24/7.

USA Today’s Mike McCarthy says ESPN golf analyst Paul Azinger took a jab at President Obama for playing golf on his vacation while people are out of work.

Sen Gregory of Time says ESPN The Magazine’s story making Michael Vick a white man was wrong on several accounts.

Tim Baysinger of Broadcasting & Cable notes that Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic has secured the rights to ACC sports including football and basketball.

Multichannel News says soccer-centric Gol TV will air the start of Spain’s La Liga following the resolution of a player’s strike this week.

Mike Reynolds of Multichannel writes that MSG Varsity will produce local editions of its High School SportsDesk program.

Dan Fogarty at SportsGrid reports that sports media site SportsNewser will be closing up shop at the end of this month. Sad to see. The site was a very good resource for Fang’s Bites. Marcus Vanderberg and Cam Martin from SportsNewser have become good friends and I hope they land on their feet soon.

Wayne Friedman at MediaPost says the New York Jets have become an innovator in their use of social media.

Joe Favorito looks at how sports marketing powerhouse IMG redefined itself into a marketer for college sports.

John Daly in his Daly Planet blog says Hurricane Irene coverage on several local ABC stations may put a crimp for fans who want to watch NASCAR on Saturday.

The Big Lead takes a look at ESPN’s plans for its annual all-day and all-night College Basketball Marathon coming in November.

Brady Green at Awful Announcing notes that Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis did a stab at play-by-play in last night’s game against the DC NFL team.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe notes that fantasy sports can no longer be ignored by the mainstream media and he adds that Friend of Fang’s Bites Jen Royle is a candidate to fill one of three potential vacancies at NESN.

At SBNation Boston, Bruce wonders which reporter is apologizing for Patriots defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth.

Newsday’s Neil Best says Entourage tapped New York Giants owner Steve Tisch for an appearance on the HBO show.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post is back from a brief vacation to hate everything in his path.

Justin Terranova of the Post speaks with CBS’ Phil Simms and Boomer Esiason on what they expect from New York’s NFL quarterbacks this season.

Justin has five questions for ESPN2 tennis analyst Brad Gilbert on the U.S. Open.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union says due to Hurricane Irene, the Jets and Giants have moved the starting time of their NFL exhibition game to Saturday afternoon.

Pete says Marv Albert is happy to be calling NFL games on television once again.

Ken Schott of the Schenectady Gazette says Capital Region fans will have two opportunities to see the Jets-Giants on Saturday.

Keith Groller of the Allentown (PA) Morning Call writes about a former area high school athlete who’s doing overnight updates for WFAN in New York.

Richard Rys of Philadelphia Magazine blasts ESPN for airing every game ofthe Little League World Series.

Childs Walker, Jeff Zrebiec and Justin Fenton of the Baltimore Sun says Mike Flanagan’s friends including MASN’s Gary Thorne are still coming to grips with his death.

David Zurawik of the Sun writes that WBAL-TV is standing by its report as to why Flanagan took his own life.

Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog notes that an original Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic personality said goodbye last night.

Dan has the debut Geico spot featuring DC NFL Team linebacker Brian Orakpo.

Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner says Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic will split its feed to air pregame shows of both the Baltimore Ravens and DC NFL Team during weeks when they’re programmed simultaneously.

South

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that while Verizon FiOS signed to carry the Longhorn Network, it won’t have tonight’s launch on its system.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle says the Longhorn Network is having less than an auspicious launch.

David says despite the low viewership numbers at the start, the Longhorn Network’s staff remains upbeat about its future.

Gary Dinges of the Austin American-Statesman says most Texas fans will probably miss tonight’s Longhorn Network launch barring some miracle cable and satellite pickups.

Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman also writes about the Longhorn Network’s launch.

Midwest

John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer says Time Warner Cable will air a slate of high school football games this fall.

Kyle Neddenriep of the Indianapolis Star notes that ESPN is in town to air a couple of high school football games this weekend.

Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says NBC is going all out for the NFL regular season opener between the Saints and the Packers.

Ed Sherman has his winners and losers in sports business and media.

Paul Christan at the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin says don’t confuse NFL Network with DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket package.

Paul says the Minnesota Vikings without Brett Favre this season won’t be primetime darlings this season.

West

Scott D. Pierce of the Salt Lake Tribune says don’t confuse BYUtv with the Longhorn Network.

John Maffei of the North County Times says if the NFL wants a Los Angeles franchise, it shouldn’t poach the Chargers.

T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times tells fans to stay home and watch the games on TV.

T.J. can’t believe the Dodgers are asking fans to evaluate Vin Scully’s performance as a broadcaster.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News writes that Fox Sports West will air one high school football game a week and stream a whole host of them online.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail says buyer beware when it comes to Twitter.

That will do it for today. Be safe wherever you are this weekend.

The Friday Night Megalinks

I’ve been to Newton, MA and back, South Kingstown, RI and back and all over my hometown of North Kingstown, RI and all of this today. It’s time to do the megalinks and get them all done in one sitting.

There’s the Weekend Viewing Picks for your sports and entertainment programming.

National

Sports Business Daily goes over the UFC/Fox agreement that will put four live MMA events on network TV and plenty of ancillary programming on Fox’s cable networks.

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand writes that Fox Sports Media Group El Presidente Por Vida David Hill has done an about face on airing Mixed Martial Arts.

Sergio Non of USA Today writes that UFC will revamp its shows when they move from Spike and Versus to Fox’s networks.

Sergio has those who will take part in the first UFC on Fox card in November.

Eric Deggans of the St. Petersburg Times writes in the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center that the success of the UFC on Fox all depends on whether the sport can have a breakout star.

Dave Meltzer at Yahoo! says UFC President Dana White couldn’t be happier in making this deal with Fox.

Also from Yahoo!, Kevin Iole says it will be the fighters who will benefit the most from the new UFC on Fox contract.

Cam Martin of SportsNewser has Spike announcing that the new season of UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter will be the last on its airwaves, naturally.

Anthony Crupi of Adweek looks into the particulars of the UFC on Fox deal.

Bill Cromwell of Media Life Magazine writes that the Fox contract gives UFC some instant mainstream credibility.

There will be more UFC on Fox stories sprinkled throughout the megalinks. Let’s move on to other stories now.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Tim Goodman wonders if Showtime’s “The Franchise” is bringing down the San Francisco Giants this season.

Georg Szalai of the Reporter reports that Comcast has withdrawn a lawsuit against DirecTV over an ad campaign for NFL Sunday Ticket.

David Goetzl of MediaPost notes that DirecTV plans to expand its fantasy offerings for NFL Sunday Ticket.

Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News looks at Versus/NBC Sports Network’s new exclusive NHL night in the first year of its new 10 year contract with the league.

Andrew McMains of Adweek looks at a new inspiring web video produced for the US Olympic Committee.

All Access says the ESPN Radio affiliate in Minnesota’s Twin Cities has chosen the hosts for its midday show.

Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo’s Puck Daddy explores which teams won and lost in the new NHL TV schedules.

Cam Martin of SportsNewser writes that former voice of the North Carolina Tar Heels, Woody Durham, will be honored for his contributions to college football.

The Big Lead wonders if Jay Bilas is the most respected voice at ESPN.

Timothy Burke of SportsGrid investigates how former 2 Live Crew leader Luther Campbell managed to appear to appear on the Dan Patrick Show and the Colin Cowherd Show at the same time.

And Tim presents the Atlanta Braves’ Shake Cam and how it can make fans a bit too excited.

Sports Media Watch says the U-20 World Cup is scoring for Galavision.

Matt Yoder at Awful Announcing has a look at some interesting sports media typos.

Matt shows us how the Baseball Tonight crew had trouble demonstrating its new touchscreen.

Joe Favorito looks at what’s new with professional lacrosse.

Patrick Stafford of Smart Company in Australia speaks with the owner of Footytips.com about how he sold his site to ESPN.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe says the limited classic programming on NBA TV during the current league lockout can only take the channel so far.

Sox & Dawgs has the video of NESN’s Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy wearing chicken hats in the booth.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times writes on how regional sports networks have increasing power and money to be a game changer for some professional teams.

Richard looks at the UFC on Fox deal that puts Mixed Martial Arts into the mainstream.

Dan Levin from the Times has a good story on how some athletes in Communist China are trying to buck their archaic system.

Mark DeCambre of the New York Post notes that the new Meadowlands Stadium now will have a sponsor when the new NFL season begins.

Justin Terranova in the Post looks at how Fordham University was a training ground for several NYC announcers.

Justin has five questions for SNY Jets analyst Anthony Becht.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union writes about Fox signing UFC for seven years.

Pete says local sports anchor Andrew Catalon’s call of tonight’s Browns-Lions game will be seen on NFL Network this weekend.

Ken Schott from the Schenectady Gazette says a local radio station will air a full high school football schedule.

Ken says the NBC Sports Group is increasing its commitment to horse racing this fall.

And Ken writes that a new local sports radio talk show will be debuting soon.

To Ken McMillan of the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record who says the New York Rangers will be featured extensively on the national NHL TV schedules.

Crossing Broad has the audio of Philadelphia’s sports radio station WIP announcement that it’s taking over WYSP’s FM frequency killing off a heritage rock station.

Dan Gross of the Philadelphia Daily News says ‘YSP staffers were melancholy about CBS Radio’s announcement killing off the station.

Jeff Wolfe of the Delaware County Times writes about WIP’s displacement of WYSP just as the rocker’s ratings were increasing.

Mike White in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says two local high school games hit the ESPN family of networks this fall.

Shelly Anderson of the Post-Gazette says the Penguins TV announcing crew will return for another season.

In the Baltimore Sun, David Zurawik explains where Ravens fans can find the team on TV and radio.

Dave Hughes of DCRTV.com writes in Press Box that the Ravens did extremely well in the ratings in both Baltimore and Washington, DC in their NFL preseason opener.

Jim Williams from the Washington Examiner talks with DC NFL Team radio voice Larry Michael.

And Jim writes that the Washington Capitals will have plenty of appearances on NBC/Versus (NBC Sports Network).

Mike Madden in the Washington City Paper says the local sports anchor is becoming a thing of the past.

Keith Loria of the Fairfax (VA) Times says native Lindsay Czarniak is about to make her debut on ESPN.

South

The Charleston (WV) Gazette notes that Root Sports Pittsburgh will carry some West Virginia and Marshall programming.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that Bob Griese will be joining the Miami Dolphins radio broadcast team replacing the late Jim Mandich.

Andy Kent of the Miami Dolphins website has Griese’s thoughts about joining the broadcast team and also sharing thoughts about Mandich.

Tom Jones of the St. Petersburg Times has some thoughts on the UFC/Fox deal, the Little League World Series on TV and CBS’ production of the PGA Championship.

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel says Yahoo! Sports does a better job of investigating college sports than the NCAA.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle notes that Saturday’s US National Gymnastics championships get a network primetime slot.

Mike Finger and Brent Zwerneman of the San Antonio Express-News says the Longhorn Network hasn’t given up on airing high school football games in one form or another.

The Daily Oklahoman’s Mel Bracht looks at UFC getting a big payday from Fox.

Midwest

John Kiesewetter in the Cincinnati Enquirer talks with NBC’s Cris Collinsworth who’s going into his third season as Sunday Night Football analyst.

George M. Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal now knows why DirecTV was so willing to give him a free subscription to NFL Sunday Ticket after learning that the service will be offered to Sony Playstation 3 owners.

The Grand Rapids (MI) Press’ Michael Zuidema notes that a Big Ten Network analyst feels Nebraska is a perfect fit for the conference.

Bob Wolfley at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is amazed at ESPN’s ever-expanding army of NFL analysts and mountain of NFL programming.

Ed Sherman from Crain’s Chicago Business has his winners and losers in sports business and media.

Scott Dochterman in the Iowa City Gazette says NFL Network has picked up Mediacom for cable subscribers in the Hawkeye State.

West

Scott D. Pierce of the Salt Lake Tribune says it’s not known which network will air the October 15th contest between BYU and Oregon State.

Dick Harmon of the Deseret (UT) News speaks with BYUtv’s Executive Director in a lengthy interview. Part I of which is here. Read Part II here.

Larry Bohannan at the Desert (CA) Sun says there’s evidence of not much live golf shown in a PGA Tour telecast.

John Maffei of the North County Times weighs the pros and cons of airing the Little League World Series.

In the Ventura County Star, Jim Carlisle looks at the contrasting opinions that John and Patrick McEnroe had on the state of American tennis on HBO’s Real Sports this week.

Jim explores the UFC on Fox deal.

Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times says Fox paid a pretty penny to get UFC into the fold.

Meg James of the Times also writes about the UFC on Fox deal.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says when it came down to it, Fox didn’t have much of a choice but to sign UFC.

Tom says one sidebar to the UFC on Fox deal is the fact that Fox Sports Radio will also air MMA events.

Tom writes that former Dodgers radio voice Ross Porter has found his latest gig, calling high school sports online.

Canada

The Toronto Globe and Mail’s Bruce Dowbiggin feels TSN Radio isn’t getting the job done.

The Winnipeg Free Press notes that the Jets will get 22 games aired on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada.

And the number of links today are hearken back to the first two years of this blog. Lots of links. That’s it.

Jade McCarthy Is Leaving NESN

Chad Finn at the Boston Globe reports tonight that NESN Daily host Jade McCarthy has given her two week notice and will leave the network at the end of the month. According to Finn’s story, McCarthy’s husband has found a job in Philadelphia and they will move soon. Finn writes that McCarthy is seven months pregnant and NESN has been searching for a replacement for her maternity leave, but now that becomes a search for a new permanent host.

McCarthy had come to NESN in January 2010 after working at WCAU in Philadelphia. She originally anchored “SportsDesk” and then co-hosted the revamped show, “NESN Daily” with Uri Berenguer, but the chemistry did not work and he was let go shortly after the debut. McCarthy has been anchoring solo ever since.

NESN has issued the following statement from McCarthy:

“My husband was recently offered a new professional opportunity in the Philadelphia area. At the same time, we are expecting our first child this fall. It was a difficult decision, but we have decided it is best for our family to move back to Philadelphia. I want to thank all the people who gave me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work in my home town of Boston during such an exciting time. I will miss working with all the great people at NESN.”

NESN says it will begin searching for her replacement immediately.

In the interim, it’s expected that weekend NESN Daily anchor Randy Scott will be the host of the show.

McCarthy is the second departure from NESN that was announced today. On the Toucher & Rich Show on 98.5 The Sports Hub, Bruins studio host Kathryn Tappen made it official that she’s going to the NHL Network in the fall.

2011 Approval Ratings – Don Orsillo

Don Orsillo is the Red Sox play-by-play announcer for NESN.

Growing up in Madison NH, Orsillo dreamed of being a broadcaster for the Red Sox. In 2001 that dream became reality as he became the NESN Red Sox voice. His very first game that season was a no-hitter by Hideo Nomo. Since 2005, Orsillo has been calling all local Red Sox TV broadcasts. In 2007 he began working during the postseason for TBS, and the Boston Globe reported earlier this year that the network has tried to recruit Orsillo on a full-time basis.

Orsillo got his start as a baseball play-by-play announcer for the Pittsfield Mets of the New York-Penn League during the 1991 and 1992 seasons. In 1993, Orsillo moved to Binghamton, N.Y., to do play-by-play radio and television for the Binghamton Mets of the Double-A Eastern League. While with Binghamton, he had the opportunity to serve as a commentator for the nationally syndicated 1994 Double-A All-Star Game.

During the 1991-1996 hockey seasons, Orsillo was the play-by-play radio and television voice for the Springfield Indians/Falcons. He hosted “Inside the Indians,” a weekly live television talk show and was the analyst for the 1994 AHL All-Star Game.

During the 2009 season, analyst Jerry Remy was sidelined for much of the season while battling cancer, and Orsillo had to adjust to numerous broadcast partners throughout the season, the Providence Journal in a feature on Orsillo from May lists out 23 different analysts who worked with Orsillo during that season.  The experience left many viewers with a new-found respect for Orsillo and his abilities as a broadcaster.

Don Orsillo 2011 Approval Ratings
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2011 Approval Ratings – Tom Caron

Tom Caron serves as Red Sox studio host for NESN.

The Lewiston, Maine native was a journalism major at  Saint Michael’s College in Vermont. He began his television career as an intern during his junior year in college at WPTZ-TV in Plattsburgh, NY, where he reported on the  Montreal Canadiens and Montreal Expos. Jobs at WNNE-TV in Hanover, NH, and WGME-TV in Portland, ME followed. He joined WPXT-TV in Portland in 1993, and was the radio play-by-play man for the AHL Portland Pirates.

In 1995 he joined NESN as co-host of “Front Row,” a nightly sports magazine program. (Kristen Mastroianni was his co-host.) He also hosted the Bruins telecasts from 1997 to 2004, and was a Red Sox reporter during games. After two years on the road with the team, Caron became the studio host for the Red Sox telecasts.

Caron has also done play-by-play for NESN’s Hockey East telecasts. Caron is a frequent fill-in on WEEI. He writes a weekly sports column for the Portland Press Herald.

Tom Caron 2011 Approval Ratings
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2011 Approval Ratings – Heidi Watney

Heidi Watney is the Red Sox reporter for NESN.

Watney joined NESN in 2008, replacing the popular Tina Cervasio. She was born and raised in Fresno, California, and graduated with honors from the University of San Diego on an academic scholarship.

Prior to coming to NESN she was a sports anchor for Fox affiliate KMPH-TV in Fresno. She also did some time as a sports radio host for 1430 ESPN Radio KFIG in Fresno.

Her father is the golf coach at Fresno State, and her cousin Nick Watney is on the PGA tour. She was the third runner-up in the 2003 Miss California pageant

Heidi Watney 2011 Approval Ratings
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