A week out from the 2016 Rio Games, trying to set our body clocks to NBC’s delayed broadcasts starting with the Opening Ceremonies, we’ve got these media notes worth posting at this point in real time:
== Two interesting takes on the new documentary “Gleason,” about former New Orleans Saints safety Steve Gleason and his post-career battle with ALS since he retired in 2008, from the Associated Press’ film critic Jake Coyle and another by the AP’s Mark Kennedy, who gives it four stars out of four. The doc made a splash at the recent Sundance Film Festival.
The Landmark (10850 W. Pico, near Westwood Blvd) is the lone L.A. theater showing this, starting Thursday at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. It also has a brief opening in New York, San Francisco, Seattle and New Orleans. The doc opens nationwide on Aug. 12.
== “Last Chance U,” a Netflix streaming six-part series that debuts Friday, focuses on the East Mississippi Community College football team, one that, like many JCs, focuses on Division I players who either burn out or are trying to make it as a possible transfer. All while the program is putting together an impressive unbeaten streak. A SBNation.com review. And one more from The Onion’s AV Club.
== Then there’s “Killer Coach,” a Lifetime Channel movie (Saturday, 8 p.m.), that’s all about … well, it’s taken directly from the website: “Butting heads with her head coach and mother, swimming phenom Samantha Morgan is being pushed to the brink. When her mom brings in new Assistant Coach Bryce to ensure her daughter wins trials, Samantha connects with him instantly. Their athlete/coach relationship suddenly crosses the line, though, when Bryce seduces Samantha. She tries to end things before anyone finds out, but what Samantha doesn’t realize is that Bryce has other ideas—and she may have just put everyone she loves in danger. Keesha Sharp, Javicia Leslie, Tom Maden, Cameron Jebo, Madison Iseman, Zak Henri star.” A spicy clip, if needed.
== ESPN has the MLS All-Star game — an MLS team including the Galaxy’s Giovani Dos Santos and Jelle Van Damme facing the EPL’s Arsenal — from Avaya Stadium in San Jose on Thursday at 5 p.m. with Adrian Healey, Taylor Twellman and Monica Gonzalez. Max Bretos is in the stadium studio with Alejandro Moreno and Kasey Keller doing a pregame show at 4:30 p.m.
== This week in Vin Scully-related news:
= Kings Hall of Fame play-by-play man Bob Miller pays a visit to the Dodger Stadium press box with a special jersey in hand as the video shows. But Scully says he’s afraid to wear it to a game.
Here’s what the Kings tweeted out about the meeting:
— LAKingsPR (@LAKingsPR) July 26, 2016
= As a story by our SCNG Dodgers beatman Bill Plunkett got circulated, Yasiel Puig’s Scully-adorned shoes can be worn again, but there’s a price to pay.
== Fangraphs.com did a ranking of MLB broadcasting teams in June, breaking it down on format, charisma and analysis. The Dodgers’ home TV team — a team of one — tied for the highest ranking with the San Francisco Giants’ TV team of Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow (the Dodgers’ radio team ranked No. 12 and their road TV team, which will eventually be put in place on a regular basis when Scully retires, was ranked No. 38. The Angels’ TV and radio teams were ranked 30th and 51st from the list of 62).
It leads to AwfulAnnouncing.com do its first local MLB broadcaster rating since 2014. Its survey (rating a grade of A-F) of the NL West broadcasters is up until noon Thursday. After the first 1,400-some votes, the Dodgers’ home TV man has an overwhelming A-rating, while the TV road team (Joe Davis, Charley Steiner, Orel Hershiser, Nomar Garciapara) is in the B range.
= We don’t believe what we just read: A Richmond, Va., political writer tries to sum up the Republican National Convention by attributing a quote to Scully. Which Jack Buck actually said, but who’s really paying attention?
= And this post we put up Wednesday from the Dodgers-Rays telecast.
== ESPN, meanwhile, has added prize-winning and -worthy journalist Tom Junod to its magazine and online staff as a new senior writer. Junod last worked at Esquire and is a two-time winner of the National Magazine Award.
“No matter what subject I’m writing about, I’ve always liked to use my stories to ask larger questions that are of interest to me,” said Junod. “Right now, in America 2016, there’s no subject more suited to the asking of provocative, challenging questions than sports. I’m honored to have the opportunity to ask them for ESPN.”
== Waiting word on whether William Rhoden, who wrote his last sports column for the New York Times on Monday after a 35-year run, will next be heading to do work on ESPN’s TheUndefeated.com.
“I took control of the narrative … I simply decided … that this has got to end at some point.” Rhoden wrote. “What I have appreciated more than anything has been the interaction with readers. … I’m grateful to all who over the years have taken time to read, respond and, of course, critique … There are more games to play. Rather than say goodbye, let me simply say: ‘To be continued’.”
Back when Jason Whitlock was heading TheUndefeated.com project, he had illustrations on the wall of his office of journalists he admired most. Rhoden’s portrait was up there.
TheUndefeated.com did announce this week the addition of former NFL cornerback and NFLPA president Domonique Foxworth, plus journliasts LZ Granderson and Mark W. Wright to the staff.
== And there’s more speculation about Tom Jackson’s future with ESPN, and the NFL Sunday coverage.
== And finally:
If only Richard Lewis really was hosting the TBS coverage of the new eSports E-League championship this weekend. While playing Pokemon Go.
Instead of the comedian’s take on what the heck is going on, this Richard Lewis, a British e-Sports journalist (featured in the video above), will be there with analyst Duncan “Thorin” Shields for the semifinals on Friday (7-to-10 p.m.) and the championship on Saturday (1-to-4 p.m.) from the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta as teams face off in the Counter-Strike Global Offensive game. More info: http://www.e-league.com/finals/.
Spoiler alert: A team owned by former Lakers star Rick Fox, called Echo Fox, did not make the Final Four.
From the piece we did on the launch of this made-for-TV league last September, to updated versions of the story headlined “Geeks Playing Video Games Are Coming to Your TV” in the New York Post, the league’s launch in May came with generally positive reviews — enough to where a writer for Forbes.com said other pro sports leagues best pay attention.
Craig Barry, the exec VP and chief content office for Turner Sports, said it Wednesday to a group of reporters on the momentum about the E-League to this point: “We look at the aggregate, the collective metrics of all platforms to gauge the success. Whether that’s the 800 million gross minutes of video consumption across digital and linear platforms, the 18 million video streams on Twitch, 16 million total viewers on TBS or over 47 million social impressions.
“The most important thing has ultimately been to be authentic – we can’t use that word enough – to make sure we have the support of the community and then ultimately produce a higher level of the product that tells a richer narrative. I think the community has rallied around us and supported us and the return has been this great level of engagement. Engagement, as a metric, is probably the most important metric in our industry going forward: Are fans watching, following, sharing, commenting? When we look at the aggregate of the metrics on all platforms, we feel pretty comfortable where we sit right now.”