Weekly media column notes version 12.13.13

mondaywillreturnsignMore vacation time this week. Still, we try to  keep tabs on things without all the heavy keyboard lifting. So among the stuff we’ve decided to keep on the radar:

== ESPN wishes Orel Hershiser “nothing but the best” as he moves into his new broadcasting role with the Dodgers’ fledgling network that will by all promises launch in the spring. We wish ESPN viewers relief in realizing that the “quite often provocative” Curt Schilling will replace him in the “Sunday Night Baseball” booth, becoming the latest analyst to come to the rescue since Joe Morgan was shown the exit in 2008 (following  Steve Phillips, Bobby Valentine and Terry Francona, with John Kruk staying on as a partner with Dan Shulman).
Meanwhile, with Jerry Hairston Jr. retiring this week to also join the Dodgers’ SportsNet L.A. team as we assumed months ago, the Dodgers’ broadcast lineup for 2014 has been assumed to fall into place with new roles by the L.A. Times’ Steve Dilbeck.

== Another wise move for the Dodgers to add Jon Weisman to their roster as the new director of digital and print content, responsible for  creating and producing original digital content for the club’s website, as well as overseeing all of the Dodgers’ publications, including Dodgers Magazine, and integrating them online. Aside from starting his “Dodgers Thoughts” blog and writing the “100 Things Dodgers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die,” he wrote for, among other places, the L.A. Daily News. He was most recently at Variety.

== The reason why the Dodgers are starting their own network is because, well, Prime Ticket/Fox Sports couldn’t keep them on board after a long relationship. With that, the Sports Business Journal decided to name both Fox Sports President and COO Eric Shanks and Fox Networks Group President & COO Randy Freer at the top of its annual  “50 Most Influential People In Sports Business” list. ESPN president John Skipper is third (after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell). Turner  Broadcasting Systems President Dave Levy is No. 8. Melinda Witmer, the Time Warner Cable Exec VP & Chief Video and Content Officer, is No. 25.

== ESPN is also promoting hard the newest documentary — do we have to keep saying it’s part of the “30 for 30” series? — called “Youngstown Boys” on Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett and his former coach, Jim Tressel. It airs after the Heisman Trophy ceremony on Saturday at 6 p.m. “Initially I didn’t want to do anything with the film,” Clarett, who spent some years in jail, said in a conference call this week. “I mean, because you’re not sure if the people involved will be responsible with the information that you give them, seeing as it’s about your life. … But actually seeing everything, it was things that really took place in my life.  It was things that really happened, some of the stuff you’re proud about, some of the stuff you’re not, but it’s the truth of what took place.” Clarett played just one season at Ohio State in 2002, on a 14-0 national title team. He was kicked out of school for 2003, challenged the NFL’s draft eligibility rules, finally went in the 2005 draft, convicted of armed robbery in 2006, arrested again that year on weapons charges, and ended up in a halfway house.

== Why again did ESPN take Jeff Van Gundy off an NBA telecast that involved the Knicks? Don’t recall rumors ever clouding a decision like this before. Van Gundy is back with Mike Breen when ESPN covers tonight’s Lakers’ game in Oklahoma City at 5 p.m.

== HBO’s “Real Sports” does it annual year-ending round table discussion led by Bryant Gumbel with its last episode of the year airing Tuesday at 10 p.m. Mary Carillo, Frank Deford, Jon Frankel, Bernard Goldberg, Andrea Kremer and Soledad O’Brien join in.

== The NFL TV  lineup for Week 15, as well as the details for the lone college game on Saturday.

== The Sports Business Daily takes an excerpt from a “What I’ve Learned” feature Esquire magazine did on Dan Patrick, which is far more encompassing than just his observations about former ESPN broadcast partner Keith Olbermann. “I think Keith and I invented having fun with highlights. We weren’t afraid to get in trouble. … We’d show up and say, “‘Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Cleaver.’ You know, say hello to management. … And then we’d go upstairs and have some fun.”
Also: “Sometimes I thought Keith liked friction. He almost liked it when he was not happy. Comedians and artists, they always seem conflicted. Keith falls in that camp in that there’s that edge, that rawness to him. You almost want him a little angry and irritable.”

== Another SBD find: Ron Shelton’s classic 1988 movie “Bull Durham” has been converted to a musical stage play, first going to Atlanta in Sept., 2014, before going to Broadway, writes MiLB.com and Baseball America.

== A final SBD explanation by John Ourand as to why the NFL decided it would exercise its power to flex out New England-Baltimore game in Week 16 from NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” spot on Dec. 22, giving it to CBS in a 1:25 p.m., window, and slide in Fox’s Chicago-Philadelphia game instead. Both games have playoff implications. SBD sources said the move was “to stay in line with a rule written in its broadcast contracts prohibiting the league from taking too many primetime games from CBS or Fox each season. The rule says that the difference in the number of games taken from CBS and Fox cannot be more than three games. If the NFL did not make a Week 16 move, it would have taken 25 games from CBS and 22 from Fox for its primetime packages this season on NBC, ESPN and NFL Network. That is important because the NFL would not have been able to take a CBS matchup for the season finale, when the ‘SNF” game is the season’s final matchup and should have playoff implications. With the change, 24 primetime games come from CBS and 23 come from Fox, giving the NFL access to the entire slate of Week 17 games from which to choose.” CBS gets an upgrade, but then again, L.A. will likely have to see San Diego-Oakland on that Sunday anyway.

== Always noteworthy links to Ed Sherman’s Chicago-based ShermanReport.com covers odd changes in the Baseball Hall of Fame acknowledgments of broadcaster inductees, and the odd circumstances as to why Roger Angell isn’t a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America as he is named the latest recipient of the Spink Award given to baseball journalists.
And there is some reason to be disappointed in the Hall passing over Bill King for induction into the broadcasters’ wing, with the recognition this time going to Texas’ Eric Nadel.The question put to Oakland A’s radio man Ken Korach, who did a recent bio on King: Why might this vote slighting continue to happen?

== Some U.S. House of Reps have decided to not let the CBS-Time Warner mess happen again. If it means they’re about to finally get something accomplished, God bless ’em.

== In preparation for the Dec. 17 Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame induction in New York, sponsored by the Sports Video Group, check out the feature they’ve done on Al Michaels

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