Weekly sports media column 04.17.15 — It’s win, place and ‘Showtime’ for Jim Rome’s premium cable TV venture

Jim Rome talks to Masters champion Jordan Speith on a satellite feed from the Westlake Villages Studios on Monday during a taping of "Jim Rome on Showtime." (Photo by Patrick Wymore/Showtime)

Jim Rome talks to Masters champion Jordan Spieth on a satellite feed from the Westlake Villages Studios on Monday during a taping of “Jim Rome on Showtime.” (Photo by Patrick Wymore/Showtime)

What’s has been posted for Sunday’s column:

Does Jim Rome own the best racehorse in the world right now?

Photo by Patrick Wymore/Showtime

Photo by Patrick Wymore/Showtime

That’s a question someone at Forbes felt was necessary to pose as the syndicated sports radio talk show host allows Shared Belief, winner in 10 of 11 races including the recent Santa Anita Handicap, goes off Saturday night as the 2-5 favorite on the strangely con-
figured nine-
furlong track in West Virginia for the Charles Town Classic.

Where Rome has also cashed in at the betting window is with his “Jim Rome on Showtime” series, into its fourth season with a six-week run through May 6 — or just after the Kentucky Derby.

We sat in on last Monday’s taping at the Westlake Village Studios and then talked to Rome in Orange County after the finished product aired on Wednesday night about how this studio-audience driven media platform may be the most ambitious yet rewarding job of his career.

Aside from hoisting trophies in the winners’ circle.

FYI: If you’re looking for tickets to future tapings, check this link.

What’s worth dropping in on you at this point:

== Our Time Warner Cable install takes place later this afternoon (as we mentioned last week), all for the Dodgers’ SportsNet L.A. addition. Colleague Dennis McCarthy is doing the same and explains why — it’s Vin Scully.

== And if you’re finding more frustration over all this, maybe take a chill pill with Ice Cube, although he has some plans to get his Dodger channel as he told Conan O’Brien this week. You want to mess with an NWA, Magic Johnson?

== A take by the Sports Fans Coalition chairman David Goodfriend on HuffingtonPost.com on why the TWC-Comcast merger would hurt sports fans.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers, a former ABC NBA analyst, with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. (Getty Images)

Clippers coach Doc Rivers, a former ABC NBA analyst, with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. (Getty Images)

== TNT has Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller and Jaime Maggio as the crew covering the Clippers’ Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference quarterfinals against San Antonio from Staples Center (7:30 p.m. tipoff, following Marv Albert-Chris Webber on Brooklyn-Atlanta Game 1 at 2:30 p.m. and Kevin Calabro-Brent Barry doing Portland-Memphis Game 1 at 5 p.m.). The Harlan-Miller-Maggio crew also do Game 2 for TNT on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
ESPN will have Game 3 of the Clippers-Spurs series on Friday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m. and ABC has Game 4 on Sunday, April 26 at 12:30 p.m.
In addition to the TNT/ESPN coverage, Prime Ticket has regional coverage with Ralph Lawler and Mike Smith on the call. The only time it’s exclusive to the network is when it’s on ABC. Prime Ticket will also have a 30-minute pregame with hosts Mark Rogondino and Kyle Montgomery paired with analysts Don MacLean and Corey Maggette.
ESPN/ABC has four games on Saturday, starting with Game 1 of Washington-Toronto (9:30 a.m., Mark Jones-Doris Burke). The Golden State-New Orleans opener goes to Channel 7 at 12:30 p.m. with Mike Breen-Jeff Van Gundy-Mark Jackson, ESPN then takes Milwaukee-Chicago (4 p.m., Dave Pasch-Jon Barry) and Dallas-Houston (6:30 p.m., Mike Tirico-Hubie Brown).
The Breen-Van Gundy-Jackson team have to go to Cleveland to Sunday’s Game 1 of the Cavs hosting Boston (noon, Channel 7).

20140411134126Toyota_Grand_Prix_Long_Beach== Since NBC Sports has a bulk of the IndyCar series — except for the marque Indianapolis 500 — it’s not a far reach for the network to treat this weekend’s Long Beach Grand Prix as their showcase event for the season.
Rich O’Connor, the coordinating producer of motorsports for NBC Sports and NBCSN, has 34 cameras, six in-car cameras and a helicopter to necessitate the coverage of Sunday’s race (1:30 p.m., NBCSN).
Some day, maybe drone cameras to get more into the nooks and crannies of how the road course lays out?
“That’s more so on the horizon before we can figure out how that works,” O’Connor said. “I would have concerns about that with some 80,000 spectators that it could be flying over.”
In some ways, coverage of the Long Beach race brings the same temptations as coverage of the Grand Prix of Monaco, with its picturesque ocean scenery and striking buildings nearby.
“There are all kinds of logistical challenges to even having a camera out on a boat,” O’Connor said. “We can send a crew out to get scenic shots, but it just works better when you have the hardwire cameras doing that and filling in with the hand-held cameras. The onboard cameras are recording the entire time as well and the areal shots are very important not for just the great views but capturing the entire front stretch.”
Brian Till will handle play-by-play with analysts Paul Tracy and Townsend Bell. The pit reporters include Marty SniderRobin MillerKelli Stavast and Kevin Lee.
and Katie Hargitt.

== Lou Holtz, finished at ESPN.

== For your information, columnist Norman Chad’s take on the new-information ESPN.com opens itself up for criticism — “There’s just too much going on – it feels like I’ve walked into a pinball machine. … The old ESPN.com seemed manageable, almost homey. Now, it’s as if I’m wandering through a shopping mall that never ends” — as well for some compliments — “ll say this about the new  ESPN.com: Somebody finally cut Bill Simmons down to size. The Grantland guru’s head is so tiny on the home page, it looks like a postage stamp in a diorama; if his head gets any smaller, he’ll be working for USA Today.”

== As ESPN “Sunday Night Baseball” analyst Curt Schilling has posted a “letter” to his younger self on ThePlayersTribune.com warning him about the perils of chewing tobacco, HBO’s “Real Sports” has a segment on its upcoming episode (debuts Tuesday, 10 p.m.) called “Big League Chew” where reporter Jon Frankel circles back to new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred about the league’s current stance about smokeless tobacco. Tony Gwynn Jr., is also included in this update from a 2011 story to talk about the passing of his father, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, last summer from salivary gland cancer at age 54.
And as “Real Sports” adds a new twist to this year’s shows — a comedic rant — there’ll be an appearance by Chris Rock talking about African Americans and baseball in light of Jackie Robinson Day.

== On that note, Fox Sports 1 has brought on Dontrelle Willis, the former Miami Marlins star pitcher, to be a studio analysts starting Monday at 8 p.m., joining the stable that includes Eric Karros, Frank Thomas, C.J. Nitkowski, Raúl Ibañez and Mark Sweeney.

== Who, again, is Britt McHenry, and why should we care that she’s acting like a snot wad to a tow-truck company employee? Sorry, the excuse that “this is the world of video in which we live in” doesn’t even apply here.

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