Rob Riggle co-stars in a “Key & Peele” piece for Comedy Central. Remember who gets a bagel, and who doesn’t, OK?
What’s likely coming up Sunday:
Did the NFL provide comedian Rob Riggle with enough material this off season so that going to work on his first “Fox NFL Sunday” show was merely just picking and choosing what to satirize now and what to save for later?
Yeah, pretty much.
This morning, we caught up with “The Daily Show” and “Saturday Night Live” veteran as he was in the make-up chair, and he made up some nifty answers to questions we had about what’s going this season.
We couldn’t get a good read on exactly what he intends to do for Sunday’s first show, but only wish he was given more than just two minutes.
Remember how in Week 2 of last season he was already in “Fantasy Owner Rehab?”
A sample of our Q-and-A with Riggle:
Q: Did you learn much from “The Daily Show” and “Saturday Night Live” that you can apply to sports comedy, taking real events and finding the not-so-subtle satire in them?
A: I think there are elements to that. But I don’t focus on trying to present news or educating anybody. I’ve only got two minutes each week to write a sketch and entertain people. And do this and that. I’m not really trying to present any news stories. I got from ‘SNL and The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in doing improv and sketch comedy, because that’s really what this is. That’s me. Frank Caliendo did crazy impersonations in a monologue, and that was great. Jimmy Kimmel did things his way.
Q: Where does Tim Tebow land in the comedy spectrum of what you might tackle?
A: (Laughing). I like Tim personally. He’s a really nice guy. I got to meet him when I hosted the ESPYs and he played along with some of the bits we did, so I appreciated that. Yeah, he’s on the receiving end on this show. It comes down to, I guess, what the lead is. Right now, his not making the Eagles isn’t necessarily the lead.
What we think is worth dropping in today:
== Funny, but we were under the impression that Frank Caliendo, whom Riggle replaced at Fox in 2012, already was back on ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown.” But the network felt it had to make that official with an announcement of a contract extension with the comedian/impressionist on Thursday.
Caliendo spent nine years at Fox before coming to ESPN, where he have found a whole new pool of material to draw from.
“Combining his unique humor and wit with football themes, Frank’s signature impressions add another layer to how ‘Countdown’ covers the NFL,” said ESPN senior coordinating producer for NFL studio shows Seth Markman, in a statement. “Frank’s work on the show has produced some very memorable moments in recent years and he continues to help us develop a connection with viewers.”
“I agree with Seth Markman’s sentiment about me,” Caliendo added. “He’s a great boss – and a truly smart man.”
Caliendo’s opening act Sunday is a segment that will include The Muppets. Yes, the puppets that will have their own ABC prime-time series later this month.
(ie: Cross promotion).
ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” marks its 30th anniversary this season.
== We posted the lineup for L.A.’s NFL Week 1, including the harsh reality that the San Diego Chargers will continue to be force-fed — by choice — over better games outside our area. But there are options.
== Since we asked this question last week to members of ESPN, NBC and CBS personnel involved with NFL coverage, we finally had a chance to run this one by Fox’s Troy Aikman: On a scale of 1-to-10, 10 as the best, assign a number to the chance of you being part of an NFL telecast somewhere in L.A. game in 2016? And then explain why you gave it that number based on things you’ve read and heard and feel about it?
His response: “Maybe the better way to answer this is I’d give a 10 to the fact there will be a team in L.A. next year, or the following year, based on guys who follow this story closer than I have and feel certain about it. I hope we’re doing a game in L.A., and I’d love to back to the West Coast, but some of that is determined by what conference the teams would be playing there. I’d say I’m fairly certain there’ll be a team in L.A. in the next year or two, but that’s just based on guys I respect and follow their opinions.”
== And NBC’s Bob Costas has his take on “Deflategate” from Thursday’s season opener.
== Roxy Bernstein, Glenn Parker and Jill Savage are on the call for the Pac-12 Network coverage of USC playing host to Idaho (Saturday, 5 p.m.). Carter Blackburn, Aaron Taylor and Jenny Dell have the UCLA-UNLV game from Vegas for CBS Sports Net (Saturday, 7:30 p.m.)
Highlights of the rest of Week 2 of the college football TV schedule: Rece Davis and Kirk Herbstreit have Oregon-Michigan State (Saturday, Channel 7, 5 p.m., with Chris Fowler doing U.S. Open tennis); Matt Leinart gets a live game to call with Rob Stone and Dave Wannstedt when Miami goes to Florida Atlantic (tonight, 5 p.m., FS1); Mike Patrick and Ed Cunningham have Notre Dame-Virginia (Saturday, Channel 7, 12:30 p.m.), Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson have Georgia-Vanderbilt (Saturday, Channel 2, 12:30 p.m.), Kevin Kugler and Matt Millen have Ohio State hosting Hawaii (Saturday, Big Ten Network, 12:30 p.m.), Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt have Iowa-Iowa State (Saturday, Channel 11, 1:30 p.m.); Brad Nessler and Todd Blackledge have Oklahoma-Tennessee (Saturday, 3 p.m., ESPN); Dave Pasch, Brian Griese and Tom Luginbill have LSU-Mississippi State (Saturday, 6:15 p.m., ESPN) and Brent Musburger and Jesse Palmer have Kentucky-South Carolina (Saturday, 4:30 p.m., SEC Network).
For those interested in the next opponents for USC and UCLA, Tim Brando and Spencer Tillman have Stanford hosting Central Florida (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., FS1) and Dave Lamont and Ray Bentley have BYU hosting Boise State (Saturday, 7:15 p.m., ESPN2).
== The latest from Jon Wilner and the San Jose Mercury News concerning elements of the Pac-12 Network and AT&T-DirecTV marriage that may require a hefty pre-nup now. Bottom line: USC fans best attend Saturday’s sweltering-hot game against Idaho than expect to land in their laps if they don’t have the Pac-12 Net at this point.
== A very cool piece by ESPN’s Ivan Maisel on UCLA’s new play-by-play man Bill Roth and the power of college sports on the radio.
== Cover alert: As in, ESPN is trying to cover itself in the wake of backlash to how it has become more blatant with expending highlight footage on college football games based on how the point spread is being affected. Kind of plays into the segment that Scott Van Pelt seems to need to include in his new vanity “SportsCenter” Sunday shows as well.
= And already some at Colin Cowherd’s former place of employment aren’t happy with the way he’s framed his escape to Fox Sports 1.
We’d just like an invite to his new Manhattan Beach pad to discuss his new West Coast hairstyle.
== For the archives, the nine minute interview Cowherd did with Vin Scully on Thursday’s show. Stay until the end when Vin explains how he’s “just an ordinary person.” Classic.
One of the questions Cowherd didn’t ask about — since half the interview is him and delayed pauses for dramatic effect in his questioning — is his thought process in how Scully called Sandy Koufax’s perfect game 50 years ago this week.
== And we suspect Scully still reads box scores from the newspapers. Why wouldn’t he?
== Yankees broadcaster John Sterling has critics? Do tell.
== NBA TV says it will carry the entire Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony today at 4:30 p.m. without commercial interruption for the first time. Matt Winer hosts it with David Aldridge and Rick Kamla. The Class of 2015 includes former Morningside High, USC and Sparks star Lisa Leslie, as well as L.A.-based George Raveling, the former USC coach and current director of International Basketball for Nike.
== Since we’ve yet to pursue a review copy of the HBO special “Ferrell Takes The Field,” which debuts on TV Saturday at 10 p.m., we’ll start with this review on AwfulAnnouncing.com by Ian Casselberry that sums up what we suspected going in: We already saw enough news clips back in March of how Will Ferrell “played” for 10 teams in one day in Arizona during spring training, including center field for the Angels and taking the mound for the Dodgers. So how could it possibly be worth rehashing?
Because of the locker room moments saved just for this.
Still, Casselberry writes that the hour-long piece “is ultimately empty comedy calories. That’s not to say it’s not worth watching. It is. And there are some legitimately funny moments, although you might be disappointed if you’re hoping for roll-on-the-floor, tears-in-your-eyes kind of laughter.”
Slate.com calls this: “More laugh lines per joke than the mediocre-but-beloved Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, more heart than the funny-but-formulaic Blades of Glory, and more potential staying power than the crude and forgettable Semi Pro.” What kind of still plays empty to us: If this was all done five months ago, why did it take so long to turn around? Seems kinda anti-climatic.
From Variety.com’s Brian Lowery: “The backstory, frankly, is much better than the special, and one wishes more of it had found a way into this 49-minute project: Craig Pollard, a USC fraternity brother of Ferrell’s, had his baseball career cut short by cancer. As a result, Pollard founded Cancer for College, to help support cancer survivors by bestowing scholarships.
“What the project cries out for, and actually gets only very sparingly at the very end … is some sense of his appreciation for what it’s like to actually see a major-league-level fastball or line drive zooming at or past you. Instead, Ferrell mostly plays the clown, discussing his likely induction into the Hall of Fame.”
== The lineup for Showtime’s pay-per-view telecast of Saturday’s Floyd Mayweather Jr. bout against Andrew Berto (going for a crisp $74.95): Brian Custer is the host, Mauro Ranallo handles blow-by-blow with analysts Al Bernstein and Paulie Malignaggi, Hollywood Walk of Famer Jim Gray pretends to report, and Steve Farhood is the “unofficial” ringside scorer. The Spanish language broadcast is done by Alejandro Luna and Raul Marquez.
In hopes of attracting anyone to this fight, Showtime is also allowing this to be available via computers and mobile devices via cbs.com/fight. The cost: $64.99.
That includes today’s weighin (3 p.m.), a pre-fight show starting at 3:30 p.m. and the first four fights of the telecast at 5 p.m.
== One of the cool elements of the Cal State Northridge relaunching its online media initatitves if having an “CSUN Deportes” feature, and the school announced recently that it will broadcast five men’s soccer games in Spanish using CSUN alums Eduard Cauich and Jose Avalos. Cauich, the sports editor of Hoy Los Angeles, and Avalos, part of EstrellaTV’s national newscast, first called Matators men’s soccer games in Spanish together when they were students at the school some 15 years ago. Their first broadcast with live video is tonight when CSUN faces New Mexico (Matador Soccer Field, 7 p.m.) and airs free on www.gomatadors.com through BigWest.TV.
Other games are Sept. 13 vs. Bakersfield, Oct. 3 vs. UC Santa Barbara, Oct. 24 vs. UC Irvine and Oct. 28 vs. UC Riverside.
“For the San Fernando Valley community and for all those who speak Spanish and love soccer, this is an opportunity that they will love without a doubt,” said Ávalos. “It’s going to bring out more young people and it’s going to give them hope that one day they can be at CSUN. It’s very emotional to be able to return with everything this university has. To do this now is big, it’s exciting and grand.”
== Arlo White, Lee Dixon and Grame Le Saux are at Old Trafford to call the Liverpool-Manchester United Premier League match (Saturday, 9:30 a.m., Channel 4).
== Doesn’t this whole idea of Draft Kings having all these dollars to spend on advertising — including the bullpen wall at Dodger Stadium — send up some red flags?
== We thought it best to pass this note about ESPN Films’ next batch of “30 for 30” that starts with a piece called “Trojan War” on Oct. 13 about USC’s football program under Pete Carroll, to Daily News writer Scott Wolf, who did this post. Because fan interest in this project “seems to be intense,” Wolf then followed it up with a comment by filmmaker Aaron Rahsaan Thomas, whose body of work included writing for the former NBC series “Friday Night Lights.” His comments are at this ESPN link.
As for the rest of this so-called “30 for 30 Volume III” — it’s been six years since the network did this series as a celebration of its 30th anniversary, but it can’t seem to shake the branding of it — includes “Down in the Valley” about how the city of Sacramento has fought to keep its NBA team; “The Prince of Pennsylvania,” about wrestlers Mark and Dave Schultz, Jon du Pont and the whole backstory that led to the Hollywood movie “Foxcatcher” last year; “The Gospel According to Mac,” about former Colorado football coach Bill McCartney, founder of the Promise Keepers; and “Chasing Tyson,” about Evander Holyfield’s pursuit of a matchup against Mike Tyson during his prime. Here is the trailer for this group of documentaries released by ESPN. They air on consecutive Tuesdays at 6 p.m. through Nov. 10.
== And thanks to Wolf, too, for posting a tweet I sent out questioning Sports Illustrated’s decision to do a cover story on USC quarterback Cody Kessler after a Week 1 win over Arkansas State — it’s apparently all promotion for Lee Jenkins’ pre-planned feature on Kessler, rather than his performance in the opener (which would have more likely led to a cover piece on UCLA’s Josh Rosen instead). The Sept. 14 cover, too, is just a regional one, apparently to promote a “Campus Rush” marketing idea for SI. (FYI: SI has also done a new deal to absorb The Cauldron in trying to cultivate new writers who can then be laid off in the coming years). Think of The Caludron in some ways as the precursor to Derek Jeter’s launch of The Players Tribune.
== Finally, our favorite media-related Tweet of the week: