In addition to notes posted Thursday about the launch of the Fox drama series “Pitch,” here are more things worth posting now heading into the weekend:
If only Regis Philbin had been bilingual — and we can’t be sure he isn’t — imagine how the launch of Fox Sports 1 could have been so very diferente.
The current L.A.-based FS1 tries to recycle in more talking older males (white, black) to supposedly broaden the genre of vapid sports gab, yet ESPN has countered in a language all its own with a combination of “SportsNation” and “Nacion ESPN” as it has been airing on ESPN Deportes.
A one-hour weekly show from the ESPN L.A. studios in LA Live, also called “Nacion ESPN,” aims to debut on Monday at 2 p.m. on ESPN2 by filling a niche of an interactive show “dedicated to covering the most relevant and diverse sports news and information tailored to young, bilingual U.S. Hispanic sports fans,” as per the network mission statement.
Jorge Sedano, a co-host of the recently launched KSPN-AM (710) show with Keyshawn Johnson and LZ Granderson, will be on the set with boxing reporter Bernardo Osuna and baseball writer Marly Rivera as they, according to the press release, “reflect a dynamic Hispanic population, promoting culturally relevant content and information they want in the most authentic manner and in the language they prefer.”
It also promoted the fact that sponsors such as Toyota, Allstate, Gillette and Taco Bell are on board to target an important demographic.
We echo the sentiment of Alex Putterman at AwfulAnnouncing.com: Criticize ESPN for a lot of stuff, but not about diversity, in light of the recent launch of The Undefeated. This can only lead to a website that will make an even greater impact — and financial return — for the company.
== For those who missed the announcement of the Clippers’ making a six-year deal with Prime Ticket/Fox Sports West/Fox Sports San Diego to continue their local rights arrangement, the interesting aspect is how this keeps the Steve Ballmer plan of trying to expand digital rights.
Our Dan Woike quotes Steve Greenberg from Allen & Co., who worked on the deal, as saying the NBA was excited about this venture.
“The league is all for experimenting and finding our way to the future,” Greenberg said.
Our sources, however, intimate that Ballmer was not completely happy that the NBA shot down his idea of full digital product distribution and is not trying to give any one team an advantage over another in this media platform. The NBA is careful to do its own R&D on the subject before handing it off and the league will always have final approval of ideas like this.
== Officially, the merger of Time Warner Cable and Charter Cable are to be called Spectrum on all branding opportunities. Including references to the Dodgers’ SportsNet LA (as we saw first from Tuesday’s telecast) and the Lakers’ Spectrum SportsNet.
It scrubs all traces of a Time Warner Cable connection to the distribution of SportsNet LA and tries to throw a new cloak over the partnership as a fresh start.
Is the rebranded AT&T/DirecTV impressed?
== West Hills Chaminade (3-1), ranked No. 15 in the latest MaxPreps.com California state poll, travels to Gardena Serra (1-3) for the CIF-SS high school footbal game of the week on Prime Ticket (Friday, 7:30 p.m., Sam Farber and Chris Rix, with John Jackson on assignment Friday with USC, and Michelle Margaux on the sidelines)
The rest of the schedule on PrepZone and Fox Sports Go (all are Friday at 7 p.m.): St. Bonaventure at Hart (Dennis Ackerman and Lorenzo Booker), Murrieta Valley at Oaks Christian (David Caldwell and Tony Moskal), Rancho Cucamonga at Citrus Hill (Paul Westphal and Chris Hale) and Kaiser at Serrano (Fred Salas and Ralph Brown).
Prime Ticket has also announced it will take the Rancho Cucamonga-Upland game as the Oct. 7 selection, with JSerra-Orange Lutheran, Hart-Valencia, Vista Murrieta-Murieta Valley and Calabasas-Westlake on the PrepZone.
== Fox reports 1.298 million viewers saw a Major League League telecast last Sunday on its network — the largest audience for an MLS game of any kind on any network in 12 years. The Galaxy’s 2-2 draw at Kansas City, highlighted by Landon Donovan’s late goal, had an 11 a.m. broadcast and went to markets that aired a late NFL game — such as the Fox coverage of the Rams’ home opener against Seattle. Except in L.A., as KTTV-Channel 11 decided to carry an otherwise horrific expanded three-hour pregame mess hosted by … let’s not even go there … the Galaxy-K.C. game was dumped on KCOP-Channel 13, losing all leverage it had as an NFL-adjacent program. In other markets with an early NFL game, Fox sent the Toronto-New York Red Bulls contest in the 5 p.m. EDT slot.
== Adrian Healey and Taylor Twellman call the Galaxy’s match against Seattle on Sunday (1 p.m., ESPN) from the StubHub Center in Carson.
== Next up on HBO’s “Real Sports” (Tuesday, 10 p.m.): The lead piece is Bryant Gumbel covering the roots of why the National Anthem is played before nearly all American sporting events — and why it’s been the target of Colin Kaepernick and others to stage a protest. The show also includes a piece by Jon Frankel on how the technology of Pitch FX and whether it’s at a stage where it could be used in games to overrule the umpires.
== As Team USA tries to save a little dignity in its last World Cup of Hockey group game against Team Czech Republic (Thursday 5 p.m., ESPN2), the semifinals move ahead to be played Saturday (4 p.m., ESPN2) and Sunday (1 p.m., ESPN), with the winners starting a best-of-three final on Tuesday (5 p.m., ESPN), Sept. 29 (5 p.m., ESPN2) and, if necessary, Oct. 1 (4 p.m., ESPN2)
== An update on the health of NHL play-by-play man Dave Strader, who is often employed to call Kings and Ducks games that end up on NBCSN during the season and the playoffs.
== As for why the “NFL on Fox” team eventually did not choose to do its Sunday morning pregame show from the Coliseum for the Rams’ L.A. home re-opener, as we reported last week would be happening, a network spokesman said that having did Week 1 on remote in Houston, a back-to-back out-of-studio move was more challenging that anticipated so it was decided not to go. Instead, game analyst Troy Aikman, who called that Rams-Seahawks game, came into the Fox Studios near Rancho Park and spent the 9-to-10 a.m. shift with them before going to the Coliseum for the 1 p.m. kickoff.
== NBC said that while covering the back nine of Sunday’s final round of the PGA Tour Championship in Atlanta on Sunday (Channel 4, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.), the plan is to go without national advertisements. After the tournament, Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III will announce his final pick of the 12-man team during halftime of the Bears-Cowboys Sunday night NFL game on NBC.
Furthermore, when NBC does the 41st Ryder Cup next weekend in Minnesota, the plan is to take from the NASCAR TV model and air commercials on a split screen so that no action is missed, and most of the commercial spots will come at the backend of the day when most of the drama takes place, reports Golf Digest.
== This weekend in Pac-12 Network related event programming:
= UCLA hosts Arizona State in women’s soccer (Thursday, 7 p.m., with Christian Miles and Tracey Bailey).
= USC hosts Arizona in women’s soccer (Friday, 3 p.m., with Jim Watson and Temryss Lane).
= USC hosts Washington in women’s volleyball (Friday, 7 p.m., with Anne Marie Anderson and Holly McPeak)
== Fox’s MLB game of the week is Saturday’s St. Louis at Chicago Cubs (Matt Vasgersian, John Smoltz, Ken Rosenthal, at 10 a.m., Channel 11).
The MLB Network of games coming to L.A. includes San Francisco at San Diego (Thursday at 8 p.m., joined in progress; Friday at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday at 7 p.m. joined in progress). TBS has N.Y. Yankees at Toronto (Sunday, 10 a.m.)
== And finally, Tweets from Wednesday night:
I need a one dance pic.twitter.com/SilU1NvhQk
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) September 22, 2016
Today was a chemo day. I feel like crap. I’m tired and hopped up on meds. Then Vin came on. Today is a good day.
— Samuel Chi (@ThePlayoffGuru) September 22, 2016
— Nancy Sinatra (@NancySinatra) September 22, 2016
When Vin says “it’s been nice visiting with you”…one truly feels that he’s talking to you and you alone. It’s his gift. #54F
— John Ondrasik (@johnondrasik) September 22, 2016
— Calling The Game (@CallingTheGame) September 22, 2016
I never thought about how important Vin Scully must be to blind baseball fans until this great Ray Charles anecdote: pic.twitter.com/Cy40fKP5ft
— Bradford Pearson (@BradfordPearson) September 21, 2016
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 22, 2016