NBC‘s Sunday Night Football has been the most-watched primetime program for four years running at it kept another streak alive tonight. The show won its sixth consecutive Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Live Sports Series during the ceremony at Lincoln Center in Manhattan, with color man Cris Collinsworth and sideline reporter Michelle Tafoya also taking home the hardward. The Peacock led all networks with a half-dozen wins — including Bob Costas for Outstanding Studio Host, his 26th career nod — followed by ESPN, Fox and MLB Network with five apiece. MLB landed the Outstanding Live Sports Special Emmy for its coverage of the Red Sox-Cardinals World Series. Showtime scored a TKO in the Outstanding Edited Sports Event Coverage category for its All Access: Mayweather vs. Canelo Epilogue. NBC Sports Group, which also includes NBCSN and Telemundo, scored a leading 10 wins; ESPN was second with a combined seven trophies for the flagship network, ESPN 2 and ESPN Deportes. The Worldwide Leader not surprisingly won Outstanding Sports Documentary Series for its 30 For 30. Ted Turner received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Here is the full list of winners:
NBC Sports’ coverage of Saturday’s 140th Kentucky Derby averaged 15.3 million viewers, according to fast national data provided today by Nielsen. California Chrome’s victory in Saturday’s race (6:06-6:52 PM ET) marks the fourth time in six years that NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage averaged more than 15 million viewers. From 1991-2008, average viewership for the first event in horse racing’s Triple Crown did not reach 15 million.
Viewership increased 3% from 2012 (14.8 million for I’ll Have Another’s victory), which was the last time the Kentucky Derby faced head-to-head competition from the NBA Playoffs. NBC’s household rating for the derby — 9.4.22 — is the best Saturday ratings on any network since NBC’s Sochi Olympics coverage on February 15 (9.6/17). Not surprisingly, Louisville, home of the Kentucky Derby, topped the metered markets with a 37.8 rating/66 share. Here are metered-market numbers for Saturday’s race and the Derby’s viewership numbers over the past 25 years:
Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski are back, on NBC Sports. The two will serve as fashion experts for NBC Sports Group‘s coverage of the 2014 Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby. NBC Sports Group’s live coverage from Churchill Downs begins April 30. Olympic figure skaters Weir and Lipinski were the It Couple of the 2014 Sochi Games, covering figure skating for NBC Sports. Weir and Lipinski will work as fashion experts for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 3 and the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, May 2. Most recently, Weir, a three-time U.S. figure skating champion, and Lipinski, the 1998 Olympic figure skating gold medalist, were also fashion critics for Access Hollywood’s coverage of the 2014 Academy Awards.
Having accepted NBC’s offer, Josh Elliott is out at Good Morning America and, unlike Sam Champion, won’t be seen on the show again to say so long to colleagues on-air. But the GMA gang this morning sent Elliott off with a we’ll-miss-you clip job anyway, in keeping with the show’s one-big-happy-family image :
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Josh Elliott Says NBC Sports Offer Is Dream Job, Denies He’s Being Groomed To Replace Matt Lauer On ‘Today’
Departing Good Morning America news anchor Josh Elliott says he has not personally had any discussions about working on NBC’s Today, that he hopes co-anchor Matt Lauer will still be at Today “when I step away from this gig 30 years down the road,” and that he loves ABC News chief Ben Sherwood deeply and passionately for making him news anchor at GMA. Elliott was on the phone with reporters to discuss this week’s worst kept TV industry secret — Elliott has jumped ship, abandoning GMA to join NBC Sports Group.
NBC Sports chief Mark Lazarus said Elliott would perform “a mix” of reporting and anchoring, including a presence in the division’s coverage of the Kentucky Derby, NFL football, the Super Bowl and the Winter and Summer Olympics, to which NBC has broadcast rights through 2020. “One of the beauties of this budding and new relationship,” Lazarus said, is that Elliott fits in well with the existing team, adding, “we’ve still got plenty of time to sort out” details of his role.
Elliott was asked loads of questions about his departure from GMA; he “denied categorically” press reports about the ensemble cast’s jealousy over Robin Roberts’ lucrative contract, insisting he loved them all and wished them the best. “I owe everything to the folks at Disney” he said. “They’re the ones who put me on the air nine years ago.’ I have nothing but gratitude for them” he said speaking “to my very deep and abiding important relationship I have with [ABC News chief] Ben Sherwood.”
UPDATE, 6:40 AM: GMA gang this morning told viewers that Josh Elliott is leaving the show to go to work for NBC Sports, marking the second successful poaching of a GMA cast member by NBCU, and that he would be replaced as news anchor by Amy Robach, who was on the scene – Elliott himself was on “vacation.” Meanwhile, over at NBC, Al Roker publicly congratulated Elliot, via Twitter, for his “conscious uncoupling” from GMA/ABC. Watch here:
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UPDATE, 6:30 AM: Josh Elliott‘s former Good Morning America colleague Sam Champion weighed in this morning on Elliott’s announced exit from the ABC morning infotainment show to go to work for NBC Sports. Champion, who was also poached by NBCU and now works at The Weather Channel, called it “a great opportunity for Josh’s heart,” adding, “I know that fans of GMA are not loving it.” Watch here:
PREVIOUS, SUNDAY PM: After an intense negotiation with ABC News, Good Morning America news anchor Josh Elliott is leaving the network for NBC Sports. ABC News wasted no time in announcing his replacement: Amy Robach, who has been part of the GMA team for some time, including filling in for Robin Roberts at various moments when she was out for medical reasons. Elliott, who had been making about $1.2 million salary at GMA, turned down an offer to stay with the show for $4-$5 million. After his fellow anchor Lara Spencer nailed down a lucrative multiyear contract Thursday, Elliott raised his ask to $10 million a year. With Elliott, NBC is getting a strong sports guy — a next generation Bob Costas — who previously worked at ESPN. Per the terms of Elliott’s exit, he cannot appear on NBC’s Today for six months according to people familiar with the situation. Elliott is the second member of the ensemble team that put GMA in first place in the morning show ratings race, and to depart for an NBCUniversal property. In December, NBCU successfully poached longtime GMA weatherman Sam Champion who is now a bigwig at their Weather Channel. In much the same way they did today, ABC announced Champion’s replacement, Ginger Zee, minutes after it was reported that he was leaving. In the wake of Champion’s departure, GMA has scored some of its highest ratings ever.
UPDATE: I’m told that there’s less than meets the eye to the ballyhooed “access” Yahoo says it will offer to “all of NBCOlympics.com’s exclusive digital video rights.” That simply means Yahoo will have links to the NBC site — not streams of the programming itself.
PREVIOUS: This is an extension of a previous deal between the companies according to a Tumblr post from Yahoo VP Ken Fuchs. The agreement includes access to “all of NBCOlympics.com’s exclusive digital video rights, including live competition streams and highlights, the creation of a digital Olympics daily show, and the showcase of Yahoo products through NBC’s digital and broadcast coverage of the Games.” Sportscasters from Yahoo Sports and NBC Sports will team for news and analysis on the digital platforms. In addition, the TV broadcasts will integrate material from Yahoo Search, Flickr and Tumblr “to tap into the pulse of the American Olympic fan during the Sochi Games.” Today’s announcement comes a little more than a year after Yahoo and NBC Sports unveiled their partnership for event coverage. The digital company and NBC also have a content sharing deal for CNBC, and this year Yahoo became the online home for the Saturday Night Live archives.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. and NEW YORK (July 23, 2013) – NASCAR and NBC Sports Group announced today they have reached a comprehensive agreement that grants NBCUniversal exclusive rights to the final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series events, select NASCAR Regional & Touring Series events and other live content beginning in 2015. Financial terms of the agreement, which runs through the 2024 season, were not disclosed.
With this partnership, NBC’s 20 Sprint Cup race schedule includes becoming the exclusive home to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR’s final 10 races of the season, including its season-ending championship event which will return to network television in 2015 for the first time since 2009. Of NBC Sports Group’s 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, seven will be carried on NBC annually, with 13 airing on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN). Four of NBC Sports Group’s 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series races will air on NBC, with 15 airing on NBCSN.
Yahoo and NBC Sports Group are teaming in a content and promotional deal combining Yahoo Sports original reporting, coverage of big events and other content with NBC Sports Group’s expanding digital assets. Deal includes significant television promotion and integration. Yahoo Sports and NBC Sports Group will maintain separate sites and editorial control but they will collaborate on premium sports news and events coverage both online and on TV broadcasts. Yahoo Sports products will be included in the NBC Sports Groups digital assets.
NBC Sports and the various regional sports networks must be wondering if the NHL lockout will ever end. Today the league said it was canceling all regular-season games through November 1, making it a total of 135 games down the tubes as the league and the players fight over a new labor deal. The NHL made a very public offer earlier this week that ws rejected by the players’ association yesterday, prompting today’s move. That offer was based on the idea that, if accepted, the NHL could squeeze in a full 82-game season if the season started by November 2. At this point it’s still a workable scenario — unlike the wacky schedule that emerged out of the NBA lockout last season, when teams were often forced to play back-to-back-to-back nights to make up the lost time and only fit in 66 games.
The NHL today cancelled its 2012 preseason through September 30 as the league’s lockout continues after its union pact with players expired Saturday at midnight. More cancellations are expected as the labor unrest drags on, and no talks on a new collective bargaining agreement have been scheduled. NBC Sports, which signed a record $2 billion, 10-year TV rights deal with the NHL last year, remained neutral in the wake of the news, saying in a statement:
“We are hopeful that the lockout is resolved soon and does not affect our NHL programming. However, if games are missed, we have a large amount of quality live-event programming available to replace them, including soccer, boxing, and college hockey and basketball.”
NBC Sports Group and the French Tennis Federation have added another 10 hours of live U.S. TV coverage and expanded digital rights for the Grand Slam through 2024. Under the multiplatform deal NBC will air the opening Sunday of the tennis tournament, as it did this year for the first time, plus mid-weekend matches and men and women’s semifinals and finals. The extension brings key competition days to NBC including Memorial Day plus women’s semifinals rounding out the championship weekend. The new agreement takes NBC through 42 consecutive years of broadcast coverage and will provide more comprehensive coverage including live streaming of more matches on NBCSports.com which will also post daily video highlights and online-only analysis.
NBC says they hear the criticism of their XXX Summer Olympics coverage. “Some of it is fair, and we are listening,” said NBC Sport’s Mark Lazarus today. “We knew it wasn’t going to be perfect,” added the Group Chairman. Asked about NBC editing out the fall of Russia’s Ksenia Afanasyeva in Tuesday’s gymnastics event to create suspense for a U.S. team Gold win, Lazaus said it was cut “in the interests of time”. He added that “it was immaterial to the outcome” of the U.S. team’s Gold win. “All of the drama was about the US performance, not what the Russians did or did not achieve, said Lazarus. “It did nothing to alter the suspense”. In a conference call from London, Lazarus and NBC Research’s Alan Wurtzel sought to address the criticism that the network has received for its tape delay of the XXX Summer Olympics from London, most noticeably the Opening Games on July 27. Noting time zone difference and other limitations, the NBC Sports boss said “our preference is to do things live”. Lazarus added that he hopes the 2016 Olympics Opening Ceremony from Rio will be live. Lazarus also said that it was a “regretful” moment when a promo was shown on the East Coast of Missy Franklin winning a gold medal before the race was actually broadcast in the States and the network has installed a back-up system to ensure such a …
NBC’s 2 1/2 hours of planned coverage Saturday afternoon of the Belmont Stakes was supposed to center on I’ll Have Another, the 3-year-old colt who has captivated the sports world (and beyond) trying for horse racing’s first Triple Crown in 34 years. But the horse was pulled from the race today after suffering a tendon injury during training, turning the Belmont into pretty much just another race. That’s an awful turn of events for NBC Sports, which certainly was planning to devote all its coverage to I’ll Have Another, its trainer Doug O’Neill and the rest of the team and watch the monster ratings come in. The network last year signed a big deal to consolidate the Triple Crown races under its flag and had caught lightning in a bottle with this colt, which won one of the best races I’ve ever seen last month at the Preakness to set him up for a chance to be only the 12th horse to take the Triple Crown. Now it’s off to the much more lucrative stud farm for I’ll Have Another, while scribes scrap the first drafts of those Seabiscuit 2 scripts.
NEW YORK – May 16 – Fully-distributed NBCUniversal cable channels MSNBC, CNBC and Bravo will again serve as Olympic platforms when they combine to televise 284.5 hours of coverage of the 2012 London Olympic Games this summer.
MSNBC will host 155.5 hours of a wide variety of Olympic sports, CNBC will carry 73 hours of Olympic boxing coverage — including the debut of women’s Olympic boxing — and Bravo will serve as the home of Olympic tennis with 56 hours of coverage. All three channels have previously televised Olympic programming.
MSNBC’s, CNBC’s and Bravo’s Olympic coverage will complement the programming airing on NBC and the NBC Sports Network, the details of which will be released shortly. It has already been announced that Telemundo will provide the most extensive Spanish-language Olympics coverage in NBCUniversal history by offering more than 173 hours of programming, and that NBCOlympics.com will live stream every event and sport for the first time ever, more than 3,500 hours. The vast majority of live streaming on NBCOlympics.com will only be available to authenticated cable, satellite or telco customers.
The Associated Press is reporting that NBC Sports has made a deal to move its longtime home at 30 Rockefeller Plaza to Stamford, Conn., to take advantage of state tax incentives there. The move out of the network’s flagship headquarters would take the division 35 miles away to Connecticut, which is dialing up an economic development plan that includes luring companies away from their spendy and cramped Manhattan real estate. The AP reported that a government official with knowledge of the deal said details about the tax credits still have to be worked out between the legislature and NBC, but the city is already home to syndicated NBCUniversal shows Maury, The Jerry Springer Show and The Steve Wilkos Show and is the headquarters of NBC Sports Group sibling Versus.
On the same day that NBCUniversal announced it has picked Jim Bell to executive produce coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London comes a report that former NBC Sports guru Dick Ebersol is returning to the fold in an advisory role, first on NBC’s Sunday Night Football and then for the London games. The New York Times reported that he will be special adviser to the network, reuniting him with current NBC Sports Group boss Mark Lazarus, whom Ebersol brought to NBC, and Bell, whom Ebersol hired as a production assistant for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Of course, Ebersol was the man behind bringing the NFL and the Olympics to NBCU, where he was a fixture until he left in May following a contract dispute with new owners Comcast. It’s unclear whether Ebersol had any behind-the-scenes sway back in June, when NBCU won the bidding for U.S. broadcast rights to the next four Olympics, which gives the network the games through 2020.
NBC Sports announced today that it has sealed a three-year agreement with Major League Soccer that will begin at the start of next season. No financial terms were revealed, but The Sports Business Journal said the deal is reportedly worth $10 million a year. The MLS package previously was housed at Fox, which showed games on its cable network Fox Soccer Channel; ESPN and Univision also have TV rights as part of a separate agreement. The NBC pact will see the network air 45 league games and four U.S. National Team games each season televised live across NBC and NBC Sports Network (the new name of Versus, which is rebranding in January). The move will return soccer to broadcast TV, and is an upgrade for the league’s cable footprint (Versus has 76 million subs; Fox Soccer has 39 million).
NBCUniversal’s NBC Sports Group has been busy building its portfolio since its formation after NBCU’s sale to Comcast: It has a new chairman, Mark Lazarus, who replaced Dick Ebersol; it retained rights to the Olympics through 2020; and in April it inked a new 10-year deal with the NHL worth $2 billion.