Behind the Mic: NBC Sports’ Johnny Miller To Retire After 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open; Richard Jefferson Joins Nets Broadcasts on YES
Behind the Mic provides a roundup of recent news regarding on-air talent, including new deals, departures, and assignments compiled from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week’s edition, NBC Sports’ Johnny Miller will retire after calling the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open, Richard Jefferson joins YES Network as an analyst for Brooklyn Nets broadcasts, and ESPN extends the contracts of Hubie Brown, Zubin Mehenti, and Baxter Holmes.
On the eve of 30 years as NBC Sports’ lead golf analyst, Johnny Miller has chosen to make his final 18th tower call at the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open, which will be staged from Thursday, January 31 – Sunday, February 3.
“When NBC Sports approached me 30 years ago about a move to TV, I never could have imagined how it would lead to so many lasting relationships and countless memories made alongside a team of talented friends, both in front of and behind the camera,” says Miller. “I’m forever grateful to my family for their support during this fulfilling chapter of my life. As I say farewell to the 18th tower, I look forward to spending more time alongside my wife Linda, our children, and our 24 grandchildren. Soon it will officially be Miller time.”
Miller was named lead analyst of NBC Sports’ golf broadcast team in 1990 and quickly made his mark as the game’s most candid commentator, calling some of golf’s most memorable shots for the past three decades. Garnering eight Emmy nominations for “Outstanding Sports Personality – Sports Event Analyst,” Miller’s insight and frank approach have earned him both critical praise and viewer appreciation, as well as the respect and occasional raised eyebrow from those competing inside the ropes.
“When it comes to serving golf fans with sharp insight on what is happening inside the ropes, Johnny Miller is simply the gold standard,” says Tommy Roy, NBC Sports’ lead golf producer. “It has been an honor working with him, and while it might not be Johnny’s personal style, it will be fun to send him off at one of the PGA TOUR’s best parties at TPC Scottsdale.”
“Johnny Miller is the best golf analyst ever and he will be missed by millions of fans. Early in his career, he made a commitment to serve the fans by telling it like it is and for three decades he’s served those fans incredibly well,” says Mike McCarley, president, Golf, NBC Sports. “Whether they agree or disagree with Johnny, everyone wants to hear what he has to say. His unfiltered approach has not only been refreshing, but it’s what makes him great. He is a part of the fabric of NBC Sports, and as one of the most influential voices in golf, he will forever have a home here.”
“This truly marks the end of a broadcast era,” says Dan Hicks, NBC Sports’ play-by-play host, who — with Miller — owns the record for longest-tenured 18th tower tandem in broadcast golf (2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open marks 20 years). “Johnny changed the landscape of golf commentary and analysis with his unique, unfiltered and honest manner, which made for a deep connection with viewers at home. Johnny was always unpredictable, so there was never a dull moment with Johnny in the booth. To sit next to him will always remain one of the greatest honors I could ever have in this business.”…
…Richard Jefferson, who played a pivotal role in the New Jersey Nets’ back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 2002 and 2003, has joined the YES Network as a Brooklyn Nets game and studio analyst.
Jefferson’s first assignment was on Wednesday, October 17, when he joined studio host Chris Shearn on YES’ pre and postgame shows in conjunction with the Nets’ Season Opener that evening at the Detroit Pistons. Jefferson’s first assignment as YES game analyst is Wednesday, October 24, when he and play-by-play man Ian Eagle call the Nets-at-Cleveland game (7:00 pm ET)…
…ESPN announced it has reached a multi-year extension with Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Hubie Brown. The legendary coach and broadcaster will continue to call NBA regular season and NBA Playoffs game telecasts. As part of the deal, Brown will also continue to serve as the analyst for ESPN’s NBA Sunday Showcase on ABC alongside play-by-play commentator Mark Jones…
… ESPN anchor Zubin Mehenti has agreed to a new, multi-year deal to stay with the network. Along with his normal role on the late-night editions of SportsCenter, Mehenti has facilitated other things for the network including ESPN Goal Line, College Football Live, halftimes of college basketball and WNBA games, ESPN Radio shows, SEC Network shows, a college football podcast, and more…
…Senior national NBA writer Baxter Holmes has also reached a multi-year deal with ESPN. The accomplished journalist will continue to write NBA feature stories for ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine.
As part of his role, Holmes, who is based in Los Angeles, will closely document LeBron James’ tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers, the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors, and all of the top teams, players, and storylines from around the league. Additionally, his ESPN.com NBA Schedule Alert project, which examines what games NBA teams are at risk of losing due to fatigue, returns Oct. 30.