Behind the Mic: Gus Johnson, Bill Raftery Return to Fox Sports for 2018-19 College Basketball Season

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, the 2018-19 college basketball season tips off on Fox Sports with familiar voices, NFL Network releases the personalities in the booth for the final two gams of the season, Chris Mannix returns to Sports Illustrated, and Sam Alipour signs a new deal with ESPN.

With college basketball set to tip off this week, Fox Sports unveils its all-star lineup of game and studio broadcasters for the upcoming season. Led by play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson and analysts Bill Raftery and Jim Jackson, Fox Sports is set to deliver some of the best games from the BIG EAST, Big Ten, and Pac-12 conferences on the Fox broadcast network, FS1, FS2, and Fox Sports Regional Networks during the 2018-19 campaign.

“We’re looking forward to another exciting season of college basketball and are thrilled to have some of the nation’s top broadcasters sitting courtside and in studio once again this season,” says John Entz, Fox Sports President, Production & Executive Producer. “With some of the best voices in the game calling some of the top programs in the sport, including the defending national champion, we’re excited for what we think will be our best season of college hoops yet.”

The most exciting voice in sports, Johnson headlines Fox Sports’ list of play-by-play broadcasters for the upcoming season. Also returning to call game action are multi-sport broadcast veteran Tim Brando; voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Fox College Football announcer Joe Davis; Fox MLB host and NFL broadcaster Kevin Burkhardt; Fox Sports announcer Justin Kutcher; Milwaukee Brewers and national MLB commentator Brian Anderson; Fox College Football and boxing’s Brian Custer; BTN’s Kevin Kugler; and more. New to this year’s play-by-play rotation are veteran broadcaster Dave O’Brien; BTN host Dave Revsine; and more.

Fox Sports’ list of game analysts is once again led by Raftery, former NCAA coach and Sports Emmy Award winner, and Jackson, a two-time All-American and NBA veteran. Also calling action this season are former UConn forward and Fox Sports studio analyst Donny Marshall; former NCAA head coach and studio analyst Steve Lavin; veteran broadcaster and former NBA player Len Elmore; NCAA standouts Nick Bahe (Creighton), Stephen Bardo (Illinois), Stephen Howard (DePaul), Casey Jacobsen (Stanford), Dickey Simpkins (Providence), Jim Spanarkel (Duke), and Tarik Turner (St. John’s); former WNBA player and NFL Network reporter Stacey Dales; Fox Sports Radio host and contributor Doug Gottlieb; YES Network, Brooklyn Nets analyst, and Fox Sports contributor Sarah Kustok; former NCAA assistant coach Vin Parise; and more.

In the studio, Rob Stone returns as Fox Sports’ lead college basketball host, joined by Jackson, Jacobsen, Marshall, and Lavin throughout the season. Burkhardt and veteran broadcaster Mike Hill also host select college basketball studio coverage, while Bahe, Gottlieb, and Andy Katz join the studio analyst rotation during the year. Evan Daniels returns as a Fox Sports college basketball insider, and Howie Schwab reprises his role as the network’s bracketologist…

…NFL Network has set its broadcast teams for the four NFL Network Special matchups in Week 15 and 16 of this season.

Curt Menefee, Nate Burleson, and Steve Mariucci, along with Melissa Stark on the sidelines, will broadcast two games on NFL Network, beginning with the Week 15 matchup between the Houston Texans and New York Jets on Saturday, December 15. In Week 16, Menefee, Burleson, Mariucci, and Stark will broadcast the Washington Redskins-Tennessee Titans game on Saturday, December 22. Kickoff for both games is at 4:30 PM ET.

Mike Tirico and Kurt Warner, along with Peter Schrager on the sidelines, will broadcast the Cleveland Browns-Denver Broncos Week 15 game on Saturday, December 15 and the Baltimore Ravens-Los Angeles Chargers Week 16 game on Saturday, December 22. Kickoff for both games is at 8:20 PM ET…

…Sports Illustrated announced it had reached a deal with Chris Mannix to be a senior writer focusing on the NBA. The hiring represents a return to the franchise for Mannix, who worked at SI from 2003-15 before spending the last three years as a senior NBA writer at Yahoo! Sports.

Mannix joins SI’s award-winning basketball staff, The Crossover. His duties as a senior writer will include helping lead SI’s NBA coverage in the magazine, on SI.com and on SI TV, where he will help develop new programming around the game’s biggest names and influencers. He will also continue his popular NBA and boxing podcasts. He will continue in his capacity as an NBA analyst for NBC Sports Boston and as a host for DAZN boxing. In addition, he hosts a show on Fox Sports Radio and contributes regularly to Fox Sports 1. The Boston College graduate will also continue to be a regular guest and fill-in host on The Dan Patrick Show…

Sam Alipour, a senior correspondent and host of Hang Time, has signed a multiyear deal to remain with ESPN, and his brand of storytelling with some of the biggest figures in sports will continue to appear on SportsCenter, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, and other platforms.

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