Behind the Mic: Turner, CBS Sports Deploy Teams for NCAA March Madness’ First Four; Robin Roberts To Lead ABC’s First-Ever NFL Draft Coverage

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, Turner Sports and CBS Sports deploy their NCAA Men’s College Basketball tournament broadcast teams for the first night of the First Four doubleheader, a familiar face seen on Good Morning America is headlining ABC’s coverage of the NFL Draft, and the college football scene on Fox Sports reveals their on-air lineup

CBS Sports and Turner Sports will once again feature a marquee lineup of announcers for their ninth year of combined coverage of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. All 67 games from the 2019 NCAA Tournament will be televised across four national television networks – TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV – and via NCAA March Madness Live, beginning tonight with the NCAA First Four on truTV.

This year’s NCAA Final Four National Semifinals on Saturday, April 6, and National Championship on Monday, April 8, from Minneapolis, Minn. will be televised on CBS. Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, and reporter Tracy Wolfson will call the Final Four National Semifinals and National Championship for the fifth consecutive year.

New commentator roles for this year’s coverage will include:

  • Jim Jackson calling games in Rounds 1 and 2 alongside Brad Nessler, Steve Lavin, and Evan Washburn. Jackson will also team with Spero Dedes, Steve Smith, and Ros Gold-Onwude for the First Four
  • Rules Analyst Gene Steratore providing rules and officiating analysis in studio from the First Four through the Regional Finals and on-site at the Final Four in Minneapolis.

Ernie Johnson and Greg Gumbel will again host studio coverage from the CBS Broadcast Center in New York City during the first full week of the tournament, joined by Charles Barkley, Clark Kellogg, and Kenny Smith. Johnson will host studio coverage from Atlanta during the second week of tournament action on Thursday and Friday, while Gumbel will anchor coverage from CBS Studios. Studio coverage originating from Turner Studios in Atlanta, hosted by Casey Stern during the first week, will feature Brendan Haywood, Seth Davis, Candace Parker, and college coaches. Wally Szczerbiak will contribute to studio coverage from New York City and Adam Zucker will provide game updates.

Following is the complete list of announcer pairings:

Play-by-Play / Analyst // Reporter

Nantz / Raftery / Hill // Wolfson

Brian Anderson / Chris Webber // Allie LaForce

Ian Eagle / Jim Spanarkel // Jamie Erdahl

Kevin Harlan / Reggie Miller / Dan Bonner // Dana Jacobson

Nessler / Lavin / Jackson // Washburn

Dedes / Len Elmore / Smith // Gold-Onwude

Andrew Catalon / Steve Lappas // Lisa Byington

Carter Blackburn / Debbie Antonelli // John Schriffen

The tournament will tip off Tuesday, March 19, and Wednesday, March 20, with the NCAA First Four on truTV. Harlan will call Tuesday’s games with analysts Miller and Bonner, alongside Jacobson. Dedes will handle play-by-play on Wednesday with analysts Jackson and Smith and reporter Gold-Onwude. Studio coverage for the First Four will originate from Atlanta with Stern and analysts Haywood, Davis, and Parker.

Accompanying the live television presentation, NCAA March Madness Live will once again be the ultimate digital destination for direct access to all 67 games of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.

Turner will televise the NCAA Final Four National Semifinals and National Championship in 2020, with the events alternating between CBS and Turner each year throughout the partnership…

…Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts will host ABC’s opening night presentation of the 2019 National Football League Draft, live from Nashville, Thursday, April 25 (8:00-11:30 p.m. ET), on The ABC Television Network and streaming. Roberts will host the prime-time broadcast of Round 1, joined on a separate set by co-host Rece Davis and the crew from College GameDay Built by The Home Depot.

As part of her host role, Roberts will conduct interviews from an ABC set located on Broadway in the Music City. Additionally, she will highlight the prospects selected by NFL teams during the Draft. Roberts will be reporting live from Nashville for Good Morning America on April 25.

For the first time ever, ABC will broadcast all three days of the NFL Draft in 2019, including back-to-back nights live in prime time, adding to the continued coverage on ESPN and NFL Network. ABC will provide differentiated coverage that focuses on the journey of the NFL Draft prospects, as viewers go up close and personal to understand the part their families play in their success and the hard work involved in attempting to become an NFL Draft selection. ABC coverage will feature Roberts, ESPN’s College GameDay team and other special guests.

The award-winning anchor and host started her national broadcasting career as a SportsCenter anchor. At ESPN, she covered the NFL Draft and was a regular contributor to NFL PrimeTime. Roberts has continued to work with ESPN through the years at The ESPYS Awards, the Special Olympics World Games, and more. Under her leadership, Good Morning America has won several Emmy Awards for Outstanding Morning Program and the 2017 People’s Choice Award for Favorite Daytime TV Hosting Team…

…Fox Sports announced plans for its new college football pregame show, featuring some of the biggest names to have played or coached the sport in the last 15 years. Host Rob Stone sits alongside a panel of analysts comprised of three-time national championship coach Urban Meyer, USC legends Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart, and record-setting Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn. The one-hour show airs each Saturday during the college football season on the Fox broadcast network beginning Week 1. The announcement was made by Mark Silverman, President, Fox Sports National Networks.

Meyer and Bush are new additions to Fox Sports, while Quinn spent the last five seasons calling games for the network. Stone and Leinart have contributed to Fox Sports’ college football coverage since 2013.

Fox Sports will announce additional college football coverage information, including its full list of game broadcasters, at a later date.

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