Behind the Mic: Bleacher Report Gives Adam Lefkoe More Air Time, Fox Sports Dismisses Chris Carter

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, Bleacher Report extends a rising on-air star, Fox Sports cuts ties with a well-known personality, ESPN outlines their broadcast team for the reimagined XFL, and a new face appears on College GameDay.

Bleacher Report has reached a multi-year extension with versatile host Adam Lefkoe. As part of the agreement, Lefkoe will expand the scope of his Turner Sports responsibilities to serve as the studio host for NBA on TNT Tuesday night coverage alongside the newly formed team of three-time NBA Champion Dwyane Wade, WNBA Champion and two-time MVP Candace Parker, and Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal.

Lefkoe will also continue to be an integral part of Bleacher Report’s premium content offerings including Ditch the Playbook with Lefkoe and The Lefkoe Show podcast. He has also been closely connected to B/R’s NFL coverage, along with a wide array of video content offerings over the last six years.

In addition to his expansive B/R role, Lefkoe will also be tapped for select Turner Sports opportunities and special projects over the length of the agreement, such as his contributions to the 2018 presentation of The Match: Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to continue working with B/R and Turner Sports,” said Adam Lefkoe. “To now also become a part of the TNT family is a dream come true. I can’t wait to sit on that storied set alongside Shaq, Dwyane, and Candace and capture the excitement of the NBA.”

“Adam has demonstrated a unique ability to establish a strong connection with passionate sports fans and his expanded responsibilities reflect the talent and versatility he has shown since joining B/R,” said Tara August, SVP of Talent Relations & Special Projects, Turner Sports. “We’re thrilled to expand the scale of his responsibilities as we further advance our commitment to hiring and retaining top voices that advance our brands and the premium content we deliver to fans across all platforms.”

Lefkoe joined B/R in 2013 and has steadily increased responsibilities both with Bleacher Report and throughout the Turner Sports portfolio. He has become widely recognized throughout the industry for his thoughtful, engaging and conversational interviews with athletes and deep knowledge of leagues, teams, and players.

Prior to joining B/R, Lefkoe was an Emmy award-winning sports anchor. He was also named the Associated Press Kentucky Sportscaster of the Year in 2013.

This multi-year agreement with Lefkoe is the latest extension with prominent B/R brand voices. Bleacher Report’s robust roster of popular talent and contributors includes Howard Beck, Wade, Taylor Rooks, Mike Freeman, Mirin Fader, Jonathan Abrams, and Tyler Dunne, among others.

In recent years, Bleacher Report has transformed its editorial team with an added focus on the delivery of premium shows and video content. B/R has built out its content division under the leadership of recently hired Sam Toles as Chief Content Officer, Bleacher Report. B/R currently reaches more than 200 million fans each month with 75% of its audience under the age of 34…

…According to Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand, Fox Sports and NFL Hall of Famer Chris Carter have parted ways. Carter, who has been at the network since December 2016, expressed his dissatisfaction with not being used on the Thursday Night Football pregame show. Former New York Giants lineman Chris Canty has been his replacement for the show, First Things First, which also features Nick Wright and Jenna Wolfe

…Two commentator teams comprised of talented and authentic voices from ESPN’s college football and NFL rosters will call ABC and ESPN’s 22-game schedule during the XFL 2020 season.

Play-by-play voice Steve Levy, analyst Greg McElroy, field analyst Tom Luginbill, and reporter Dianna Russini will call the highly-anticipated XFL kickoff game – Seattle Dragons vs. DC Defenders (Feb. 8), the West Final (April 19), the XFL Championship (April 26) and weekly Saturday games on ABC in 2020.

Play-by-play voice Tom Hart, analyst Joey Galloway, and field analyst Pat McAfee will call weekly Sunday games on ESPN and ABC, beginning with the St. Louis BattleHawks vs. Dallas Renegades (Feb. 9, ESPN).

ESPN coordinating producer Bill Bonnell, who produces ABC’s Saturday Night Football and the College Football National Championship, will oversee ABC/ESPN’s overall XFL production. Bonnell was NBC’s senior coordinating producer in charge of production of the original XFL in 2001, which introduced a variety of innovations that were later adopted by other football broadcasts, including the full-time use of Skycam, enhanced audio and cameras on the field. Weekly XFL games will be produced by ESPN producers Josh Hoffman (Saturdays) and Mandy Cohen (Sundays)…

LaPhonso Ellis has joined College GameDay Covered by State Farm, with host Rece Davis and analysts Jay Bilas and Seth Greenberg. Ellis joins the traveling pregame show as analyst Jay Williams transitions into a new role on NBA Countdown.

New additions to the roster include analyst Jon Crispin, former Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew, former Fairfield head coach Sydney Johnson, Baylor standout King McClure, and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame member, Olympic Gold medalist, and national champion Andrea Lloyd. New ACCN commentators include Duke great and WNBA champion Alana Beard, Dan Bonner, Carlos Boozer, Kelly Gramlich, Luke Hancock, Monica McNutt, and Chelsea Shine-Wilson.

Bilas and Dan Shulman will team up again this season, calling the top matchups and Saturday Primetime games throughout the season.