Seen on Screen: ESPN Fills Programming With Dog, Senior Day, Peyton Manning Content; NBC Sports Northwest Runs Through Classic Portland Trail Blazers Games

Seen on Screen provides a roundup of the current sports programming landscape as networks deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In this week’s edition, major networks like NBC Sports, Fox Sports, and ESPN are combating the silence of no live sports with previously-released, taped, or archival content. Many networks have also continued producing live studio content – often with on-air talent located remotely.

Man’s Best Friend will take center stage on Monday night, March 23, as ESPN2 celebrates “National Puppy Day” with six hours of dog-related programming in primetime beginning at 6 p.m. ET.

The featured programming will all either star or be related to furry good girls and boys and their connection to sports. The lineup:

6 p.m. – AKC Agility Premier Cup
Top AKC Agility dogs and handlers from around the country in competition on exciting and challenging agility courses designed to test their athleticism as well as their teamwork with their handler.

7 p.m. – Dog Tales
Three popular and touching dog-related features from the E:60 and SportsCenter SC Featured storytelling brands – Arthur, Fenway’s Best Friend and A Warrior’s Way.

8 p.m. – ESPN Championship Pup
ESPN’s campus is turned into a doggie competition arena for action in three different AKC-sanctioned dog venues: Agility, Dock Diving, and Flyball. Anita Marks hosts coverage with commentary/analysis by Gina DiNardo of AKC.TV and Matt Nelson, founder of the immensely popular “We Rate Dogs” and “Thoughts of Dog” social handles.

9 p.m. – E:60 Pictures: Owen + Haatchi
An E:60 story from 2014 about a boy and his dog. But not just any boy, and not just any dog. Together, Owen and Haatchi, with their improbable winning streak and their remarkable bond, are like nothing ever seen. Winner of the Edward R. Murrow Journalism Award.

9:30 p.m. – Always Late with Katie Nolan
A special “dog” edition of the popular late-night program features one of Katie’s favorite subjects: dogs. Katie welcomes some furry friends to the sets of ESPN’s programs and she and the doggos have fun at the expense of some notable ESPN personalities.

10 p.m. – ESPN Great Outdoor Games Highlights
Two hours of highlights of dog competitions from the 2004 and 2005 ESPN Great Outdoor Games including agility, disc dogs, big air, launch, and more.

The programming was all part of the inaugural “ESPN Dog Day” held in August…

…Over the next four weeks, NBC Sports Northwest will air Trail Blazers Classic Games, beginning this Sunday, March 22, with the 1977 NBA Finals at 4 p.m. PT.

In total, NBC Sports Northwest will air 12 Trail Blazers Classic Games, culminating on Wednesday, April 15 with Game 6 of the 1992 Western Conference Finals at 6 p.m. PT.

Highlights of the classic games include nine NBA Playoffs and Finals matchups, Damian Lillard’s 61-point performance in January, and Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler’s near quadruple-double in 1986.

Weekend games will air during previously scheduled Trail Blazers game windows, while all weekday games will follow NBC Sports Northwest Rip City Radio’s Rip City Drive, which airs from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. PT.

Throughout the games, combinations of NBC Sports Northwest’s Jordan Kent, Michael Holton, Lamar Hurd, and Travis Demers will host pre-, halftime, and postgame coverage…

…In lieu of several sport seasons cut short, ESPNU will celebrate and honor seniors across high school, men’s college basketball and women’s college basketball this week. Beginning Monday, March 23, ESPNU will present 12 hours of games each day to celebrate the careers and performances of a number of student-athletes who made their mark on the sport throughout the season, but saw it end prematurely as a result of the cancellation of conference tournaments and NCAA Tournaments.

Inspired by Scott Van Pelt’s #SeniorNight features, programming will spotlight several seniors across the sport, including Naismith Player of the Year Trophy finalists, Wooden Award winner (2019) and 2020 finalists, Basketball Hall of Fame’s five positional award finalists, conference players of the year, and first-team all-conference athletes. Additionally, Wednesday’s schedule highlights a number of high school athletes who have committed to top Division I programs.

Click HERE for a full schedule…

…ESPN has shifted the encore presentation of the Academy-Award winning 30 for 30 documentary “O.J.: Made in America” which will now air in primetime from March 24-26. The film originally premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2016, premiered on ABC/ESPN in June 2016, and won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the 89th Academy Awards in February 2017.

It is perhaps the defining cultural tale of 20th-century America, one that centers around two of our country’s greatest fixations: race and celebrity. Directed by Peabody-, Emmy- and Academy-Award winner Ezra Edelman, “O.J.: Made in America” explores these themes in tracing a personal journey, from how Orenthal James Simpson first became a football star, to why the country fell in love with him off the field, to his being accused of murdering his ex-wife, his subsequent acquittal and then ultimately serving a jail sentence for another crime.

Click HERE for a full schedule…

…ESPN2 will celebrate Peyton Manning’s birthday with five hours of special primetime programming dedicated to the legendary NFL quarterback on Tuesday, March 24. Beginning at 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2 will present five volumes of Peyton’s Places compilation episodes, SEC Storied: The Book of Manning documentary and NFL highlights shows that look back at signature performances during Manning’s playing career. The two-time Super Bowl champion and five-time NFL MVP turns 44 years old on Tuesday.

The night of Manning-themed programming begins with Peyton’s Places: Volumes 1-5, 30-minute compilation shows hosted by ESPN Radio and NFL host Trey Wingo. Each volume pulls top moments from the 30-episode Peyton’s Places original series produced by NFL Films and ESPN+ that debuted new weekly episodes from August 2019 through February 2020, exclusively on ESPN+, as part of the National Football League’s 100th season celebration. The football-themed series revisits seminal moments in NFL history through Manning’s conversations with current and former players, coaches and other key figures about football history and its cultural impact. All 30 original episodes of Peyton’s Places continue to be available exclusively on ESPN+.

At 9:30 p.m., ESPN2 will feature an encore presentation of ESPN Films’ 2013 SEC Storied documentary “The Book of Manning”. Directed by Rory Karpf and narrated by actor John Goodman, the film explores the personal and professional life of former NFL and Ole Miss quarterback Archie Manning and how the sudden loss of his father impacted his life and the way he and his wife, Olivia, raised their three sons, Cooper, Peyton, and Eli.

The evening concludes with NFL Films’ Super Bowl Highlights: Super Bowl XLI – Indianapolis Colts vs. Chicago Bears (Manning’s first Super Bowl victory) at 11 p.m. followed by NFL’s Greatest Games: 2015 AFC Championship – Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots, highlighting Manning’s two-touchdown performance which propelled Denver to 20-18 win and eventually a Super Bowl 50 titles.

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