Behind the Mic: Henrik Lundqvist Joins MSG Networks; HBO Sports Orders Game Theory With Bomani Jones
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, Henrik Lundqvist joins MSG Networks,HBO Sports orders Game Theory With Bomani Jones, and more.
Henrik Lundqvist Joins MSG Networks as Studio Analyst for New York Rangers Coverage
One of the most decorated and accomplished goaltenders in NHL history, Lundqvist joins his former teammate and Rangers analyst Steve Valiquette and host John Giannone in studio for pregame, intermission and postgame coverage on MSG Networks.
Lundqvist played 15 seasons in the net for the Rangers and finished his storied career with a franchise-record 459 wins, which ranks sixth all-time in league history. He was named to five NHL All-Star teams and won the prestigious Vezina Trophy in 2012, an annual award given to the league’s top goaltender. Lundqvist is the only goalie to start his career with seven consecutive 30-win seasons (2005-12) and currently holds the record for most wins by a European-born goaltender in the NHL.
Throughout his career, Lundqvist led the Rangers to an incredible 11 playoff appearances in a 12-year span, which was highlighted by a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2014. During his memorable playoff runs with the Rangers, he earned six Game 7 wins, tied for the most in NHL history. Lundqvist had a distinguished international hockey playing career as well, winning an Olympic gold medal with the Swedish men’s team at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
Lundqvist will have his number 30 retired into the rafters at Madison Square Garden during a ceremony prior to the Rangers game versus the Minnesota Wild on Friday, January 28.
Lundqvist’s other new teammates on the Rangers broadcast team include Hall of Fame play-by-play announcer Sam Rosen, analyst Joe Micheletti and in-game host and reporter Michelle Gingras. Kenny Albert and former Rangers captain Dave Maloney call the action on ESPN 98.7 radio.
HBO Sports Orders Game Theory With Bomani Jones
HBO has ordered Game Theory With Bomani Jones, a weekly, late-night series starring Emmy-winning, sports journalist and commentator Bomani Jones, that will break down timely issues playing out in the world of sports. Production will take place in New York starting in 2022.
Jones is currently a contributor on HBO’s Back on The Record with Bob Costas and has appeared in the HBO Sports documentaries The Battle for Tobacco Road: Duke vs. Carolina and Runnin’ Rebels. Jones has spent over 15 years in sports media, most notably at ESPN. As the co-host of Highly Questionable and High Noon and the podcast The Right Time with Bomani Jones, Jones has enriched sports commentary in his own unique style.
Game Theory With Bomani Jones is executive produced by Jones, Stuart Miller, Seth Weitberg, and Adam McKay as well as Todd Schulman from Hyperobject Industries.
ESPN Announces Jordan & Shea Cornette to Take Over Hosting SportsNation on ESPN+
ESPN duo Jordan and Shea Cornette have taken over hosting duties for SportsNation.
Each weekday morning, the Cornettes will be joined by a rotation of special guests, analysts and commentators, including ESPN’s Christine Williamson, Arda Ocal, Jason Fitz, Sam Acho, Gary Striewski, Omar Raja, and Stephania Bell, among others. Together, they will provide a look at the previous night’s most resonant plays and dig into social reaction, debate, Top 5 lists, deep dives, interviews and more.
Jordan Cornette joined ESPN in 2018 as a college basketball analyst. In 2019, Cornette helped launch ACCN, and is a staple on the network’s 24/7 coverage. A versatile talent, Cornette serves as host of ACCN’s signature football studio program The Huddle every Saturday throughout football season along with the network’s flagship nightly news and information show All ACC. Along with his ACCN analyst and hosting duties, Cornette also serves as studio host, studio analyst and color commentator on ESPN during college basketball season. He can also be found Sundays on ESPN radio with his wife, Shae, hosting Gameday with The Cornette’s.
Shae Peppler Cornette is the host of ESPN Radio’s GameDay on weekends alongside her husband and co-host Jordan Cornette – the first married couple to host a national ESPN Radio show. She is also a regular across ESPN’s other studio show programming across TV and radio as well as the network’s championship college sports coverage and digital shows surrounding marquee events. In addition, Peppler Cornette hosts the nationally broadcast SiriusXM NFL Radio where she is joined by a rotating team of former NFL veterans, front office personnel and NFL coaches.
Jeff Gorton Joins NHL Network as Studio Analyst
Jeff Gorton, the New York Rangers former general manager, has joined its lineup of on-air talent as a studio analyst. Gorton, who previously served as a guest analyst during NHL Network’s coverage of the 2021 NHL Draft, is appearing across NHL Network’s studio programming, including NHL Tonight, NHL Now, and On The Fly.
Gorton joins NHL Network following almost 30 seasons in the NHL with the Rangers and Boston Bruins. Gorton spent 14 seasons with the Rangers, holding the position of General Manager for six seasons (2015-2021), following four seasons as Assistant General Manager (2011-2014), three as Assistant Director, Player Personnel (2008-2010), and his first as a Professional Scout (2007). Prior to the Rangers, Gorton served as Director of Scouting Information (1994-2005) and Interim General Manager (2006) for the Bruins, having began his NHL career in Public Relations (1992-1993).
While Gorton was in their front office, the Rangers advanced to the Stanley Cup Playoffs ten different seasons, including a trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2014 and Eastern Conference Final appearances in 2012 and 2015. As Rangers general manager, Gorton most recently added NHL All-Star Mika Zibanejad, 2020 – 2021 Norris Trophy Award-winner Adam Fox and NHL All-Star Artemi Panarin to the roster. In addition to his NHL positions, Gorton served on the U.S. Men’s National Team Advisory Group during the 2020 IIHF World Championship.
Former Tar Heel Standouts Joel Berry II and KJ Smith Join ACC Network’s Studio Team
Former North Carolina men’s basketball standouts Joel Berry II and KJ Smith have signed deals to join ACC Network as college basketball studio analysts. Berry II will appear weekly on ACCN’s signature basketball show Nothing But Net, while Smith will contribute on All ACC along with serving as a social media correspondent on the network’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram handles.
One of the most decorated players in North Carolina men’s basketball history, Berry II helped the Tar Heels to the 2017 NCAA Championship and an appearance in the 2016 NCAA title game. He was named the 2017 NCAA Most Outstanding Player following a 22-point, six-assist effort in the title game, along with being named to the All-Final Four Teams in ’16 and ‘17. The Apopka, Fla., native earned third-team NBCA All-America and first team All-ACC honors in 2018, and was a finalist for both the James A. Sullivan and Bob Cousy awards that season. In addition, he also earned second team All-ACC honors in 2017, and was named the 2016 ACC Tournament MVP following the Tar Heels’ championship run.
During his four-year career in Chapel Hill, Berry II played a role in 109 Carolina victories, including 14 NCAA Tournament and 10 ACC Tournament wins. He recorded 1,813 points and 451 assists.
Smith played three seasons at North Carolina from 2018-21, appearing in 50 games and helping the Tar Heels to NCAA Tournament appearances in 2019 and 2021. Following graduation in 2021, Smith joined On3 Sports covering college and high school basketball and recruiting.
Smith’s father, Kenny Smith Sr., played at North Carolina from 1983-87 where he earned Basketball Times National Player of the Year honors in 1987 and is the Tar Heels’ all-time leader in assists and steals.
Paolo Uggetti Joins ESPN as College Football Writer
Paolo Uggetti, one of the nation’s most talented young sports journalists, has joined ESPN as a college football writer.
Uggetti has covered the NBA nationally for The Ringer for the past five years, writing features on everything from Devin Booker’s Mexican heritage to players’ mental health in the bubble, to tracking down the KIA that Blake Griffin dunked over in the 2011 dunk contest.
Uggetti also interned with The Wall Street Journal sports department, where he discovered the kinds of stories he loves to write — niche, sometimes quirky, but always human.
Uggetti is proudly from El Salvador but moved to Los Angeles when he was nine years old, falling in love with other sports besides fútbol. Uggetti is fluent in his native Spanish and graduated from USC in 2017. There, he covered the Trojans football team for two seasons and won two LA Press Club awards for stories he wrote for the student-run online publication.
Sportscaster Rod Black Signs Off from TSN
After more than 30 years at Bell Media, prominent sportscaster Rod Black is signing off from the network.
Black’s broadcasting career spans almost 40 years, and during that time he has been involved in a multitude of events and competitions. His knowledge, versatility, and enthusiasm have earned him the reputation as one of Canada’s most recognized and distinguished sportscasters.
As a play-by-play announcer for CFL on TSN and host of NBA on TSN, Black is also the voice of figure skating in Canada, covering all the drama and excitement as commentator for CTV and TSN’s figure skating coverage. A former co-host of CTV’s CANADA AM, Black’s extensive resume also includes providing commentary and play-by-play for various events during the Olympic Games in 2012, 2010, 2002, 1994, and 1992.
The recipient of the Sports Media Canada Award for Outstanding Sports Broadcaster, Black is a Canadian Screen Award Nominee for Best Sports Play-by-Play Announcer, and a five-time Gemini Award nominee for Canada’s Best Sportscaster.
A long time supporter of many causes, including Special Olympics Canada and Plan International Canada, Black received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in both 2012 and 2002 for his volunteer work.
Eric Moody Joins ESPN as Fantasy/Sports Betting Writer
ESPN has hired Eric Moody as a fantasy sports/sports betting writer. Moody will contribute fantasy and sports betting football and basketball analysis across platforms via written, audio and video content. His work will include columns for ESPN Fantasy, contributions to ESPN Chalk, and appearances on the Fantasy Focus podcast and Daily Wager.
Most recently, Moody was a senior fantasy analyst at Pro Football Network. He has written more than 700 articles for various outlets including ESPN.com, The Athletic, Pro Football Network, FantasyPros, 4for4 Football, RotoViz, and other well-known sites. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.
Moody has had a lifelong passion for the game of football and played at the collegiate level at Nicholls State University as an offensive lineman. Moody also has scouting experience from Dan Hatman’s Scouting Academy. Professionally, he has spent much of his career in the financial services industry working for three Fortune 100 companies in various advice and management roles. Moody’s background in financial services and scouting has enabled him to develop a disciplined, research process and gain experience presenting complex strategies in an easy-to-understand manner.
Moody is based in Dallas where he lives with his wife, Trina, and their two children.
Coley Harvey Returns to ESPN as Bureau Reporter
A reporter with a long history of covering multiple sports, Coley Harvey is returning to ESPN as a general assignment bureau reporter. Harvey previously worked for ESPN for six years from 2013-2019, covering the Cincinnati Bengals and the New York Yankees among many other assignments.
In his return to ESPN, among Harvey’s duties will be doing news pieces for the 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter, writing for ESPN.com and other ESPN digital platforms and reporting on breaking news.
Harvey will be based in Chicago, where he currently lives, for six months before moving to his permanent base in New York.
During his previous stint with ESPN, in addition to covering the NFL, MLB and college football, Harvey covered the sports connections of the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas and was part of SportsCenter’s coverage of the death of Muhammad Ali in 2016.
For the past two years, Harvey was an on-air personality for FOX Sports and the Big Ten Network, working as a sideline reporter on college football and Major League Baseball broadcasts. He also hosted studio shows for BTN.
Earlier in his career, Harvey served as the Florida State beat reporter for the Orlando Sentinel and before that covered Georgia Tech athletics for the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph.
An Atlanta native, Harvey is a graduate of Northwestern University.