Behind the Mic: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman Head to ESPN To Lead New Monday Night Football Booth
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, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman leave Fox Sports to join ESPN’s new Monday Night Football booth, NESN announces their talent lineup for the 2022 Boston Red Sox season, and more.
ESPN Signs Legendary NFL Duo Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to Multi-Year Agreements to Become New Voices of Monday Night Football
ESPN has signed play-by-play commentator Joe Buck and football analyst Troy Aikman to multi-year deals, as the NFL’s longest current booth pairing and Pro Football Hall of Fame members will become the new voices of Monday Night Football. The iconic duo’s 2022 Monday Night Football debut will mark their 21st NFL season in the booth together, matching the legendary Pat Summerall and John Madden’s all-time record as on-air NFL partners. In their two decades together, Buck and Aikman have called six Super Bowls, surpassing all other pairings/booths except for Summerall and Madden. Commentator Lisa Salters, Monday Night Football’s longest-tenured sideline reporter, will return for her 11th season on the series. John Parry will be the officiating analyst once again.
As part of the agreement, Buck and Aikman will both contribute content to ESPN+, with more details to be announced at a later date.
Buck and Aikman’s regular-season Monday Night Football debut is set for September 12, 2022, beginning the longstanding television series’ 53rd season. Phil Dean will return as producer, and Jimmy Platt as director, for their third and fourth seasons, respectively, on the weekly franchise. On the same night, Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli will return for a second season.
NESN Debuts Talent Roster for 2022 Boston Red Sox Season
NESN has announced the talent roster for the 2022 Boston Red Sox season. NESN’s coverage of the 2022 season will include extensive game coverage plus hour-long pre- and post-game shows.
The broadcast booth will feature returning play-by-play announcer Dave O’Brien, as well as Massachusetts native Mike Monaco contributing to play-by-play duties. Color analysts throughout the season in the broadcast booth will include: Dennis Eckersley and newcomers Tony Massarotti, Kevin Millar, and Kevin Youkilis. Jahmai Webster will serve as sideline reporter.
NESN’s pre- and post-game coverage will be hosted by long-time NESN host Tom Caron, who will be joined by a lineup of Red Sox legends including returning analysts Ellis Burks, Lenny Dinardo, Jim Rice, and Tim Wakefield, plus new addition to the roster Will Middlebrooks. Mo Vaughn will contribute on select days to the pre-game coverage from his at-home batting cage. Adam Pellerin will join the broadcast as occasional host.
West Virginia Univ. Head Coach Bob Huggins & 15-Year Veteran Frank Martin Join NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Coverage as Guest Studio Analysts
Turner Sports and CBS Sports has added West Virginia University Head Coach Bob Huggins and veteran Division I Head Coach Frank Martin as guest studio analysts for coverage of the 2022 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship airing across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV. Martin and Huggins has joined the Atlanta studio team with host Nabil Karim and analysts Candace Parker, Seth Davis and Rex Chapman.
Huggins is in the top-10 all-time in NCAA Division I Men’s coaching victories, having led four different programs for a total of 37 seasons. He has coached WVU since 2007 and made 10 NCAA Tournament appearances with the Mountaineers, including a Final Four appearance in 2010. Huggins also coached Akron (1984-89), Cincinnati (1989-2005) and Kansas State (2006-07).
Martin is a 15-year coaching veteran, compiling a 288-201 record with South Carolina (2012-2022; 171-147) and Kansas State (2007-12; 117-54). He led the Gamecocks to the 2017 Men’s Final Four, his deepest run of five NCAA Tournament appearances.
ESPN Re-Signs NBA Analyst Doris Burke with Multi-Year Extension
Doris Burke is continuing her illustrious career with the four-letter network. The Curt Gowdy Media Award-winning analyst will continue her high-profile assignments, including ESPN and ABC NBA games throughout the regular season and NBA Playoffs, NBA Finals on ESPN Radio, and NBA Sunday Showcase on ABC.
Expanding the Andscape Brand with New Senior Culture Editor Britni Danielle
Britni Danielle, formerly of Shondaland.com, has been named senior culture editor of Andscape, a rebranded and expanded version of The Undefeated. In her new role, Danielle will focus on expository features surrounding African-American music, theater, film and fashion, as well as other areas of the entertainment industry. She will be based in her hometown of Los Angeles, Calif., and will report to Steve Reiss, Executive Editor for Culture and Enterprise.
In her role as culture editor at Shondaland.com from 2019-2022, Danielle produced weekly content and managed the television/film, entertainment and social interest coverage. Prior to Shondaland.com, Danielle was a creative force behind Ebony.com’s social media growth as the entertainment and culture director, in 2016, followed by a contributing writer and editor position at Essence.com, in 2018.
Danielle obtained a Bachelor of Arts, in English, from the University of Southern California and a Master of Fine Arts, creative writing, from the City University of New York Brooklyn College. She is also founder of The Write Pitch, a writing course for aspiring freelance journalists.
Multifaceted Women’s Basketball Writer Alexa Philippou Joins ESPN
Multitalented reporter Alexa Philippou will join ESPN as a full-time women’s basketball writer, covering both college basketball and the WNBA. Philippou joins ESPN from the Hartford Courant where she covered the UConn Huskies and the Connecticut Sun.
Philippou was with the Hartford Courant from 2019 to 2022. Prior to The Courant, her work could be seen in the Dallas Morning News, Seattle Times and Cincinnati Enquirer.
Originally from Baltimore, Md., Philippou earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Stanford in 2018.
Matt Miller Returns to ESPN as NFL Draft Analyst, Adding More Robust Coverage to ESPN+ Premium Editorial Content
ESPN has hired Matt Miller as a multi-platform contributor for its year-round NFL Draft coverage. Miller’s addition further amplifies the comprehensive information and deep-dive analysis available to ESPN+ Premium Editorial Content subscribers, where the vast majority of his original content will be found.
Miller, Bleacher Report’s former lead NFL Draft writer from 2010-21, will also be a regular on ESPN studio shows including Get Up!, SportsCenter, and NFL Live leading up to the NFL Draft each year. Viewers can also expect appearances from Miller on multiple Mock Draft specials, ESPN Radio and more, including expertise on NFL free-agent storylines.
Prior to Bleacher Report, Miller worked as Director of Scouting for New Era Scouting from 2006-10 and was a coach and recruiting coordinator for the CFL’s Joplin Crusaders from 2006-08. A native of the Joplin, Missouri area, Miller attended Missouri Southern State University and gives back to the community he grew up in through his 417 Foundation, which supports children in southwest Missouri.
Award-Winning Host Angela Rye Will Join ESPN as a Special Correspondent
ESPN has signed award-winning commentator Angela Rye to contribute topical features, commentaries, and essays across various shows and platforms. Rye will provide perspective on sports-related matters of race and culture and social justice issues. She will also make in-studio appearances and produce stories under the ESPN Black History Always banner.
Some of Rye’s features will include topics such as Jackie Robinson’s impact 75 years after he broke the color barrier; a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX; the role athletes play in social justice movements; and difference makers at HBCUs.
Rye will continue hosting her podcast, On One with Angela Rye and was recently named to this year’s YouTube Black Voices project. To date, she has been seen on outlets from Breakfast Club to the Daily Show, HBO, CNN, ABC, NBC, NPR, Tidal, and BET where she produced award-winning specials through her production company, 206 Productions. She serves as Principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies, a political advocacy and social equity firm she founded. She served as the Executive Director and General Counsel to the Congressional Black Caucus for the 112th Congress.
ESPN Re-Signs NBA Host and Reporter Cassidy Hubbarth with Multi-Year Extension
ESPN has re-signed NBA host and reporter Cassidy Hubbarth with a multi-year contract extension. Hubbarth will continue to serve as one of ESPN’s lead hosts and reporters on its NBA property.
Hubbarth regularly appears as a sideline reporter for NBA games on ESPN and ABC, including in the regular season and NBA Playoffs. She also contributes to ESPN’s NBA Summer League game coverage. Additionally, Hubbarth hosted the 2022 Ruffles NBA All-Star Celebrity Game broadcast on Feb. 18.
Hubbarth is the lead host of Hoop Streams, ESPN’s NBA digital pregame show, which is carried on ESPN social media platforms and the ESPN App prior to marquee games. She joined ESPN in 2010 and has hosted ESPN’s former NBA Tonight and NBA Coast to Coast shows, as well as its college football wraps coverage on ABC. She’s also hosted Sneaker Center on ESPN+ and has regularly appeared on SportsCenter, Get Up, First Take and other ESPN news and information platforms.
Hubbarth graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She is a native of Evanston, IL.
Alex Avila & Cameron Maybin Join MLB Network
Former MLB All-Star catcher Alex Avila and 2017 World Series Champion Cameron Maybin have joined MLB Network’s roster of on-air analysts. Both newly retired players are appearing across MLB Network’s studio programming. Avila, who spent 13 years in Major League Baseball (2009-2021), recently joined MLB Network as a guest analyst during the 2021 Postseason. Maybin played 15 Major League seasons (2007-2021).
Drafted by the Detroit Tigers in Round 5 of the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft, Avila would go on to spend eight years in Detroit (2009-2015 & 2017), including representing the organization in the 2011 MLB All-Star Game. For his career, Avila collected 714 hits, 352 runs, 297 RBI, 155 doubles and 105 home runs in 1,052 Major League games. In 2011, Avila received the Silver Slugger award as a catcher by posting 137 hits, 82 RBI, 33 doubles and 19 home runs in a career-high 141 games. Defensively in 2011, Avila ranked first in defensive games as a catcher (133), caught stealing as a catcher (40) and double plays turned as a catcher (14). Avila, who had a standout career for the University of Alabama, made six different trips to the Postseason, including playing a key role on the 2012 American League Champion Tigers.
Drafted by the Tigers in the First Round, 10th overall, of the 2005 MLB Amateur Draft, Maybin played for 10 different organizations in his career, including the Tigers (2007, 2016 & 2020), Florida Marlins (2008-10) and San Diego Padres (2011-14). After appearing in the 2006 and 2007 All-Star Futures Game, Maybin compiled 973 hits, 556 runs scored, 368 walks, 354 RBI, 187 stolen bases, 173 doubles and 72 home runs in 1,162 Major League games. In 2016, Maybin posted a career best .315 batting average and .383 on-base percentage for the Tigers. In his final five seasons, Maybin played for three different Postseason teams, including the 2017 World Series Champion Astros, who won the Fall Classic in seven games against the Los Angeles Dodgers. As a member of the 2019 AL East Division-winning Yankees, Maybin batted .285 with 11 home runs in 82 games. Maybin is the founder of Maybin Mission, a charitable platform that includes Camp Maybin, Streets to Peaks and Holiday Projects for kids in his hometown of Asheville, NC, plus he also sits on the leadership board of The Players Alliance.
ESPN Re-Signs SportsCenter, College Football Anchor Matt Barrie to New, Multiyear Deal
ESPN has re-signed SportsCenter anchor and college football/golf commentator Matt Barrie to a new, multiyear contract to remain with the company.
Barrie is the regular co-anchor of the noon ET edition of SportsCenter, ESPN’s signature sports news and information program, with Sage Steele. In addition, he leads ESPN’s studio college football coverage on Friday and Saturdays. He also calls college football play-by-play on game telecasts.
Barrie also is part of ESPN’s coverage of golf majors. He will anchor SportsCenter segments and reports from the Masters Tournament, and in May, he’ll do the same from the PGA Championship as well as hosting live featured group coverage on ESPN+.
A native of Scottsdale, AZ, Barrie joined ESPN in 2013. The recipient of 11 Sports Emmy Awards and three Edward R. Murrow Journalism Awards, he previously worked in local television in the Dallas/Fort Worth market as well as in Columbia, S.C., Wausau, WI, and Lawton, OK.
Barrie graduated from Arizona State University with a B.A. in broadcast Journalism from ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. In 2020, he was inducted into the school’s Alumni Hall of Fame.
Ryan Smith Signs New Deal with ESPN; SportsCenter Anchor Role Expanded
ESPN has re-signed anchor and legal analyst Ryan Smith to a new, multiyear deal and has moved the Philadelphia-area native into an expanded role with SportsCenter.
As part of his new deal, Smith’s position as an anchor for SportsCenter has been expanded from a fill-in status to a permanent co-anchor of the 7 a.m. ET edition of ESPN’s signature news and information program for several days each week.
In addition, Smith is continuing his role as a legal analyst and is reporting feature stories and investigative pieces across multiple ESPN platforms, and for ABC News. He also continues as a fill-in host for other editions of SportsCenter as well as Get Up and Outside the Lines.
Smith joined ESPN fulltime in 2017 after having contributed as a legal analyst and fill-in host for Outside the Lines since he joined ABC in 2014.
Before joining ABC News, Smith served as the nightly news anchor at CNN’s Headline News, where he reported on a variety of stories including the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School and some of the most high-profile trials including those of Casey Anthony and George Zimmerman.
A graduate of Syracuse University and Columbia Law, Smith previously served as an attorney for the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and practiced Sports and Entertainment Law in New York City.
Ruben Amaro, Jr., A.J. Andrews, Keiana Martin, Bo Porter & Siera Santos Join MLB Network
Ruben Amaro, Jr., A.J. Andrews, Keiana Martin, Bo Porter, and Siera Santos have joined MLB Network’s lineup of on-air personalities appearing across the network’s studio programming. Amaro and Porter will serve as analysts, while Andrews, Martin and Santos join as hosts and reporters.
Amaro, the veteran front office executive, joins MLB Network following time in the New York Mets organization from 2018 through 2019. Following his eight-year playing career as an outfielder, Amaro was named the assistant general manager for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1998 before ascending to the role of executive vice president and general manager in November 2008. The Phillies captured the National League East division title in 2009, 2010 and 2011, the first three years under Amaro’s direction. During his tenure, the Phillies won the 2009 National League pennant, and finished with the best record in the Major Leagues in 2010 and 2011. Following his time with the Phillies, Amaro transitioned to the field as the Boston Red Sox first base coach in 2016 and 2017, before becoming the Mets first base coach in 2018. Amaro moved to the Mets’ front office as a special advisor in 2019. Amaro has most recently contributed to NBC Sports Philadelphia as a Phillies analyst, a role he will continue this season.
As part of today’s announcement, Andrews has been named the new host of Play Ball, MLB Network’s weekly kids-focused program, which returns for its seventh season on Saturday, April 9 at 10:00 a.m. ET. Andrews’ collegiate softball career began with Louisiana State University (2012-2015) – where she participated in two Women’s College World Series – before joining the Chicago Bandits (2015) of National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) and the Akron Racers (2016) as an outfielder, becoming the first women to ever win a Rawlings Gold Glove Award. Prior to college softball, Andrews played for Countryside High School in Clearwater, FL and was named Pinellas County Player of the Year, leading the state in stolen bases and batting average as a senior. Andrews also serves as an in-studio analyst for the SEC Network and hosts for the likes of BETMGM, PlayersTV, and ESPN’s special ‘Unapologetic the Black Female Athlete’.
Martin will host across MLB Network’s studio programming, including a regular role on Quick Pitch, MLB Network’s highlights show of record, plus Big Inning, MLB.TV’s live whip-around program. Martin comes to MLB Network having served as the senior team reporter for the San Francisco 49ers the last five years. Martin has contributed on-camera and written content for the team website and media channels, plus hosted the live in-studio show, “49ers Live.” Regular 49ers programs on NBC Sports Bay Area have also been hosted by Martin for the last several years. Martin’s media career has included stops with AOL Sports (2014), the Kansas City Chiefs (2016) and the Denver Nuggets (2016-2017). Martin, who is a Los Angeles native, graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Integrated Marketing Communications.
Porter, the former player, manager, coach and executive, will make his MLB Network debut by contributing to the network’s Grapefruit League coverage from March 24-27. Following his playing career and coaching roles with the Miami Marlins and Arizona Diamondbacks, Porter served as the Washington Nationals third base coach in 2011 and 2012. At age 40, the Houston Astros hired Porter as their manager in 2013, making him the youngest manager in MLB at the time, a position he would have for the next two seasons. From 2016 through 2017, Porter was the special assistant to the general manager for the Atlanta Braves, before assuming the role of Director of Player Development and Youth Initiative for the Major League Baseball Players Association from 2018 through 2019. Porter has most recently served as the Director of Coaching Development for MLB since February 2021. Porter’s broadcast experience includes guest analyst work with MLB Network in 2014, plus a regular role with MASN covering the Nationals in 2019 and 2020. Porter most recently called the 2022 Andre Dawson Classic on MLB Network.
Santos will host across MLB Network’s studio programming, including a regular presence on Quick Pitch and Big Inning. Santos joins MLB Network following her role as a sports anchor and reporter for FOX 10 in Phoenix, AZ. Prior to her time in Phoenix, Santos was a sports anchor for FOX 32 in Chicago (2018-2020), and hosted NBC Sports Chicago’s Fast Break and In The Loop programs from 2015-2018. As a member of NBC Sports Chicago, Santos served as the beat reporter for the Chicago White Sox, appearing on pregame, in-game and postgame during White Sox broadcasts. Santos’ career began with Colorado Springs’ KOAA TV (2012-2013), followed by Oklahoma City’s KWTV (2013-2014), and Los Angeles’ KCBS (2014-2015). In Los Angeles, Santos hosted the nightly sports show Sports Central on KCAL9, as well as pre-game and post-game reports for the all the local teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels. Santos, who is a Phoenix native, graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and minor in Spanish.