Behind The Mic: Prime Video Adds Taylor Rooks to Thursday Night Football, Dennis Eckersley Announces Final Red Sox Season

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, Prime Video adds Taylor Rooks to Thursday Night Football as feature reporter, Dennis Eckersley announces final Red Sox Season as color commentator with NESN and more.

Prime Video Adds Taylor Rooks to Thursday Night Football as Feature Reporter

Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football continues to add accomplished on-air and on-field talent to the roster, as the streamer announced today that Taylor Rooks will join its wraparound coverage as a feature reporter. Rooks will host feature pieces, sit-down interviews with players and coaches, and more throughout TNF’s pregame, halftime, and postgame shows.
In addition to her new role on TNF, Rooks will continue to work across Turner Sports’ programming and Bleacher Report, where she hosts Taylor Rooks X, Bleacher Report’s first show built around an individual talent. She also was Emmy- nominated last year for “Outstanding Personality/Emerging On-Air Talent.”

Prior to Bleacher Report, Taylor served as the reporter and anchor for SportsNet New York (SNY), and hosted her own podcast, TimeOut with Taylor Rooks. She previously worked as a host and reporter for the Big Ten Network, as well as a sideline reporter for CBS Sports Network. A native of Georgia, Taylor attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she majored in broadcast journalism and reported on football and basketball recruiting for She made national news with her stories and knowledge of basketball—specifically in recruiting—and interned with the PGA TOUR, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, and Fox Sports.

Kicking off September 15, Prime Video will become the first streaming service to air a season-long exclusive national broadcast package with the NFL. The 11-year deal includes 15 regular-season games and one preseason game per year, with Prime Video also delivering new pregame, halftime, and postgame shows as well as fan-favorite interactive features like X-Ray and Next Gen Stats powered by AWS.

Dennis Eckersley Announces Final Red Sox Season As Color Commentator With NESN

The beloved commentator, known for his effortless banter and smart analysis, began his broadcasting career with NESN in 2003 as a studio analyst and later joined the broadcast booth in 2009. Eckersley was awarded a 2021 New England Emmy Award for his role on the NESN Red Sox broadcast team.

As a 6-time All-Star pitcher in the major leagues, Eckersley was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004 after pitching 24 seasons with 5 teams (Cleveland, Boston, Chicago Cubs, Oakland, and St. Louis), including two stints with the Red Sox (1978-84, 1998). He won both the AL MVP and the Cy Young Award in 1992, becoming just the second relief pitcher to win both in one year.

Matthew Berry Joins NBC Sports

Matthew Berry has agreed to a multi-year deal to join NBC Sports as an analyst to provide his unique expertise across Peacock, NBC and NBC Sports digital platforms, it was announced today.

Berry will join Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports, preceding primetime television’s No. 1 show Sunday Night Football each week during the NFL season on NBC and Peacock. He will also appear on Sunday Night Football Final, Peacock’s exclusive NFL post-game show.

Berry will bring his football expertise to viewers throughout the NFL season with a weekly game-day fantasy football and sports betting show every Sunday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. ET on Peacock and NBC Sports digital platforms.

On weekdays throughout the NFL season, Berry will create a daily show on Peacock, discussing notable fantasy football and sports betting topics. The one-hour show will also be available live via NBC Sports Audio on SiriusXM Radio and as an NBC Sports Audio podcast across all major podcast platforms. While at ESPN, Berry’s Fantasy Focus was the industry’s #1 multi-platform fantasy football show. Additionally, Berry will create content for the NFL on NBC’s YouTube page and NBC Sports Digital.

Fox Sports Charges Into 2022 NFL Season Bolstered By A Fresh, Dynamic Broadcaster Lineup And Its 10th Super Bowl Presentation On Fox

FOX Sports sets its game broadcaster roster and takes the field in September for its 29th season of NFL coverage with a lineup of voices that will pave the road to Super Bowl LVII. With two Wild Card Playoff Games, two NFC Divisional Playoff Games, the NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl LVII, FOX on-air broadcasters will call more postseason games than any network in 40 years. The 2022 FOX NFL broadcast team announcement was made today by Brad Zager, President, Production & Operations/Executive Producer, FOX Sports.

Entering their second season together, the critically acclaimed duo of play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt and three-time Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen calls FOX’s top regular and postseason games, culminating with Super Bowl LVII on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2023, live from State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Joining them from the sidelines are Erin Andrews, the first woman singularly honored with the Pat Summerall Award, and Tom Rinaldi, a 17-time Sports Emmy Award winner. Mike Pereira, former NFL Vice President of Officiating, returns as rules analyst, offering his unparalleled takes on the most pivotal calls of the week.

Burkhardt, Olsen, Andrews, Rinaldi and Pereira open Week 1 with FOX’s first edition of AMERICA’S GAME OF THE WEEK, the No. 1 show on all of television for 13 consecutive years and most-watched NFL window for the last 21 seasons, as the Minnesota Vikings host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Sept. 11, at 4:25 PM ET.

Prime Video Taps Michael Smith As News Analyst For Thursday Night Football Coverage

Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football continues to bolster its on-air talent roster for the upcoming season, as the streamer announced today that Michael Smith will join its coverage as its Thursday Night Football news analyst.

In this role, Smith will deliver and analyze the latest news from around the NFL, and advance pertinent stories with insightful commentary and information throughout Thursday Night Football’s pregame, halftime, and postgame coverage.

Michael Smith is one of sports media’s most respected, versatile, and accomplished storytellers. Since 2020, he’s been a host and commentator for NBC Sports, serving as co-host and executive producer of the sports, current events, and culture show Brother From Another on Peacock, and contributed to NBC’s pregame coverage of Super Bowl LVI. Previously, over 15 years at ESPN, Michael served as a reporter, commentator, host, and anchor. He began his time in Bristol as an NFL insider and E:60 correspondent, before going on to co-host his own daily talk show, His & Hers, and co-anchoring SportsCenter. Prior to joining ESPN, Michael was a reporter for The Boston Globe, serving as the paper’s NFL and New England Patriots beat writer. He is also the co-founder of the California- and Connecticut-based content studio, Inflection Point Entertainment, and is a member of the 2017 Class of Henry Crown Fellows within the Aspen Global Leadership Network. Smith began his career while a student at Loyola University in his hometown of New Orleans. He received his B.S. in mass communication from Loyola in 2001.

ESPN Signs Fantasy And Sports Betting Analyst Liz Loza To Multi-Year Contract

ESPN has reached a multi-year contract with Liz Loza, who will work for ESPN as a fantasy and sports betting analyst. Loza will be joining the ESPN fantasy and betting teams.

She will be a regular contributor focusing on fantasy rankings, developing weekly columns and picks, with appearances on Fantasy Football Now, Fantasy Focus Football, Daily Wager, and other studio shows.

Loza will make her ESPN debut August 10, and join the team during the ESPN Fantasy Football Marathon, with appearances on Fantasy Football Now and the Fantasy Football Draft on August 15 and 16 respectively. Her debut Daily Wager appearance will come during the upcoming football season.

Prior to joining ESPN, Loza was at Yahoo! Sports working on a variety of fantasy football-related content such as Fantasy Football Live for seven seasons, co-hosting Ekeler’s Edge with Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler and other original programming. Additionally, she interviewed numerous star athletes and coaches live from SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles as part of her coverage of Super Bowl LVI.

ESPN’s Industry-Leading College Football Coverage To Feature A Mix Of Veteran Commentators And Newcomers For 2022-23 Season

ESPN’s coverage of college football will once again feature the deepest roster of on-air personalities in the sport for the 2022-23 season – a mix of veteran voices, familiar faces, rookie commentators and highly-anticipated newcomers.

More than two dozen teams of esteemed play-by-play voices, talented analysts and intrepid reporters will cover the season from August’s Week 0 kickoff through the College Football Playoff National Championship in Los Angeles in January 2023.

Fowler, Herbstreit and Rowe Return to ABC Saturday Night Football
Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and reporter Holly Rowe will team up again to call the weekly ABC Saturday Night Football marquee matchup. The 2022 season marks Fowler and Herbstreit’s ninth year in the SNF booth and their 27th season as college football teammates, beginning in 1996 on College GameDay. Fowler and Herbstreit, who recently signed a new ESPN extension, have called all eight College Football Playoff National Championship games together. Rowe, who won a Sports Emmy for her sideline reporting during the 2021-22 season, joined the team in 2021 and is in her 27th college football season for ESPN and ABC.

McDonough, Blackledge and McGrath Return to ESPN Saturday Night Primetime
Sean McDonough and Todd Blackledge return to ESPN’s Saturday Night Primetime for the fourth year, joined for a third season by reporter Molly McGrath. McDonough, who called his first NHL Stanley Cup Final in June, and Blackledge combine for more than four decades of broadcast experience, while McGrath – who worked her first CFP National Championship game in January – covers a multitude of college sports across ESPN networks as both a reporter and host. With the start of the 2022 campaign, ESPN re-signed McGrath to a multi-year extension, ensuring one of the lead sideline voices remains on ESPN and ABC for years to come.

Tessitore and McElroy Team Up with George on ABC and ESPN
For the second straight season, longtime ESPN play-by-play voice Joe Tessitore and former Alabama National Champion quarterback Greg McElroy will partner in the ABC and ESPN booth alongside Katie George. For the better part of two decades, Tessitore has been among the premier broadcasters for ESPN and ABC’s coverage of college football, as well as the veteran blow-by-blow ringside commentator for Top Rank Boxing on ESPN and the co-host of Holey Moley on ABC. McElroy is beginning his seventh season calling games for ESPN and has studio experience on ESPN and SEC Network – in addition to now hosting ESPN and Omaha Productions’ Always College Football podcast. George, a versatile reporter who has covered multiple sports and events, returns for her second year on ABC and ESPN following her tenure on ACC Network’s lead crew.

Other teams for ESPN and ABC Saturday games:

Dave Pasch and Dusty Dvoracek will call games together for the second consecutive season. A versatile football and basketball play-by-play voice – who also calls Arizona Cardinals NFL games, Pasch joined ESPN in 2003. A two-time Oklahoma Sooner captain and former NFL Draft pick, Dvoracek continues to expand his ESPN role. Veteran field analyst Tom Luginbill, who has been with ESPN for more than 15 years, rejoins the duo.

Bob Wischusen and Dan Orlovsky are back together for a fourth season, joined by Kris Budden for a second straight year. Wischusen, a college football, basketball and NHL voice for ESPN, is also the New York Jets radio voice. In addition to calling college games, Orlovsky recently signed a new ESPN deal to call select Monday Night Football games while continuing to appear across a number of ESPN shows, including as a lead analyst on NFL Live. Budden has been a regular on ABC and ESPN covering college football, basketball and baseball since moving over from SEC Network following the 2018 season.

Mark Jones and Robert Griffin III will link up in the booth, along with reporter Quint Kessenich, after a stellar debut season for the trio in 2021. Jones has served as a college football commentator and leading NBA play-by-play voice for more than three decades. Griffin III, the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner, contributes to ESPN’s year-round college and NFL coverage, and even debuted as an analyst on the 2022 NCAA Track & Field Championships, while Kessenich is one of ESPN’s top lacrosse voices and a reporter on multiple NCAA Championship events.

Dave Flemming and Rod Gilmore are teaming up on ESPN and ABC again this fall, with Flemming continuing his play-by-play duties for college football, basketball, baseball and MLB, and Gilmore kicking off his 25th season of ESPN college football analysis. They will be joined by Tiffany Blackmon, who made her ESPN debut last fall, finishing her first campaign on the sidelines at The Rose Bowl Game.

Senior NFL Draft Analyst Todd McShay Set for New Role
Todd McShay will continue as a college football field analyst this fall – with a twist. McShay will work with different announce crews throughout the season, allowing him to analyze and scout even more players in anticipation of the 2023 NFL Draft. On certain weeks, McShay will have the opportunity to hone in on specific prospects in action who have the potential to play at the next level.

ESPN Re-Signs College Football Commentators to New Contracts
ESPN helped solidify its 2022-23 college football roster by signing multiple on-air personalities to new contracts during the offseason. In addition to Herbstreit, McGrath and Orlovsky, ESPN re-signed veteran play-by-play commentator Beth Mowins to a multi-year deal. In addition to her high-profile football assignments, Mowins provides play-by-play on college basketball and softball, and has been the Voice of the Women’s College World Series for more than two decades.

Analyst Louis Riddick also signed a new extension this offseason and will return to the college football booth for Thursday Night games this fall. Riddick, who is synonymous with ESPN’s NFL game, studio and NFL Draft coverage, previously called a package of college games in 2019.

Brock Osweiler and Aaron Murray Join ESPN Analyst Roster
Former NFL quarterback and Arizona State standout Brock Osweiler has joined ESPN as a college football game analyst and will team up with Anish Shroff and reporter Taylor McGregor. Details.

Former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, the SEC’s all-time leader in career passing touchdowns, also joins ESPN’s analyst roster this season and will call a handful of games on SEC Network in addition to studio appearances.

Lead College Networks Commentating Crews:

For the sixth consecutive season, SEC Network returns its SEC Saturday Night trio of Tom Hart, Jordan Rodgers and Cole Cubelic.

ACC Network Primetime features Dave O’Brien, Tim Hasselbeck and Kelsey Riggs, who team up for their second season together.

Longhorn Network’s game crew will combine Lowell Galindo, Sam Acho and reporter Alex Chappell, who will be on the call for a handful of Big 12 matchups with additional assignments throughout the season.

Additional Game Crews on ESPN Networks:

Returning Teams:
Dave Neal, Deuce McAllister and Andraya Carter
Taylor Zarzour, Matt Stinchcomb and Alyssa Lang
Chris Cotter, Mark Herzlich and Lericia Harris
Tiffany Greene and Jay Walker
John Schriffen and Rene Ingoglia
Kevin Brown and Hutson Mason

New Teams:
Matt Barrie, Louis Riddick and Harry Lyles
Roy Philpott, Andre Ware, Paul Carcaterra
Anish Shroff, Brock Osweiler and Taylor McGregor
Beth Mowins, Kirk Morrison and Stormy Buonantony
Clay Matvick, Rocky Boiman and Dawn Davenport
Brian Custer, Dustin Fox and Lauren Sisler
Wes Durham, Roddy Jones and Taylor Davis
Connor Onion and Craig Haubert

Additional ESPN college football contributors include rules analysts Bill LeMonnier (Saturday Night Football), Matt Austin (SEC games) and John Parry (ESPN/ABC games with Tessitore-McElroy).

ESPN Radio
Marc Kestecher, the lead voice for the NBA on ESPN Radio, moves into the top college football play-by-play role this season, joined by veterans Kelly Stouffer (analyst), the former NFL and Colorado State quarterback, and Ian Fitzsimmons (reporter). Longtime ESPN play-by-play commentator Mike Couzens – ESPN Radio’s top college basketball voice – will also call games with Florida alum and two-time Super Bowl champion Max Starks.

ESPN welcomes back college football in 2022 with an unrivaled collection of top rivalries, non-conference matchups, in-state showdowns, conference championship clashes and premier postseason programming headlining the early release of ESPN’s 2022 college football schedule.

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