Behind the Mic: Joe Rogan To Continue Calling UFC in Reduced Role; SiriusXM Hires Brett Favre

Veteran UFC commentator Joe Rogan continue calling fights for “at least one more year,” he said on his podcast. However, Rogan will now appear only on UFC pay-per-view events, eliminating Fox network shows from his schedule. During his Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Rogan said he had been “on the fence” about his role with the UFC moving forward, but president Dana White convinced him to stay. Rogan’s role has been reduced, however. Rogan, 48, regularly hosts stand-up comedy shows in addition to his UFC travels.

Brett Favre 2016Legendary NFL quarterback Brett Favre will be a host this upcoming season on SiriusXM NFL Radio, SiriusXM’s exclusive 24/7 NFL channel.  It will be the first regular sports media role for the three-time NFL MVP since he retired after the 2010 season. Favre will host a series of hour-long broadcasts. He will make his debut on SiriusXM NFL Radio on August 5 (6:00 pm ET) with a special “Town Hall” style show from Canton, Ohio, where he and other members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016 will be enshrined the next day. After the Hall of Fame show, Favre will host the show live on a regular basis starting in September.  He and co-host Bruce Murray will discuss the headline news happening around the NFL, take listener calls, analyze the league’s teams and players, and share his experiences from his career and his life since retiring.

Skip Bayless will officially kick off his new sports talk show on Fox Sports 1 on Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 10 AM ET. Additional details on the new show will be announced in the coming weeks. Most recently, Bayless hosted FIRST TAKE on ESPN2 and started his tenure at ESPN in 2004. In 2001 and 2002, Bayless appeared regularly on Jim Rome’s show THE LAST WORD on FOX Sports Net and also made frequent appearances on FOX Sports’ THE BEST DAMN SPORTS SHOW PERIOD. Bayless began his career writing for newspapers, including as the lead sports columnist for the Chicago Tribune. He also spent time at The Dallas Morning News, the Dallas Times HeraldThe Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times

On the Road to Rio: NBC Solidifies Talent Roster
…Sideline reporter Craig Sager has returned to MD Anderson to continue his fight against leukemia.  He is preparing for a third bone marrow transplant which will prevent him from covering the Olympics in Rio. This would have been the NBA on TNT veteran’s fifth Olympics. Sager has said he hopes to be ready to return to the air for the opening of the NBA season at the end of October…

…Four-time Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross and 2012 Olympic decathlon silver medalist Trey Hardee will join NBC Olympics’ coverage of track and field at the Rio Olympics. Richards-Ross, who retired from track on July 1, and Hardee head to Rio for their first Olympic assignment after contributing to NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials as guest analysts.

Long-ranked the world’s best 400m runner, Richards-Ross brought home her first 400m Olympic gold in 2012. In addition, she is a member of the four-time World Championship and three-time Olympic gold medal 4x400m team. Considered one of the world’s fastest women, she has the most sub-50 second 400m races in history.

Hardee won the Olympic decathlon silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics. Combined with the gold medal from world record holder Ashton Eaton, it was the first time Americans had finished first and second in the event at the Olympics since 1956. A two-time World Outdoor gold medalist, Hardee’s personal best of 8,790, which he set in Berlin in 2009, currently ranks behind just Ashton Eaton, Dan O’ Brien and Bryan Clay in the event in American history. It was also the highest decathlon score at a World Championships since 2001. Hardee joined O’Brien (1991, 1993, 1995), Tom Pappas (2003) and Clay (2005) as the only Americans ever to win the world decathlon title.

Tom Hammond, who has won acclaim for his memorable calls at the last six Summer Olympics, will once again call NBC Olympics track & field coverage. Kenny Albert will handle play-by-play duties for track events on NBCSN, making his Summer Olympics debut for NBC after calling Olympic hockey since 2002, and Todd Harris handles play-by-play for field events – his fifth Olympic assignment. Ato Boldon returns as an analyst in his fourth Olympic assignment. Lewis Johnson will serve as a track and field reporter in his ninth assignment with NBC Olympics. Craig Masback, who worked as a track & field commentator for NBC in Barcelona, Atlanta, Beijing, and London, returns to provide analysis on the men’s marathon and distance races. Tim Hutchings, a former middle-distance runner who represented Great Britain at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, will provide analysis on the marathons…

…Dhani Jones, the former NFL linebacker who is a host of the NBC primetime hit Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge, will serve as a reporter for NBC Olympics’ coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Jones will report at various venues and locations throughout the Games, and will contribute to features on a variety of platforms including The Olympic Zone – a 30-minute nightly show that airs on NBC affiliates. Jones’ “Spartan” colleague Kyle Martino is an analyst for NBC Sports Group’s Premier League coverage and will serve as an NBC Olympics soccer analyst. Following an 11-year NFL career (2000-10) as a linebacker with the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals, Jones embarked on numerous media projects.  He wrote a travelogue/memoir, hosted “Dhani Tackles the Globe” on Travel Channel, and is a current host of a show on Spike…

…Angela Hucles and Kerith Burke will join NBC Olympics’ coverage of women’s soccer and women’s basketball, respectively, during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. In addition, Ros Gold-Onwude, who works Golden State Warriors telecasts for CSN Bay Area, will handle sideline reporting for Team USA men’s basketball games.

Hucles works her second consecutive Summer Games as a soccer analyst for NBC Olympics. In the prior two Olympics – 2004 Athens Games and 2008 Beijing Games – Hucles was a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. Women’s National Team. In the 2008 Summer Games, Hucles started in place of an injured Abby Wambach and scored a team-high four goals, including two in the semifinal against Japan.

Burke, an anchor and reporter for SNY in New York, makes her NBC Olympics debut and will report from the sidelines for Team USA women’s Basketball games. At SNY, she also serves as the sideline reporter for the network’s coverage of University of Connecticut men’s and women’s basketball…

Brazilian supermodels and actresses Alessandra Ambrosio and Adriana Lima will join NBC Olympics coverage of the Rio Olympics. Ambrosio and Lima will present features and offer commentary on the Olympics in their native Brazil during NBC’s late night coverage, hosted by Ryan Seacrest at NBC Olympics’ Copacabana Beach studio. They will also contribute to NBC Olympics’ coverage across various networks and platforms…

Countdown to Kickoff: Networks Dole Out NFL and College Assignments
A standout defender and two-time Pro Bowl honoree, 13-year NFL vet Charles “Peanut” Tillman has joined FOX Sports’ on-air lineup as an analyst for the Sunday morning pregame show, FOX NFL KICKOFF. Tillman joins host Charissa Thompson, and analysts Colin Cowherd and Dave Wannstedt, for the one-hour program airing every Sunday during the season from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM ET on the FOX broadcast network. Originally selected by the Chicago Bears in the second round (No. 35 overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft, Tillman recently announced his retirement after playing his final season in 2015 as a member of the NFC Champion Carolina Panthers. Prior to last season, he spent 12 years as one of the leaders and faces of the Bears’ organization, appearing in 156 games (152 starts) at cornerback and finishing as the franchise’s all-time leader in passes defensed (133), forced fumbles (42) and interceptions returned for touchdowns (8). His 36 career interceptions in Chicago rank third all-time in team annals and he is one of only two players (Brian Dawkins) in NFL history to have recorded at least 35 interceptions and 35 forced fumbles…

NFL Nation’s New York Giants reporter Dan Graziano has been named a National NFL Insider for ESPN. He will contribute to NFL InsidersNFL LiveSportsCenter, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine in his new national role.  Graziano joined ESPN as an NFL East blogger in 2011. With the expansion of ESPN’s NFL Nation Network in 2013, Graziano focused on the Giants the past three seasons. He has also been a contributor to the weekday TV show NFL Insiders since its origination in 2013.

As Graziano turns his attention to covering more league-wide stories, Jordan Raanan has been hired as the new Giants reporter for ESPN’s NFL Nation. Most recently a Giants reporter for NJ Advance Media, Raanan brings to ESPN more than 10 years of experience. Additionally, after three seasons covering the St. Louis Rams for ESPN, NFL Nation reporter Nick Wagoner transitions to covering the San Francisco 49ers beat this week…

…Reporters Jane Slater and Courtney Fallon have joined NFL Media and will contribute to all NFL Media platforms, including NFL Network, NFL.com and NFL Now, beginning with NFL Network’s Inside Training Camp coverage.

Slater will be based in Dallas and her duties begin next week in Oxnard covering the Dallas Cowboys for Inside Training Camp. She joins NFL Media from ESPN where she was a studio anchor and sideline reporter for the Longhorn Network, and also contributed to the SEC Network and ESPN’s coverage of the College World Series and college football Bowl Games.

Fallon will be based in New York and her duties begin next week covering the New England Patriots for Inside Training Camp. She joins NFL Media from WFXT FOX25 in Boston where she served as a sports anchor and reporter. Courtney also covered college football games as a sideline reporter for CBS Sports Network…

… ESPN has hired Molly McGrath as a college sports sideline reporter and host. McGrath, who worked at ESPN in 2011 as a production assistant, returns to the company to be a sideline reporter for ESPN’s Friday night college football telecasts and will also host College Football Live on select days beginning in late August and continuing through the season. McGrath will also be a sideline reporter on ESPN’s 2016-17 college basketball telecasts. McGrath worked for the Boston Celtics as a web and in-arena reporter at the TD Garden while also hosting Celtics Now on Comcast SportsNet New England in 2012 and 2013 before moving to Fox Sports where she continued her hosting and sideline responsibilities, including working on Fox Sports lead college football commentating team and NFL games…

…ESPN will have new play-by-play commentators and sideline reporters for both Thursday and Friday night college football games on ESPN this season and has re-signed college football analyst David Pollack.

Play-by-play commentator Dave Flemming will move to Thursday nights and will call games alongside college football analyst Jesse Palmer in a two-man booth. Laura Rutledge will be the sideline reporter for Thursday night telecasts, adding to her previously announced SEC Nation responsibilities for the season.  Play-by-play commentator Adam Amin will call Friday night games alongside analyst Mack Brown and sideline reporter Molly McGrath, whose hiring as a reporter and host was announced this morning. Previously, Flemming called Friday night games on ESPN, Amin worked Saturday games on ESPN/ABC and Rutledge was a sideline reporter on SEC Network telecasts.

Additionally, ESPN has extended college football analyst David Pollack to a new multi-year deal. Pollack will continue to appear on College GameDayeach week, have a more prominent role on College Football Live and contribute to additional studio shows this season. The three-time All-American at Georgia began working at ESPN in 2009 as studio analyst and joined College GameDay in 2011.

Brian Griese, Steve Levy, Greg McElroy, Samantha Ponder, Tessitore and Allison Williams have all been assigned new roles.

In Print: ESPN Adds to The Undefeated, ESPN The Magazine Roster
…The Undefeated, ESPN’s new platform focusing on the intersection of sports, race and culture, has added three journalists to its staff: Domonique Foxworth, LZ Granderson and Mark W. Wright. Foxworth, a former NFL cornerback and president of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), brings his vast knowledge of issues and topics beyond the playing field to his role as a multiplatform analyst. He will add his unique perspective to topical issues the day. Granderson, who has dual roles as journalist and commentator for CNN and ESPN, will contribute regular columns and essays for The Undefeated. Wright, a former ESPN The Magazine writer/reporter and ESPN Films’ producer, will be responsible for building the relationships between The Undefeated and historically black colleges and universities (HBCU), one of the four primary content verticals for the site. Additionally, Wright will oversee efforts by The Undefeated to align with two important HBCU sporting events televised by ESPN, the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl and the MEAC/SWAC Challenge, as well as the development of a season-long HBCU national band competition.

…Award-winning journalist Tom Junod has joined ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com as a senior writer. Junod, who joins ESPN from Esquire, will be focused on big-picture, long-range, deeply reported pieces. Junod has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award a record 11 times, winning twice. A graduate of the University of Albany, Junod became a staff writer for Atlanta Magazine in 1987 and began a journalism career that took him to Sports Illustrated and GQ and then, in 1997, to Esquire, where he was, for 19 years, Writer-At-Large. For Esquire’s 75th Anniversary, the editors of the magazine selected his 9/11 story “The Falling Man’ as one of the seven top stories in Esquire’s history…