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Queens Chronicle

The 2019 Sports Emmys

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Posted: Thursday, May 30, 2019 10:30 am

The 40th annual Sports Emmy Awards were held at the Frederick P. Rose Jazz Hall last Monday. As per custom the movers and shakers of the television industry as well as current and former athletes were in attendance.

Mike “Doc” Emrick, who is hockey’s answer to Vin Scully, won the Emmy for best play-by-play announcer. He told me that he was able to attend this year’s ceremony because the Boston Bruins swept the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Finals. He chuckled when I told him that Brian Roberts, the CEO of Comcast, which is NBC’s parent corporation, would demand a contractual rebate.

Emrick conceded that many National Hockey League team owners and executives do not work well with the media and that has hurt the sport from reaching its growth potential.

The Stanley Cup playoffs are being televised on NBC as is the Triple Crown of horse racing. Jon Miller, the president of NBC Sports programming, told me he is livid that Gary West, the owner of Maximum Security, the apparent Kentucky Derby winner who was disqualified for interfering with other horses, will keep him out of the Belmont Stakes after skipping the Preakness. A showdown between Preakness winner War of Will and Maximum Security would have been a ratings bonanza for NBC.

I asked World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, who had knocked out challenger Dominic Breazeale in the first round of their fight at Barclays Center two days earlier, if a fight between him and Great Britain’s Anthony Joshua, who holds the heavyweight title from nearly every other boxing federation, would follow in the footsteps of Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. That fight finally took place but only after both fighters were well past their prime. “I have been in touch with Joshua’s team. That fight will take place in the near future,” Wilder assured.

Mets fans will remember that Kevin Burkhardt was the team’s longtime in-game reporter on SNY telecasts before moving onto greener pastures with Fox Sports. Burkhardt admitted that he still follows the Mets from his home in LA. “They are clearly a mess,” he said.

Witty veteran sports anchor Scott Stanford, now on the streaming service CBS Sports HQ, is looking to return to TV. We chatted about how humor was once an essential part of any New York TV sports segment as exemplified by such legends as Warner Wolf, Jerry Girard and Len Berman. It now seems a lost art. “Most people know the game results by the time the evening news is ending so you need to be entertaining to hold their interest,” Stanford said.

The New York Rangers hired one of its most beloved former players, as well as onetime team broadcaster, John Davidson to serve as team president. The Rangers are in a rebuilding phase so Davidson is going to have to endure some tough nights from the Madison Square Garden executive suite.

Court TV, which was at its apex in the 1990s and is best remembered for its wall-to-wall coverage of the OJ Simpson trial, is being relaunched and can be seen via its website, courttv.com as well as through OTT devices as Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.

The legal troubles of current and former athletes are still programming fodder for Court TV. A press release that I received is touting coverage of the upcoming trial for former Jets tight end Kellen Winslow II on rape charges.

Life and style

May is when the various broadcast television networks show off their fall slate of programs in the hopes of locking in advertisers’ dollars for them. Movie theaters have increasingly become dependent on ad dollars as anyone who has sat through coming attractions can attest. The advent of Netflix, where people can watch recent film releases in the comfort of their own homes, has had an adverse impact on box office grosses.

Screenvision Media, which places coming attraction advertisements, held an event to compete with TV networks’ upfronts with one of their own at Manhattan’s Ziegfield Ballroom. They went for star power by bringing in actors Hilary Swank and Vince Vaughn for Q&A sessions as well as having chanteuse and Queens native Idina Menzel perform a few numbers. It reminded all of us that there is still something special about a movie theater experience.

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