It’s hard to understand the how and why of “Monday Night Football”


It’s highly unusual for an ESPN/ABC show not to simulcast on Ch. 5 when it gets the chance.

The Patriots will appear twice on “Monday Night Football” this season. Monday Night Football / ESPN

A few readers checked in last week asking the same simple question: Why is the Patriots-Bears game on “Monday Night Football” being simulcast locally on NBC10 rather than Ch. 5, the Boston ABC affiliate where the games ESPN/ABC are generally broadcast in this market?

Again, simple question, isn’t it? Which is why I’m puzzled as to why asking for a simple explanation brought vague but convoluted answers from ESPN and the local stations involved.

A spokesperson for Ch. 5 explained that, similar to how syndicated programming is acquired by a station, “Monday Night Football” games can be picked up by any station that ESPN negotiates with.

An ESPN contact confirmed that what Ch. 5 said “is not incorrect,” explaining that ESPN is having conversations with every major market affiliate during the offseason, not just station ABC. There are many factors influencing both sides, the ESPN contact explained, and then a deal is struck.

I’m sure it’s all true. But that still doesn’t answer the why. No one at ESPN or Ch. 5 would even begin to discuss what those many factors might be. The NBC10 spokesperson didn’t immediately return requests for details on how he ended up with the game, but he must be glad to have it.

It’s unusual for an ESPN/ABC show not to simulcast on Ch. 5 when it has the option; in fact, if there are any recent precedents, I haven’t found them. And a prime-time Patriots game is certain to do much better in the Nielsen ratings than anything else on Monday night television, with a reasonable expectation of drawing 60-65% of the audience share that night- there, the percentage of televisions used at a given moment.

Ch. 5 will primarily air “Bachelor in Paradise” opposite the Patriots-Bears game on NBC10. When I asked a Ch. 5 spokesperson if the station had a preference for airing that program over the Patriots game — I don’t know, there’s perhaps the most important rose ceremony in all the time or something this week — he gave a one-word answer: “No.”

I’m not sure I’m convinced. it looks like Ch. 5 at the very least is trying to avoid the backfire so it doesn’t get the game. But at least that answer wasn’t vague.

writing tips

Beasley Media’s decision to fire ‘Toucher and Rich’ producer Mike Lockhart in a series of company-wide layoffs was ridiculous. The same goes for at least one of the parameters to bring it back.

Lockhart will return to the show on Monday, with his full salary paid by the co-host Rich Shertenlieb, but Beasley found a way to get more requests from the show’s talent before signing the deal. A particularly absurd one is the requirement that Shertenlieb and co-host Fred Toucher now have to contribute four articles to the station’s website each day. Hilariously, they found a loophole around that mission, posting clickbait-like posts – if you’d call them posts, since they’re usually a single line of text – like posting a photo of two closed hands and the question, “What hand is the ball? You’ve probably been wrong all along. CLICK HERE!”

I wonder if anyone in business at Beasley clicked on any of the “articles”?

Hill above them all

Greg Hill, host of WEEI’s eponymous morning driving show, was named Major Market Personality of the Year at the prestigious NAB Marconi Radio Awards on Wednesday night in New York City. The finalists were selected by a working group of broadcasters and the winners were chosen by the Marconi Awards selection academy. Sports Station of the Year went to WXYT-FM in Detroit.

Housewarming party for a new concert

Former Celtic Eddie House has been excellent in NBC Sports Boston's coverage of the team.
Former Celtic Eddie House has been excellent in NBC Sports Boston’s team coverage.CHARLES KRUPA/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Eddie’s house is getting a lot of open eyes on NBC Sports Boston’s Celtics coverage this season. House, the former Celtics sharpshooter and member of the 2008 champions, is expected to work on all 70 NBCSN shows as a studio analyst. It’s a quick climb to a regular spot on the lineup considering he just joined the shows last December in a limited role, but he’s proven lively, genuinely funny and has been very well received by audiences. . Kendrick Perkinswhich is busy at ESPN with its NBA programming and assorted argument shows, will make a few more plays but has not finalized details. Sean Grande will play radio broadcasts from The Sports Hub on television for approximately 20-25 games, with mike gorman traveling less during his 42nd season as the team’s television voice. Almost everything else is the status quo, with Brian Scalabrine, Abby Chin, Amina Smithand Chris Forsberg return to familiar roles.

Orsillo bench

Don Orsillo had been a play-by-play voice on TBS’s postseason shows in three of the previous four years (2018, 2020-21) and called a few regular season games this year, but the network left on the bench once the playoffs came around, opting instead for Bob Costas. It was a mistake. Costas is a legend, but he was far too wordy in calling the Yankees-Guardians series an often crushing partner Ron darling, an analyst who is always worth listening to. Orsillo and Darling would have made a great couple, although TBS’ best tandem over the years remains Orsillo and Denis Eckersley, who worked together at the Houston/Cleveland ALDS in 18 . . . Funny enough to go to the YouTube TV home screen for NBC Sports Boston’s “Postgame Live” Patriots program and notice that the thumbnail photo features a past cast for the show which included Jerod Mayo and Trojan Brown. Who knew there was a “Postgame Live” coaching tree? . . . I liked ESPN’s previous “Monday Night Football” team from Steve Levy, Brian Grieseand particularly Louis Riddick. But there is no doubt that Joe Buck and Troy Aikman brought back a big event feel to “MNF” in their first season at ESPN after jumping from Fox. Patriots games are going to be expected here no matter what, but Buck and Aikman will make the lights a little brighter on Monday night.


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