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Behind the Mic: ABC, ESPN Deploy Full Armada of On-Site Talent for Next Week's 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville


Behind the Mic: ABC, ESPN Deploy Full Armada of On-Site Talent for Next Week's 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville By Kristian Hernandez, Assistant Editor

Friday, April 19, 2019 - 8:30 am

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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, ABC/ESPN announce who will be deployed for the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, Fox Sports adds two familiar U.S. Men's Soccer faces for CONCACAF Gold Cup, NBC Sports adds Dale Earnhardt Jr. to coverage of the 103rd Indianapolis 500, a racing Hall of Famer is stepping away at the end of the 2019 season on Fox, a former Atlanta Braves relief pitcher joins Fox Sports South/Southeast's analysis team, ESPN signs up a former Clemson offensive guard for the new ACC Network, ESPN re-ups a senior writer, a retired NFL referee joins ESPN as an officiating analyst, and Peyton Manning will have a new show on ESPN .

The Walt Disney Company's multi-network presentation of the 2019 NFL Draft, April 25-27 from Nashville, Tennessee, features an all-star cast of commentators and new roles for ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit and ESPN Monday Night Football analyst and two-time Super Bowl champion Booger McFarland. Herbstreit will team with host Rece Davis and their eight-time Sports Emmy Award-winning College GameDay Built by The Home Depot crew for the 2019 NFL Draft on ABC, Thursday, April 25 (8-11:30 p.m., ET) and Friday, April 26 (7-11:30 p.m., ET), live coast-to-coast on The ABC Television Network and via streaming. McFarland will make his NFL Draft debut on ESPN's main set for Round 1 on Thursday, April 25 (8-11:30 p.m., ET).

Coverage will be more comprehensive than ever with ABC airing the event in its entirety for the first time and ESPN televising the draft for the 40th consecutive year. The NFL Draft will also air on NFL Network and be streamed via NFL digital properties.

ABC and ESPN plans for the NFL Draft are more ambitious than ever with distinct prime-time telecasts across multiple networks featuring many of our most recognizable commentators from the NFL and college football, said Lee Fitting, ESPN vice president of production. From Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit and our College GameDay crew, joined by sports broadcasting Hall of Famer Robin Roberts and other special guests on ABC, to Trey Wingo and the team of NFL experts and insiders on ESPN, we will cover the festivities in Nashville from every angle.

ESPN's draft telecasts, presented for the fourth year by Courtyard, will be X's- and O's-focused, packed with expert insight and analysis for the most passionate of football fans. Wingo will host Round 1 for the third year, with NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr., covering his 36th draft, and NFL analysts Louis Riddick, his fifth, and McFarland. NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay, who will be covering his 11th draft; NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter and NFL host Suzy Kolber will also contribute to Thursday's prime-time telecast. On Friday and Saturday, McShay will join Wingo, Kiper, and Riddick at the main set for Rounds 2-7.

ABC will provide differentiated coverage for Rounds 1-3 in prime time that focuses on the journey of the NFL Draft prospects, as viewers go up close and personal to understand the part their families play in their success and the hard work involved in attempting to become an NFL Draft selection. In addition, ABC broadcasts will center on the energy and excitement of the complete event, as coverage will include celebrity appearances and other nods to the host city of Nashville.

On ABC's prime-time broadcasts, April 25 at 8 p.m. ET and April 26 at 7 p.m. ET - live from coast-to-coast, Davis and Herbstreit - who lives in Nashville and was part of ESPN's main set in 2018 - will be joined by analysts Lee Corso, Desmond Howard, and David Pollack and reporter Tom Rinaldi. The 2019 NFL Draft on ABC will also feature Roberts, ESPN's Jesse Palmer, and Maria Taylor and a number of special guests to be announced, including Kansas City Chiefs star quarterback and 2018 NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes. ABC will simulcast ESPN's telecast of Rounds 4-7 on Saturday, April 27, beginning at 12 p.m. ET.

In addition, all seven rounds of the NFL Draft will also be streamed live via the ESPN App, broadcast on ESPN Radio and televised in Spanish on ESPN Deportes.

On ESPN Radio, commentators include: Dari Nowkhah, Chris Canty, Ian Fitzsimmons, and Mike Tannenbaum, the former Miami Dolphins and New York Jets front office executive.

On ESPN Deportes, commentators include: Eduardo Varela, Pablo Viruega, Miguel Pasquel, Sebastian Martinez-Christensen, Monday Night Football's Alvaro Martin, and Raul Allegre, and special guests. Additionally, Kenneth Garay and Carlos Nava will serve as commentators for the Spanish-language radio broadcast

Following this week's CONCACAF Gold Cup draw, Fox Sports unveils its broadcasters and schedule for the expanded biennial continental championship of the North, Central American, and Caribbean region. Headlined by the U.S. and Mexico men's national teams, the tournament is shown June 15 - July 7 on Fox Sports' family of networks.

The broadcast team is led by seasoned play-by-play announcer John Strong and former U.S. international Stu Holden, who called last year's 2018 FIFA World Cup final. Joining Fox Sports for the tournament's 15th edition are U.S. Men's National Team legend Landon Donovan and U.S. Soccer Hall of Famer Bruce Arena, who make their Gold Cup studio debuts as analysts. The announcement was made today by David Neal, Executive Producer, FIFA World Cup on Fox and Vice President of Production, Fox Sports.

Joining Donovan and Aren
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