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Behind the Mic: Amazon Pursues Al Michaels for Lead NFL Gig; NBC Sports Continues Announcements of On-Air Talent for Olympics

11/06/2021

Behind the Mic: Amazon Pursues Al Michaels for Lead NFL Gig; NBC Sports Continues Announcements of On-Air Talent for Olympics By SVG Staff

Friday, June 11, 2021 - 7:45 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, Amazon pushes to pursue Al Michaels as its lead NFL voice, NBC Sports continues announcements of on-air talent for Olympics, and more.

Amazon Pursues Al Michaels for Mega-Deal to Make Him Lead NFL Voice NBC's Al Michaels has emerged as Amazon Prime Video's top choice to do play-by-play for its forthcoming exclusive Thursday night NFL package. According to Andrew MArchand of the New York Post, the courting has already begun with NBC an active part of the discussions that could include its top production people being part of a potential deal as well when Amazon begins its exclusive broadcast in the 2022-23 season.

Michaels could join Amazon in 2022 and remain at NBC in a lesser role than the lead voice on SNF, the perennial highest-rated show in network prime-time TV. Though Amazon is focused on Michaels, he is not alone on the platform's list. Amazon also has interest in Fox's Joe Buck and CBS' Ian Eagle. (New York Post)

NBC Sports Continues Announcements of On-Air Talent for Olympics NBC Olympics introduced a group of announcers who will make their NBC Olympics play-by-play debuts during this summer's Tokyo Olympics on events ranging from men's and women's basketball to the returning baseball and softball competitions to the new 3-on-3 basketball.

Following is a look at NBC Olympics' new play-by-play voices for this summer's Tokyo Olympics:

Shane Bacon will provide golf play-by-play commentary and will also host golf studio coverage. Bacon, who joined GOLF Channel and NBC earlier this year, currently serves as host of Golf Today on GOLF Channel. He previously contributed play-by-play at both the U.S. Open (FOX) and for featured groups at The Masters.

Jason Benetti will call baseball, which returns to the Summer Games for the first time since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Benetti is the voice of the Chicago White Sox for NBC Sports Chicago and is a play-by-play announcer for a wide range of ESPN events.

Jack Benjamin will handle play-by-play for several events. Benjamin, who has provided play-by-play for Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, is the voice of Nicholls State on ESPN Radio-New Orleans and calls various sports on Cox Sports Television and ESPN platforms.

Krista Blunk will provide play-by-play for several sports. Blunk, who handled play-by-play for NBC Sports California's all-female Sacramento Kings broadcast team during a Women's History Month game in March, has served as a commentator for various networks, including Pac-12 Networks, Westwood One and ESPN. She also spent 13 seasons as an analyst for the Sacramento Monarchs and two years as pregame, halftime and postgame host for the Kings.

Brendan Burke will handle play-by-play for rowing and canoe sprint. Burke currently serves as a play-by-play commentator for NBC Sports' NHL coverage, and is the play-by-play voice for New York Islanders telecasts on MSG+. He is also the play-by-play voice for NBC Sports' coverage of the Premier Lacrosse League, which begins the 2021 season this weekend on NBCSN and Peacock.

Lisa Byington, who will call soccer, serves as a play-by-play announcer and reporter for the Fox Sports, Big Ten Network, CBS and Turner Sports. This past March, she became the first female play-by-play announcer to call the men's NCAA basketball tournament. She has also handled play-by-play for NBA games. In August 2018, Byington was part of the first all-female broadcast team to call an MLS match. A soccer and basketball player at Northwestern University, she also called 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup games for Fox Sports.

Rupert Cox will handle play-by-play for rugby from Sky Sports studios in the U.K. Cox has covered the sport as a commentator and presenter for multiple media outlets, including Sky Sports and NBC Sports, for more than 15 years. He handled play-by-play for NBC Sports' presentation of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Noah Eagle will call the action in the 3-on-3 basketball competition, which makes its Olympic debut in Tokyo. Eagle is the radio voice of the Los Angeles Clippers, is a contributor for SiriusXM NBA Radio and Tennis Channel, and calls college basketball for Fox Sports. In January 2021, Eagle called an NFL Wild Card game for Nickelodeon.

Jenn Hildreth, who will handle soccer, is a play-by-play announcer at ESPN for various sports, including college soccer, and has called the last five NCAA Women's College Cup championships. She is also a play-by-play announcer for the NWSL on CBS Sports after serving in the same capacity previously for ESPN, Lifetime and FS1. Hildreth, who played college soccer at Emory, also called 2019 and 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup matches for FOX Sports.

Patrick Kinas will call select swimming competition. Currently the radio/TV voice of the Durham Bulls, Kinas previously served as Westwood One's play-by-play announcer for figure skating and short track at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, and swimming at the 2016 Rio Olympics. He also has handled play-by-play for various sports for Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA since December 2018.

Rich Lerner makes his NBC Olympics play-by-play debut for both men's and women's golf from on-site in Tokyo. Lerner has been a studio host and play-by-play commentator for GOLF Channel for nearly 25 years, leading GOLF Channel's Golf Central Live From studio coverage from golf's biggest events. He will be the lea
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