TBS’ postseason studio show will have a new look led by familiar faces, The Post has learned.
Ernie Johnson and Curtis Granderson are in, while Casey Stern and Gary Sheffield are out, according to sources.
Jonhson is renowned for his work as a host of “Inside the NBA,” and had been miscast on play-by-play for Turner’s baseball coverage. Johnson, 64, will be the conductor on baseball, like he is with Charles Barkley and the crew on hoops.
Granderson, the former Met and Yankee, is known as a nice, smart guy, but less likely to let it rip like Sheffield.
Pedro Martinez and Jimmy Rollins will return to the pre-game and join Johnson and Granderson, who made some guest appearances for TBS last year.
TBS’ LCS team remains Brian Anderson with Ron Darling and Jeff Francoeur.
In the divisional rounds, TBS will use two-man booths with Anderson and Darling on one series and Don Orsillo and Francoeur on the other. The wild-card round is still undetermined.
For Stern, he has been dealing with a real life situation as his ex-wife and her boyfriend have been charged with nine felonies of cruelty to children in Fulton County Court for allegedly abusing Stern’s three kids, who are all six and under.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed, but I’m so proud to have worked with my teammates on set and an incomparable crew in studio,” said Stern, who continues to host his drive-time show on SiriusXM’s MLB Network. “We will always be family. With the trauma I’ve been through and witnessed with my own family over the past two years, perspective is easy to find.”
Stern has one-year remaining on his contract.
Fox’s Kenny Albert flew to Detroit two weeks ago in anticipation of doing his first game with his new partner, Jon Vilma. However, even though Albert had passed 37 COVID-19 tests and arrived from the NHL protective bubble in Canada, the NFL’s protocol’s called for not working for two weeks in a semi-quarantine after entering the United States from a foreign country.
So Albert had to watch an NFL Sunday from home for the first time in more than a quarter century. He spent the time studying his new partner, Vilma, and came away impressed with him.
(My impression from Sunday’s Jets-49ers game was that Vilma sounded very comfortable, getting in and out, made some good points. He will need to kick up the energy a little, though that is hard to overdo when calling a Jets blowout loss.)
Vilma worked with Dick Stockton and Brandon Gaudin for his first two games. Albert will be back this Sunday with Vilma for the Bears and Falcons.
“Vilma might set a new NFL record by working with three different play-by-players in his first three games with Fox,” Albert said. “He actually thought they were playing a prank on him when they told him the news that I might not be there.”
On Sunday, when he works with Vilma, it will be Albert’s 15th partner at Fox since 1994. (Clicker Trivia: Eight have been full-time. Can you name them? Answers at bottom of the column.)
Albert is also calling the Stanley Cup Final on radio for Westwood One. However, there won’t be any issue for NFL protocols because he will be making the call from a studio in Connecticut.
Skip Bayless is on the verge of re-signing with Fox Sports as Front Office Sports mentioned. It is not a surprise. While we can weigh what Bayless says — much of it is beyond inane and, in the Dak Prescott mental health case, offensive — he has improved FS1 in the morning time slot with Shannon Sharpe, who has really grown in the performative hot-take role. Much of the attention-grabbing stuff from Bayless can be stupid, but he figured out how to troll at $6 million-plus per year. A lot of people do it for free. The folks who give him an inordinate amount of attention, especially on social media, have served as agents for him. Bayless should give them a percentage … The NBA setup in Orlando is the best one of all the leagues. The NBA had some advantages because of fewer players and fewer games for the bubble. Still, the NBA’s TV presentation from Disney deserves 5/5 clickers.
Trivia answer: Kenny Albert’s eight full-time partners in his 26 years have been: Ron Pitts, Anthony Munoz, Tim Green, Brian Baldinger, Daryl Johnston/Tony Siragusa, Ronde Barber and Vilma.
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