Behind the Mic: NBC Sports Radio Adds McNabb, Chipper, Others to Growing Lineup; Olbermann Back to ESPN?

NBC Sports Radio continues to rack up on-air talent as it approaches its 24-7 programming launch on April 1. It has tapped Donovan McNabb and Mark Malone to host a new weekday program dubbed Under Center with McNabb & Malone (3-7pm ET), as well as a host of guest analysts for its Voices of the Game weekday show, including former Atlanta Braves All-Star Chipper Jones, former NBA coach Stan Van Gundy, former MLB manager Bobby Valentine, NBC Sports Radio’s Chris Mannix. The weekday show will be hosted by Dallas-based radio show host Newy Scruggs. NBC also announced that Erik Kuselias will move to its coveted morning drive slot for the April 1 relaunch…

…Now that Keith Olbermann has finally settled a $50 million lawsuit out of court with his former employer Current TV, the road may be paved for a return to his ESPN roots in Bristol. According to a New York Times report from earlier this month, the controversial host had dinner with ESPN President John Skipper and the topic of Olbmermann’s return was discussed. Olbermann helped to launch the network into the next strasophere of the cable arena as one half of the iconic “Big Show” SportsCenter duo – along with Dan Patrick – during his time in Bristol from 1992 to 1997.

…New York Knicks legend Patrick Ewing will participate in the Knicks postgame show on a pair of MSG Network telecasts this month. The seven-foot former center grabs the mic after the March 20 game against the Magic and March 31 versus the Celtics. Both games are at Madison Square Garden and start at 7:30 p.m…

…ESPN made it official last week, announcing that two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and 12-time Pro Bowler Ray Lewis is joining the network as a NFL studio analyst.  Lewis, who ended is playing career with a Super Bowl victory, will appear on Monday Night Countdown, Sunday Night Countdown, SportsCenter, and ESPN’s annual Super Bowl coverage. Lewis will travel to the site of each week’s Monday Night Football game where he will offer analysis during the pre-game Countdown and post-game SportsCenter. Lewis will contribute to Sunday NFL Countdown throughout the season and make a weekly appearance on ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike in the Morning. The 17-year NFL veteran will also have the opportunity to host specials similar to Jon Gruden’s QB Camp series. He is expected to start on August 1…

…ESPN has also added former MLB manager Manny Acta as an ESPN and ESPN Deportes as an MLB analyst. Acta made his debut on the March 10th edition of Baseball Tonight and will provide insights and analysis for various platforms, including Baseball Tonight, Beisbol Esta Noche, SportsCenter and other studio programming. He will also contribute to ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes Radio. Most recently, Acta served as manager of the Cleveland Indians, a position he held for three seasons. In addition to his experience on the field, Acta has previously served as a Spanish-language baseball analyst for Fox Sports…

…While ESPN was adding on-air talent on one hand, the network lost one of its key sideline reporters on another, as Jenn Brown has left ESPN, according to Brown joined ESPN fulltime in February 2010 and eventually morphed into a high-profile assignment on the sidelines for ESPN’s Thursday Night college football primetime telecast. At the time, ESPN brass were clearly positioning her as a replacement for Erin Andrews should Andrews depart from the network. Last year, Sam Ponder was given the Thursday Night assigmnment as well as a role on College GameDay. Brown worked last season on ESPN’s Saturday noon game with announcer Dave Pasch and analyst Brian Griese.

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