Behind the Mic: NBC Nabs Scott Pioli for Football Night in America, Pro Football Talk; Soledad O’Brien Joins HBO’s Real Sports

Former NFL Executive of the Year Scott Pioli is joining NBC Sports Group, where he will appear on Football Night in America on NBC and Pro Football Talk on NBC Sports Network. Pioli, who helped the New England Patriots win three Super Bowls as head of their player personnel department and who most recently served as general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs, will provide insight across both Football Night and Pro Football Talk into the workings of NFL teams’ front offices. Pioli will appear on Pro Football Talk today, and will make additional appearances before the start of the 2013 season. During the season, he will settle into a Monday rotation…

…Soledad O’Brien is joining fellow Today show alum Bryant Gumbel at HBO’s Real Sports. HBO said Wednesday that O’Brien will be a reporter on the monthly magazine show, which is anchored by Gumbel. She most recently was a morning-show host on CNN. O’Brien’s experience with sports has been limited, although she did play rugby while studying at Harvard…

…Howie Schwab, longtime ESPN researcher and former host of the Stump the Schwab trivia game show, was among the casualties of ESPN’s wide-ranging layoffs last week. He announced that had been let go via his Facebook page. Many staffers in the Technology, Production, and other departments were also let go…

…ESPN’s unveiled the on-air talent lineups for its coverage of the FIFA Confederations Cup (which began last week) and Wimbledon, which begins next week.

ESPN’s Ian Darke and Stewart Robson are once again serving as the lead match commentator team for the Confed Cup in Brazil, while Fernando Palomo and Alejandro Moreno  (the Mexican National Team callers), and  Adrian Healey and Kasey Keller will serve in the both for the second and third level matches. The in-studio team includes lead host Bob Ley and a rotating group of analysts, including Keller, Alexi Lalas, Steve McManaman, Roberto Martinez, Jose Antonio (Tato) Noriega and Rubens Pozzi.

Chris Fowler and Mike Tirico will call Wimbledon matches in London and serve as studio hosts, while Hannah Storm will host the Breakfast at Wimbledon programs.  They will be joined by returnees Darren Cahill, Cliff Drysdale, Chris Evert, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert, John McEnroe, Patrick McEnroe and Pam Shriver.  Tom Rinaldi will provide reports and features and call matches as well.  LZ Granderson of ESPN.com will also serve as a studio analyst and feature reporter.

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