Behind the Mic: Mike Tirico Pulls Double Duty With Winter Olympics Primetime Show, Super Bowl LVI Pregame Show
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, Mike Tirico will host both the Winter Olympics primetime show and Super Bowl LVI pregame show from Beijing and Los Angeles, Lindsey Vonn will join NBC Olympics for the upcoming Games, and more.
Mike Tirico To Host Winter Olympics from Beijing, Super Bowl LVI Pregame Show from Los Angeles
In a hosting double, Mike Tirico will host the NBC Olympics primetime show in Beijing (beginning Thursday, Feb. 3) and Los Angeles, while also hosting the Super Bowl LVI pregame show from SoFi Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 13, as NBCUniversal presents the two global events in an 18-day stretch next month.
Tirico will anchor the Olympic primetime show in Beijing from Thursday, Feb. 3 through Thursday, Feb. 10 before flying 6,200 miles to Los Angeles, where he’ll continue his Olympic hosting the very next night – Friday, Feb. 11 – from a special set outside SoFi Stadium, which will host Super Bowl LVI. He will host the primetime Olympics show again on Saturday night, before hosting the five-hour Super Bowl LVI Pregame Show on Sunday, Feb. 13. Immediately following Super Bowl coverage, he’ll return to the lake set to host Sunday night’s Olympic competition. Further details will be available in the coming weeks.
“There’s no one better than Mike Tirico to navigate this unique confluence — a global gathering of elite Olympic athletes in 15 sports in the world’s biggest media event and the game crowning the NFL champion in our country’s ultimate single-day sporting and media spectacle,” says Molly Solomon, Executive Producer & President, NBC Olympics Production. “Mike’s knowledge, preparation and ability to converse on anything from figure skating to football are second-to-none. We are counting down until it all begins next month.”
Tirico, who has been NBC’s primetime Olympics host since 2018, hosts his third Olympics (PyeongChang, Tokyo) and fourth Super Bowl (pregame co-host and host of Lombardi Trophy presentation, Super Bowls XXXIV, XXXVII, and XL on ABC). Primetime Winter Olympics coverage on NBC and Peacock begins on Thursday, February 3, the night before the Opening Ceremony.
“It is a career highlight to host the biggest sports broadcast day any media company has ever undertaken,” adds Tirico. “The foundation of our Olympic and NFL productions are the incredible people behind the camera. It is their planning and excellence that make this possible. I have never been more excited for a work project and to quote the great Ernie Banks, ‘let’s play 2!’”
Lindsey Vonn Joins NBC Olympics Team for 2022 Winter Fames
Lindsey Vonn, the Olympic gold medalist and winningest woman in alpine skiing World Cup history, will join NBC Olympics for its coverage of the 2022 Winter Games, it was announced today.
A four-time Olympian, Vonn made her on-air debut with the NBC Sports team in January 2021 for several days of competition in women’s downhill and Super-G events from Crans Montana, Switzerland. She will serve as a primetime correspondent.
“As one of the greatest Olympic skiers of all time and a superstar who has transcended her sport, we’re thrilled to have Lindsey join our team,” says Solomon. “Lindsey will provide a perspective unique to an athlete known for excellence, intensity and determination on the world’s biggest and most competitive stage.”
Vonn is among the most decorated alpine skiers of all time. Over the course of her career, she won 82 World Cup races, which is the most by a woman and second-most all time behind only Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden. Participating in four Olympic Games (2002, 2006, 2010, 2018), Vonn amassed three Olympic medals, including gold in the downhill at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010, where she became the first American woman to win gold in that discipline.
“I am excited to share my perspective along with my insight on what athletes might be feeling during high pressure moments,” says Vonn. “My first memories of Olympics were from NBC broadcast, so I am very excited to be working with a team that has been there for so many amazing Olympic moments.”
Vonn is one of only seven women to have won World Cup races in all five major disciplines of alpine skiing — downhill, Super-G, giant slalom, slalom, and super combined. She is a four-time winner of the overall World Cup title and won a women’s record 16 career World Cup discipline titles.
Kendra Andrews Joins ESPN as NBA Reporter Covering the Golden State Warriors
ESPN has signed Kendra Andrews to a multi-year agreement. Andrews will serve as an NBA reporter, primarily covering the Golden State Warriors. Andrews will write and report for ESPN.com while also contributing reports to various ESPN television platforms, including its NBA programming and SportsCenter.
Prior to joining ESPN, Andrews served as Warriors reporter for NBC Sports Bay Area and co-hosted the Dubs Talk podcast. She had previously covered the Denver Nuggets for The Athletic. Andrews is a Gonzaga University graduate and is a former Washington Post intern.
Nabil Karim Joins Turner Sports as Studio Host & Reporter
Turner Sports has reached a multi-year agreement with Nabil Karim, who will serve as a host for NBA TV, while also contributing as host and reporter across basketball and hockey programming.
Karim was most recently at ESPN, anchoring SportsCenter and various other studio shows since 2019. He previously was an anchor and reporter for TSN, showing his versatility in hosting SportsCentre and major sporting events, including the network’s coverage of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the 2013 and 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships, the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games, the 2016 FIBA Americas, and the 2016 Rio Olympic Summer Games. Karim was also a reporter for NHL on TSN and an occasional host for NBA on TSN.
A native Vancouverite, Karim graduated from Simon Fraser University as a communications major and received a broadcast journalism degree from the British Columbia Institute of Technology.
Max McGee Joins ESPN as SportsCenter Anchor
Max McGee has joined ESPN as an anchor for the network’s signature news and information program SportsCenter. McGee comes to ESPN from WJZ-TV, the CBS affiliate in Baltimore, Md., where he was a news and sports anchor for the past three years. McGee covered Baltimore’s professional sports teams, University of Maryland sports and breaking news.
Prior to moving to Baltimore, McGee was a sports and news anchor at WMBF-TV, the NBC affiliate in Myrtle Beach/Florence, SC. He began his television career as a reporter and producer at KPLC-TV in Lake Charles, LA, where he shared an AP Award for best sportscast.
A native of Cherry Hill, NJ, McGee is a graduate of Temple University.
The Undefeated Adds Two Senior Editors: Mike McCray and Erik Horne
As part of its expansion and commitment to multidimensional content on the intersections of sports, race and culture, The Undefeated has added two experienced journalists as senior editors at the ESPN media platform.
Mike McCray joined The Undefeated from The Charlotte Observer, where he worked on audience growth and retention for the North Carolina-based media outlet from 2018. At The Undefeated, he will be responsible for the day-to-day content on the website, editing content, and a leadership role in implementing the project’s research and analytics strategy. McCray will report to managing editor Monique Jones.
Erik Horne, a news editor at The Athletic in Oklahoma City for the past two years, joins The Undefeated as a senior editor for sports, reporting directly to the platform’s deputy editor for sports Ed Guzman.
McCray, a native of Charlotte, NC, is a 2009 journalism and mass communication graduate from North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro. His tenure at The Charlotte Observer included working on the team responsible for elevating journalism across McClatchy newsrooms in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Mississippi. McCray’s credit includes award-winning “CARRUTH,” which won Sports Illustrated’s 2018 Best Podcast, and “Brooklyn: How A Black Community Was Erased from Uptown Charlotte,” which earned the Observer its first regional Emmy nomination.
Prior to the Observer, McCray was engagement editor at The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, leading social media strategy on flagship accounts. He also served as social media editor at the Dallas Morning News, highlighted by 2017 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Breaking News Reporting earned by the paper; and a stint at The Fayetteville Observer.
Horne was the web editor and producer at NewsOK.com, the digital arm for The Oklahoman – the leading news outlet in Oklahoma – from 2013-2015, covering Oklahoma high school sports, the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder and college sports at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University. He then covered the Thunder from 2015-2019 for The Oklahoman as a beat writer. He has also worked at SCORE Atlanta – a leading digital platform for high school sports in Atlanta – and The Daily Ardmoreite, a Gannett newspaper in Ardmore, OK.
College Football Writer Pete Thamel Joins ESPN
Award-winning journalist Pete Thamel is joining ESPN as a college football senior writer. One of the industry’s most widely respected reporters, Thamel will cover college football year-round for ESPN, as well as some college basketball. His multi-platform role will include writing for ESPN, as well as television and radio.
Thamel’s day-to-day news reporting will appear on ESPN.com, while a majority of his features and non-news reporting will be part of ESPN+. Thamel will contribute to ESPN Radio, in addition to making regular appearances across ESPN networks, including popular studio shows College GameDay, editions of SportsCenter, College Football Live, Get Up, and more.
Thamel joins ESPN from Yahoo Sports where he covered college sports and the NFL since 2017. Thamel also worked for five years as a senior writer at Sports Illustrated, covering college football and basketball, and he previously spent nine years as the national college sports reporter for the New York Times.
A member of the Football Writers Association of America, Thamel has earned numerous FWAA writing awards the past decade and a half. He’s won numerous APSE awards, including first place for beat reporting in 2017 and breaking news in 2011. In 2006, the New York Times nominated him for a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.
Thamel attended Syracuse University and graduated from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.