There’s the Emmys. There’s the ESPY’s. And then, there’s the Sports Emmys.
The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which is responsible for the annual Emmy Awards show, has released the nominees for the sports-oriented version of the awards, which will be handed out Monday, April 30 at Lincoln Center’s Feredick Rose Hall in New York City.
Over 170 nominees in close to three dozen categories were named. No surprise here, but sports broadcasting behemoth ESPN has as many nominations for programming and personnel among their family of networks (55) as two of the next three entities with the highest number of awards (NBC Sports Group with 33 and Turner Sports, including NBA TV and NBA.com, with 22) combined. CBS properties (CBS, CBSSports.com and Showtime) combined for 26 Sports Emmy nods, good for third place overall. The Sports Emmys is rarified air for HBO, which usually leads even the broadcast networks in the traditional Emmy Awards for the most nominations: HBO Sports rounds out the top five with 19 Sports Emmy nominations. (Though, when broken down by individual network, only ESPN’s 35 and NBC’s 23 lead HBO’s 19 – good enough to put “Home Box Office” in third place in that regard.)
FOX Sports and SPEED Network tandem for 16 nominations. NFL Network has 12, while NFL.com has two. MLB Network has eight, while its MLB Advanced Media unit, including MLB.com, has two.
Observing the program nominations, ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” and HBO’s “24/7” are tied with eight apiece, followed by ESPN2’s “E:60” series with seven. In terms of major sports packages, FOX’s baseball and NASCAR coverage gets five nominations apiece, while their football programming, including Super Bowl XLV, got just two nods – the same number ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” and “Sunday NFL Countdown,” and “Football Night In America,” the pregame to NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” received. “Sunday Night Football” itself got four nominations, as did TNT for their NBA coverage. The 2011 Stanley Cup Final on NBC and Versus (now known as NBC Sports Network) got a pair of nominations, as did CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV for their combined coverage of the 2011 NCAA tournament for the first time. And the Army/Navy Game, which recorded a 4.0 overnight rating on CBS last year, received three nominations.
In the category of “Outstanding Studio Show, Daily,” four of the six nominees are ESPN programs: “SportsCenter,” “Pardon The Interruption,” “NASCAR Now,” and ESPN2’s “SportsNation.” TNT’s “Inside The NBA” and MLB Network’s “MLB Tonight” round out the nominees. (Shocked to find NFL Network’s “Total Access” not among the nominees in this category. Maybe next year.)
As far as “Outstanding Studio Show, Weekly” nominees, ESPN once again leads the pack, though the margin is not that wide: “Sunday NFL Countdown” and “College GameDay” square off against “Football Night In America,” “Inside The NBA,” and Showtime’s “Inside The NFL.”
Your nominees for “Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio Host” are: James Brown (CBS/Showtime), Bob Costas (NBC/MLB Network), Bryant Gumbel (HBO), Ernie Johnson (TNT/NBA TV) and Dan Patrick (NBC/DIRECTV). (The satellite provider carries the video feed of his daily syndicated radio show, in case you were not aware.)
“Outstanding Sports Personality, Play-By-Play” nominees are: Marv Albert (CBS/TBS/TNT), Joe Buck (FOX), Mike “Doc” Emrick (NBC/Versus), Al Michaels (NBC) and Jim Nantz (CBS).
Note that none of the nominees in the previous two categories are ESPN personalities. And you won’t find any in this one, either: For “Outstanding Sports Personality, Sports Reporter,” the nominees this year are: Pierre McGuire (NBC/Versus), Ken Rosenthal (FOX), Craig Sager (TBS/TNT), Michele Tafoya (NBC) and Tracy Wolfson (CBS – though she was also involved with the multi-network arrangement of the NCAA tournament last year, as well).
Michaels’ “Sunday Night Football” boothmate, Cris Collinsworth, received two Sports Emmy nods: one for his color commentary on “SNF” in the “Outstanding Sports Personality, Sports Event Analyst” category, which also includes the following nominees: Gary Danielson (CBS), Jon Gruden (ESPN), Jim Kaat (MLB Network) and Mike Mayock (NBC/NFL Network).
Collinsworth is also nominated for a Sports Emmy in the “Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio Analyst” category for his work on “Inside The NFL.” Also nominated in this category are: Charles Barkley (CBS/TNT/NBA TV), Skip Bayless (ESPN2/”First Take”), Trent Dilfer and Kirk Herbstreit (ESPN) and Al Leiter and Harold Reynolds (MLB Network).
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that the Lifetime Achievement Award for this year’s Sports Emmys will be given to Philadelphia native Jack Whitaker. Established at CBS throughout the ’60’s and ’70’s and ABC during the ’80’s, Whitaker was involved with many popular programs, from Super Bowl I to “20/20.” Whitaker turns 88 this May.
You can view the full list of nominees and other categories that weren’t mentioned in this piece by clicking here. Who knows – you might even find a few more categories where there are nary an ESPN nominee.
And of course, to all nominees… good luck.