[02/09/06 - 12:00 AM]
Michaels: "I'M Excited About Starting a Brand New Run"

[via press release from NBC]



Ebersol: �I�m sort of like a kid in a candy store.�

Michaels: �I�m excited about starting a brand new run�

TORINO, Italy - Feb. 9, 2006 - Emmy Award-winning sportscaster Al Michaels, one of the most renowned sports broadcasters of all time, and the commentator called "TV's best play-by-play announcer" by the Associated Press, will join "NBC's Sunday Night NFL Football" this fall. Michaels joins game analyst John Madden in the booth, reuniting the most honored NFL broadcast team on television, with Bob Costas and Cris Collinsworth serving as co-hosts of NBC's "Football Night in America" studio show. A conference call was held this morning with NBC Universal Sports & Olympics Chairman Dick Ebersol, Michaels and Madden; a replay of today's call is available at 719/457.0820, passcode 3571841.

Following are highlights from today's call with Ebersol and "NBC's Sunday Night NFL Football" booth tandem of Michaels and Madden:


"I'm sort of like a kid in a candy store. I set out with a dream last April of getting the best; the best play-by-by person in the business in Al, the best sports analyst of any kind, John, the best studio host, of the last two generations at least, in Bob Costas, and in Cris Collinsworth the most honored studio analyst, ever actually, and a remarkable, remarkable guy."


"I'm thinking about how life comes full circle and my first network appearance was on October 3rd, 1971 when, along with the Bears' receiver Johnny Morris, I broadcast the Buffalo Bills and the Minnesota Vikings on NBC. It was a regional telecast; I think it went to 5 markets. And now at the other end of my career I'm back at NBC. And I'm very grateful to ESPN and ABC for allowing me to pursue this and get it done."

"Now I'm able to continue with my guys and join Bob Costas, who has been a long time pal, and Cris Collinsworth and I am excited about starting a brand new run."


"I am coming off the most satisfying years of my professional life. I think John Madden is the most extraordinary talent and I love working with him."


"I was so happy when I heard the news... These last few years have been as enjoyable as anything could be... The Sunday Night package came up and Dick Ebersol offered me a job and I thought that is where I'd always want to be... I hoped we would all still be together. When I heard he was coming I said, 'man that completes the deal and this is great.'"


"George Bodenheimer wanted to talk to me, he called, he said that he was wrestling with the decision of whether or not to let Al out, that Al had indeed asked out of his deal. One of the things he had to have was something from us. He wasn't going to let him go without something from us, I said, 'fine as long as it's non-financial I will be willing to discuss that with you.'"

"They (ESPN) made a list...We hold the broadcast and cable rights for the next four Ryder Cups and they wanted very much to have the cable rights, the Friday telecast rights...He wanted some rights to increase rights from the Olympics...The odd thing was, on their list they wanted the rights to 'Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.' And I had no idea what that was. So I called George back after I got the paper and I said, 'George come on, what's 'Oswald the Lucky Rabbit?' And he told me this incredible story that Walt's (Disney) first really big production as a cartoonist for the cinema had been 'Oswald the Lucky Rabbit,' before Mickey... Walt lost those rights, those rights fell into the hands of Universal Pictures sometime in the late '40's, and in recent years Disney had made several efforts to get those rights back from us. For family reasons they would like to very much have all of Walt's stuff restored to Disney...Al certainly brought, even though not cash, he brought much more value than Herm Edwards did to the Jets in terms of a 4th round draft pick."


"George really has apparently a lot of people at ESPN, despite their backing away from golf, they really see the Ryder Cup as the other Olympics. It's not quite obviously of the magnitude of the Olympics we're about to do here. But it is the Olympics of golf with all the patriotism, the incredible level of intense competition and they wanted that. And they really wanted us not to go to market looking for a bidding war with other cable entities. And we had a quick give and take, and worked out a figure that both parties have lived with."


"I believe that he is about the best and strongest human being that I've ever dealt with in the sports business. When I first broached with him in late October that I wanted him to try to make the transition to play-by-play, he very, very industriously did four separate games in November and December working up to doing the fifth game (with Madden), which was one of the most interesting, fantastic telecasts I've ever watched. And the total audience was about 15 or 20 of us who were there. We were blown away by it."

I don't know a finer, least egotistical person in the entire industry, including entertainment and sports, than Cris Collinsworth."


"He is the ultimate team player. He was willing to go in that direction (play-by-play) if that was the thing you (Dick) wanted him to do. I think a lot of it is the respect and the loyalty he has to you (Dick) and to NBC and he would gone in any area that you would have wanted him."

  [february 2006]  


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