A six-pack of media notes on a Thursday:
▪ The Dolphins have two more games that could be flexed to more appealing time slots and large audiences: Dec. 31 at the Ravens and the home finale the following weekend against Buffalo.
The Dec. 24 Cowboys-at-Dolphins game will remain on Fox at 4:25 p.m.; it is not eligible to be flexed into prime time.
While NBC’s Green Bay-Minnesota game on New Year’s Eve is at risk of being flexed out, it could just as easily remain in prime time. The NFL has stuck with Sunday night games involving teams with losing records if they’re hovering around .500 or in playoff contention. The Vikings are 6-6, the Packers 5-6.
Besides Dolphins-Ravens, another New Year’s Eve game that could emerge as a Sunday night flex option is Pittsburgh-Seattle.
CBS and Fox can each protect a game each week. Before Joe Burrow’s injury, CBS was assuredly going to protect Cincinnati-Kansas City. Now that’s questionable.
If the Bengals fall out of playoff contention, it’s possible Dolphins-Ravens could be moved to the 4:25 p.m. late window on CBS, along with a Chargers-Denver game.
As for the Dolphins-Buffalo finale, that game could be at 1 p.m., 4:25 p.m. or 8:20 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 7, or shifted to one of two ESPN slots on Jan. 6.
Those decisions won’t be made until a week or so before.
▪ On Thursday, Kansas City-New England on Dec. 18 became the first game to ever be flexed out of “Monday Night Football.” The NFL replaced it with Seattle-Philadelphia.
The NFL stuck with Packers-Giants as ABC’s game on Monday night, Dec. 11, while the Dolphins and Titans play simultaneously on ESPN. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will call the Packers game; Chris Fowler, Dan Orlovsky and Louis Riddick will call the Dolphins game.
For those wondering why NFL didn’t flex out Packers-at-Giants, MetLife Stadium is booked Dec. 10 (Houston at Jets) so the NFL essentially stuck with the Packers over a Jets team that struggles to score.
Amazon has a Thursday night flexing component this season, but it’s possible no game might be replaced.
Packers-Vikings appears to be the only NBC game at risk, and if both teams are in playoff contention, it likely won’t be flexed.
▪ Couple other NFL things: You will need NBC’s streaming service, Peacock, to watch Bills-Chargers on Saturday night, Dec. 23. NBC is airing its Sunday night game on Saturday afternoon that weekend (Bengals-Steelers at 4:30 p.m. on that Saturday, Dec. 23).
Notably, Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth will call the Bills-Chargers Peacock game, and NBC’s Big 10 team announcing team (Noah Eagle, Todd Blackledge) will work the Bengals-Steelers on NBC…
NFL Network has the Christmas Eve game (Patriots-Broncos), and it cannot be flexed…
Monday Night Football will air on Saturday night, Dec. 30 (Lions-Cowboys) instead of Monday night, Jan. 1, because of ABC/ESPN’s college football commitments…
Three of these five eligible Dec. 17 games were shifted to NFL Network national slots on Saturday, Dec. 16: Atlanta-Carolina, Minnesota-Cincinnati (now 1 p.m. Dec. 16), Chicago-Cleveland, Denver-Detroit (now 8:15 p.m. Dec. 16) and Pittsburgh-Indianapolis (now 4:30 p.m. Dec. 16).
▪ A one-hour version Dan Le Batard’s daily program will stream on the Warner Brothers Discovery’s Max Sports tier every weekday beginning this past Monday.
The show will continue to air on YouTube and the DraftKings Network FAST channel.
Max Sports’ Bleacher Report-branded sports tier launched in early October and is free to Max subscribers through February. Beginning in March 2024, the tier will cost $9.99 per month.
▪ Diamond Sports Group - which owns the Bally Sports networks - is likely parting ways with a couple of MLB teams as it goes through an ongoing bankruptcy process. But Bally Sports Florida is expected to carry Marlins games next season.
Whether Heat and Panthers games remain on Bally in the 2024-25 seasons remains undetermined. Both Bally networks in Florida could continue to operate even after Diamond completes the bankruptcy process and then potentially strike new or modified rights deals with the Heat, Panthers and Marlins.
But the local teams have explored alternative options if the Bally Florida networks disappear.
One advantage that seemingly improves the likelihood of the Bally Florida networks surviving: They own not only the TV rights to the Heat, Marlins and Panthers, but also their streaming rights, which have considerable value.
▪ Announcer notes: TNT and ESPN will intermingle commentators on their NBA In-Season Tournament semifinal games from Las Vegas next Thursday night. ESPN’s Mike Breen and Doris Burke and TNT’s Reggie Miller will call the first semifinal on ESPN. TNT’s Kevin Harlan and Candace Parker will be joined by ESPN’s Doc Rivers on the second semifinal on TNT.
The network’s studio teams also will make appearances on the other network’s shows next Thursday night....
Saturday’s Georgia-Alabama Southeastern Conference championship game will be the last SEC game on CBS; SEC games move to ABC and ESPN next season. CBS will air Big 10 games at 3:30 p.m. Saturdays next year, with Brad Nessler and Gary Danielson remaining the network’s lead team...
ABC/ESPN assigned lead team Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit to Friday’s Oregon-Washington Pac-12 title game; No. 2 team Sean McDonough and Greg McElroy to the Texas-Oklahoma State Big 12 title game Saturday afternoon; and No. 3 team Joe Tessitore and Jesse Palmer to the FSU-Louisville ACC title game Saturday night.