LOS ANGELES, January 7, 2008 —
Tennis Icon’s First Assignment to be Primary Commentator with Veteran Sportscaster Bill Macatee on Network’s Australian Open Telecast January 14-27
Tennis Channel Unveils Australian Open On-Air Team, Telecast Schedule – Including Nightly Prime-Time Match Coverage
Tennis Channel, the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and passionate lifestyle of tennis, has signed tennis legend Martina Navratilova as primary commentator during all Grand Slam tournaments on the network in 2008. The Hall of Famer and winner of more singles titles than any other tennis player in history, male or female, will cover the Australian Open (held Jan. 14-27), the French Open (May 25-June 8) and Wimbledon (June 23-July 6) for the channel.
In May 2007, Navratilova made her Tennis Channel debut during the channel’s groundbreaking French Open coverage.
“We had a wonderful time breaking the mold together during Tennis Channel’s inaugural Grand Slam tennis coverage at last year’s French Open,” said Navratilova. “Our approach is what U.S. television audiences have wanted for so long: round-the-clock coverage and the best action from court to court as it happens. I’m really proud of what we accomplished and to be associated with the advances we’re bringing to televised tennis, and I look forward to continuing this relationship for many years to come.”
Navratilova’s first on-air duties will take place during the 2008 Australian Open Jan. 14-27, when she joins network anchor/producer Bill Macatee – himself a major component of Tennis Channel’s 2007 French Open activity – as one of two primary commentators. Tennis Channel’s first Australian Open telecast takes place prime time, Monday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m. ET, the beginning of 30 hours of live or first-run match telecasts this year. The network will show a prime-time block of live matches almost every night of the two-week tournament, in addition to special replays of the men’s and women’s singles semifinals and finals (initially on ESPN2).
Tennis Channel will also offer more than 70 hours of programming dedicated to Australian Open Today, a daily morning show that recaps the day’s events as the action is winding down in Melbourne and American East Coast audiences are just facing the day. The six-hour program airs at 8 a.m. ET every morning of the tournament, leading up to the final weekend, and follows in the footsteps of the network’s landmark French Open Tonight, a nightly series that offered the best of the day’s tennis, previously unseen matches, and original features that reflected the atmosphere of the prestigious event.
As with the 2007 French Open, Tennis Channel is working in unison with ESPN2 to bring fans virtually round-the-clock coverage during the 2008 Australian Open, with both networks cross-promoting each other’s daily telecasts. ESPN2 is producing all Australian Open coverage for both networks, with each channel utilizing its own commentators.
Australian Open On-Air Talent
Joining primary commentators Navratilova and Macatee, Tennis Channel’s Australian Open on-air team includes long-standing network announcer and commentator Leif Shiras, the recently retired Justin Gimelstob and current player Renee Stubbs when she is not competing in the tournament. Shiras, Gimelstob and Stubbs will handle sideline and interview duties, announce a number of matches in conjunction with Australian Open Today and appear in feature material.
Tennis Channel’s Live Australian Open Match Schedule
Monday, Jan. 14 – 7 p.m.-9 p.m. – First-Round Action
Tuesday, Jan. 15 – 7 p.m.-11 p.m. – First-Round Action
Wednesday, Jan. 16 – 7 p.m.-11:30 p.m. – Second-Round Action
Thursday, Jan. 17 – 7 p.m.-9 p.m. – Second-Round Action
Friday, Jan. 18 – 7 p.m.-10 p.m. – Third-Round Action
Saturday, Jan. 19 – 7 p.m.-10 p.m. – Third-Round Action
Monday, Jan. 21 – 7 p.m.-9 p.m. – Women’s Quarterfinals
Tuesday, Jan. 22 – 7 p.m.-9 p.m. – Women’s Quarterfinals
Wednesday, Jan. 23 – 7 a.m.-9:30 p.m. – Men’s Doubles Semifinals
Thursday, Jan. 24 – 11 p.m.-1 a.m. – Women’s Doubles Final
Friday, Jan. 25 – 11:30 p.m.-1 a.m. – Men’s Doubles Final
Sunday, Jan. 27 1 – 2 a.m.-1:30 a.m. – Mixed Doubles Final
Tennis Channel’s Australian Open Today Schedule
Australian Open Today airs Monday, Jan. 14-Saturday, Jan. 26. The show generally runs from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. ET. Exceptions are (all times ET):
Saturday, Jan. 19 – 8 a.m.-11 a.m.
Sunday, Jan. 20 – 8 a.m.-11 a.m.
Saturday, Jan. 26 – 1 p.m.-7 p.m.
Tennis Channel (www.tennischannel.com) is the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and passionate lifestyle of tennis. A hybrid of comprehensive sports, health, fitness, pop culture, entertainment, lifestyle and travel programming, the network is home to every aspect of the wide-ranging, worldwide tennis community. It also has the most concentrated single-sport coverage in television, with telecast rights to Wimbledon, Roland Garros (the French Open), the Australian Open, US Open Series, ATP Masters Series, top-tier Sony Ericsson WTA Tour championship competitions, Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, and Hyundai Hopman Cup. Tennis Channel is carried by eight of the top 10 MSOs and has a national footprint via DIRECTV and Echostar’s DISH Network.
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