Big names and big personalities drive Fox pregame show

Kevin Burkhardt moderates interviews with Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, David Ortiz and Frank sports

Before the game 3 World Series, Fox was Derek Jeter on his previous set, sitting among his one-time AL East rival David Ortiz and his one-time New York Yankees teammate Alex Rodriguez.

Jeter began taunting Ortiz about having to take off his World Series ring, drawing laughter from the set at Philadelphia’s raucous Citizens Bank Park.

The host of the show, Kevin Burkhardtlater, Jeter was asked a light-hearted question about his thoughts on appearing on the show next to Hall of Fame shortstop Ortiz.

“Who would have ever thought that,” Jeter said. “Did you think we were going to be sitting here next to David Ortiz when we were playing? I never thought I’d see that day.”

It was a relatively unremarkable segment. It didn’t break much ground. He didn’t make a viral clip for social media that night. But the segment showed how Fox approaches its MLB pregame shows. It relies on instantly recognizable names and larger-than-life characters to deliver fun and entertaining conversations on screen.

The quick-witted Burkhardt serves as the show’s host, quietly taking on the role of on-air producer and shrewdly keeping the conversation from getting sidetracked. Ortiz has the biggest personality on set and exudes an aura of fun.

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Rodriguez and Frank Thomas baseball fans are instantly recognizable and add to the celebrity image of the program.

Bardia Shah-RaisThe network’s vice president of production likens it to an NBA coach who adapts his strategy to his roster and puts players in positions to succeed.

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“To me, this was the funnest October we’ve had in a really long time, and I think everybody needed it,” said Brad Zager, executive producer and president of production and operations for Fox Sports. “Next year, when the shift is dismissed, it will be even better because you will see more insults.”
Three of the first four World Series games (including Wednesday night’s no-hitter) saw gains, but the two League Championship Series saw a combined 9% drop in attendance, one over the line and the other just five games (a short streak). usually has a small audience). MLB has achieved the highest viewership of any series over the past five years.

“We’d be foolish not to play David’s big role or Alex’s baseball sensibility,” he said. “Jeter’s point worked because all these guys respect each other. It was light-hearted. It wasn’t serious.”

Shah-Rice used his experience on Fox’s college football studio show as an example. Ortiz is an entertainer who knows baseball well. At the football show Urban Meyer is more analytical and explains the game in a way that can be understood by the lay audience.

“If David Ortiz had been on ‘Big Noon Kickoff,’ it would have been a different show,” he said. “We can’t produce Urban Meyer like we produced David Ortiz.”

Brad ZagerThe executive producer and president of production and operations for Fox Sports highlighted the passion every MLB analyst has for the game, offering a window into a never-before-seen look at former players playing.

Zager said this type of pregame show, with its big, bold personality, is exactly what Fox wants to show baseball to its viewers.

“That studio show — from the pregame show to the postgame show — is the studio show that baseball has always needed,” Zager said. “It’s got the biggest names in the sport – just great people, unbelievable people.”

Jeter’s streak before Game 3 came as a result of a tie with World Series sponsor Capital 1. Burkhardt asked Jeter a Capital One-related question during a seven-minute segment that lasted about 40 seconds.

But the episode will be best remembered for the friendly exchange between baseball’s biggest retired stars.

According to Shah-Rice, Jeter arrived in the green room two hours before his segment to spend time with everyone.

“It’s rare to have that kind of atmosphere in the green room and that kind of easy conversation in the air,” Shah-Rais said.

Rodriguez cites his long relationship with Ortiz and Thomas, dating back a quarter of a century, as the reason he feels comfortable on set.

“The most important thing is trust, right?” Rodriguez said. “We believe in each other. We have a lot of fun. We laugh with each other. “This is really important.”

John Ourand can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Ourand_SBJ and read his weekly newsletter and listen to his weekly podcast.


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