On The Air
by Laura Nachman
Bucks County Courier Times
December 1, 2006

As the reeling Eagles make their second appearance on ESPN's “Monday Night Football” this week, senior coordinating producer Jay Rothman feels ESPN's rookie season on Monday has been a smash.

“It's getting better and better each week,” said Rothman, former ESPN “Sunday Night Football” producer. “It's like the Super Bowl every week.”

Rothman added that the ratings on Monday night are 40 percent higher than when ESPN did the games on Sunday nights with Mike Patrick, Paul Maguire and Joe Theismann.

As for the new “MNF” team of Mike Tirico, Theismann and Tony Kornheiser, Rothman said: “Chemistry just doesn't happen immediately. I love all three talents.”

Though some believe it isn't fair that NBC benefits from the new flex schedule, and “MNF” gets games such as the Eagles vs. Carolina, Rothman understands the reality of the situation.

“It is what it is,” he said. “Would I like flex scheduling? Of course. But we realize we must deal with the hand we are dealt.”

There is a local connection to the “MNF” production team. Churchville native and Gwynedd Mercy Academy and Notre Dame grad Kerry Callahan is an associate producer. Callahan played lacrosse for the Irish.

Uncertain future

Although Scott Graham's future with the Phillies is up in the air, he is entrenched as the lead college basketball announcer for CN8, entering his 11th season with the network. He will broadcast a couple dozen games for CN8, as well as a couple of games for ESPN.

Asked about his situation with the Phils, Graham only would say that it is up to the organization to make any announcement about the broadcast team.

Graham's voice also can be heard on the “Game of the Week” on the NFL Network each week.

His next game for CN8 will be Saturday when his alma mater, Penn, plays Villanova at the Palestra at 7 p.m.

Show must go on

For the second year in a row “The Donovan McNabb Show” will continue without the Eagles quarterback because of a season-ending injury.

According to Eagles Television Network executive producer Rob Alberino, QB Jeff Garcia will host this week, and others will fill-in for the remainder of the season. Running back Brian Westbrook did the honors last week.

Gannon dies

Longtime Philadelphia sportscaster Hugh Gannon died of lymphoma last week at the age of 70. Gannon worked for WCAU-TV, Prism, WPEN-AM, and Philadelphia Park. He is survived by five children and 10 grandchildren.

December 1, 2006 7:09 AM