When the inaugural season of The XFL was taking place, the games were aired on NBC, UPN and TNN. NBC were airing live games in prime time every Saturday night at 8:00 PM ET, while UPN and TNN were airing games on Sundays. As the season started out, UPN were airing games at 4:00 PM ET, then they suddenly moved their time slot as they began to air games at 7:00 PM ET, while TNN will air games at 4:00 PM ET.
The broadcast team for the main NBC game on Saturday nights were comprised of Matt Vasgersian on play-by-play, Jesse Ventura as analyst along with sideline reporters Mike Adamle and Fred Roggin. NBC also had a crew at a second game on Saturday nights, with the availability to join that game live for cut-ins and updates. During the second game, Jim Ross was said to be handling play-by-play with Jerry Lawler as analyst and Jonathan Coachman on the sidelines.
The broadcast team on UPN were comprised of Chris Marlowe on play-by-play, Brian Bosworth on color, and Michael Barkann and Chris Wragge as sideline reporters. Craig Minervini was handling play-by-play for the TNN games, with Bob Golic providing analysis and Kip Lewis and Lee Reherman on the sidelines. Even personalities like Jesse Ventura and Brian Bosworth joined the broadcast team as Ventura Joined the NBC Team and Bosworth joined the UPN Team. Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross also came over from WWE to fill similar roles and to add excitement to how the games were being called.
“With personalities like Jesse Ventura and Brian Bosworth, we know our crews will bring great energy and excitement to XFL telecasts,” said then XFL President Basil V. DeVito, Jr. “We expect fans will truly enjoy their unique broadcasting styles.”
Below is the complete list of broadcasting teams and the assignments they had:
NBC (National Telecasts):
– Week 1, 6–10: Matt Vasgersian, Jesse Ventura, Fred Roggin and Mike Adamle. Chris Wragge replaced Fred Roggin during Week 6.
– Week 2–5: Jim Ross, Jesse Ventura, Fred Roggin and Mike Adamle
NBC (Regional Telecasts):
– Week 1: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler and Jonathan Coachman. For week 1, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler were billed as their WWE personas, “J.R.” and “The King.”
– Week 2–5: Matt Vasgersian, Jerry Lawler and Jonathan Coachman. Vince McMahon personally demoted Matt Vasgersian to the regional telecast after openly criticizing a suggestive shot of the cheerleaders as “uncomfortable” on-air during the week 1 broadcast.
– Week 6–10: Jim Ross, Dick Butkus and Jonathan Coachman. Jerry Lawler left the XFL (and WWE) in protest after week five in the aftermath of the firing of his then-wife, Stacy Carter, as well as his own dissatisfaction with being pressured into commentary on XFL games; Lawler openly admitted on-air that he had virtually no interest or background in football, an unusual trait for a color analyst. After Lawler’s departure, NBC brought Vasgersian back up to the main broadcast team.
– Craig Minervini, Bob Golic, Lee Reherman and Kip Lewis.
– Chris Marlowe, Brian Bosworth, Chris Wragge and Michael Barkann.
According to Vince McMahon, the new XFL will not have any attachment to WWE financially or otherwise, unlike the previous incarnation of the league which featured WWE superstars promoting the product and even WWE announcers calling the action. It will be interesting to see who Vince McMahon will hire as the broadcast team for the new XFL as it will no longer be anyone from the WWE. It will also be interesting to see what these new commentators will bring to the table and how they will adapt to the new environment of the XFL.
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