Monday, February 12, 2007

Tiki Barber to The Today Show; $3 Mil Per year

(image via cavalierdaily)

Former Fox News commentator Tiki Barber -- and we do love saying the name -- who was negotiating with every major network except CBS is off to the expanded "Today Show' with newly-minted NBC CEO Jeff Zucker, who is looking to fill an extra hour. There is, of course, not much of a surprise as Tiki has been auditioning for this for a while. From Variety:

"NBC Universal is expected to unveil Tiki Barber as its newest on-air personality today with roles on "Today" and 'Sunday Night Football.'

"The former Giants running back, who officially retired from professional football on Monday, has long sought a full-time broadcasting career, and several networks, including Fox and ABC/ESPN, had been vying for his services.

"He played his last NFL game on Saturday in Hawaii as a member of the NFC team in the Pro Bowl before wrapping up a 10-year career marked by 15,631 total yards, 10th in league history.

"Deal with NBC U, said to be worth $3 million per year over four years, will see Barber, 31, as a regular correspondent on 'Today.' He will file segments for the show starting in April.

"... At the news conference to introduce Barber set for today, NBC News prexy Steve Capus will appear along with NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol and newly minted NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker."

And, from David Amsden's New York article:

"On the Saturday before his last game ever at Giants Stadium, Tiki Barber, the best running back in team history, sits slumped in a plush armchair in the sun-splashed living room of his Upper East Side apartment. Dressed in all black—black jeans, black cashmere sweater, black socks with a hole in one heel—he is a still point in a house of movement. His wife of seven years, Ginny, is fixing lunch in the kitchen; his two sons, A.J. and Chason, are chasing each other around a Christmas tree; and Ginny’s parents, who live with the family, are trying to get the boys into their jackets. Barber, meanwhile, is attempting to explain how he became so disillusioned with football that he decided to make this season his last.

'It’s like when I was in high school,' he says. 'I never made below 100 percent on any assignment in math. The teacher would explain it once, and I’d have it.” He pauses to take a bite of the roast-beef sandwich that Ginny just dropped in his lap before running an errand with the kids. 'The same thing,' Barber continues, 'is happening to me as an NFL player. They explain, I get it, then they keep re-explaining it for another twenty minutes.' He speaks deliberately, projecting the same cool, vaguely mechanical confidence he does on the field. 'I’ve gotten really good at it. The problem is—and the reason I know it’s time for me to go—is that I know I’m good at it. I don’t have to pay attention anymore. I’ve lost my … ' He considers, rephrases. 'The challenge is not so much there anymore, which has caused my passion to wane.'

"It’s a funny thing, the psychology of ambition: how even the most outsize dreams have a way of losing their potency the moment they’re attained. Stranger still is how a decrease in passion often brings about an increase in focus and skill. A graph charting Barber’s incredible rate of mid-career improvement and another showing his growing disenchantment with the game would reveal something curious: The rates of incidence are identical. 'It’s true, isn’t it?' Barber acknowledges, flashing the halogen-bright smile he’s hoping will make him the rare athlete to have a broadcasting career that transcends sports reporting. For several months, he has been in negotiations with ABC, Fox, and NBC; it’s something he’s been itching to do since last year, when he was invited to Israel by former prime minister Shimon Peres, a trip that piqued his interest in hard news. 'I became fascinated,' he says, 'with history and how people think and what motivates people.''

The full article here (NYMag)


(S)wine said...

Very cool. You think he'll ever pull a switcheroo with Ronde?

The Corsair said...

It being the Today Show, look for that happening on April Fools, Bubbles.