To keep east coast viewers, who will likely be drowsy from a long day of presents and eggnog (or pepper steak and beef lo mein for this reporter), excited and tuned in after nearly 11 straight hours of basketball, TNT is bringing in the big guns for its first Christmas day broadcast since 2014.
The Inside The NBA crew of Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O’Neal will be calling the Lakers-Timberwolves game at 10:30 eastern on Monday live from Staples Center with sideline reporter Kristen Ledlow. Johnson and Ledlow spoke to Awful Announcing about how a four-man booth that’s not used to preparing before its broadcasts will work its first ever regular season game together.
“I think it’s probably going to be an extension of our show combined with a bit of your traditional play-by-play game, but it’s gonna be a mix of the two and I don’t know which side is gonna win out,” Johnson told Awful Announcing, though he probably knows which side is going to win out. “Four voices courtside is a lot to fit in a broadcast, but we’ll find a way.”
For people looking for a regular kind of telecast, you won’t be finding it on TNT this Monday.
“I think we’d be fooling ourselves to say that we’re going to go out there and try to make it a traditional broadcast,” Johnson said. “I don’t think that was ever the point.”
The Inside The NBA crew will do a quick pregame show courtside, with an announce table that’s extra long and wide, a necessity when O’Neal and Barkley are two of your four broadcasters. Ledlow, working her first Christmas day game, will handle pregame interviews, in addition to interviewing players rather than coaches after the first and third quarters. She’ll also be handling some of the halftime responsibilities.