NBC5 management believes star Bears receiver Brandon Marshall is such a good catch that his telegenic work for the station will continue throughout next off-season.
Marshall’s smile and affable manner has lit up the 45-minute post-newscast “Sports Sunday” segment since the start of the NFL season. But with the blessing of top NBC5 executives, executive sports producer Geoff Glick projects Marshall to roam far and wide from football for video work in 2013.
“It would be great to see Brandon talking to Derrick Rose,” Glick says. “Or knowing his Florida connections, when the (Miami) Heat is in town, Brandon goes to talk to LeBron (James) and Dewayne Wade. It’s part of what we already discussed with him.”
Marshall already is the focal point of Sunday late-night programming.
NBC5 is deploying even more cameras (four, including a hand-held camera) for “Sports Sunday,” highlighting Marshall’s work, than for its preceding newscast (three). And when the Bears play the Houston Texans on Sunday night, Nov. 11, “Sports Sunday” will lead off the news block after NBC’s post-game show, with Marshall live from Soldier Field.
Marshall is an integral part of the four-man panel that includes Bears Hall of Famer Dan Hampton, former Bear running back Mike Adamle and anchor Laurence Holmes. He actively diagrams plays on a telestrator, having learned the technique in a two-hour crash session before his first on-air appearance.
Glick conceived of the role for Marshall, the only regular live Bear appearing on Sunday nights on Chicago TV, when he saw Marshall soak up his Chicago welcome at his introductory press conference early this year.
The hiring was a slam-dunk when Glick showed tapes of Marshall’s work to NBC5 general manager Larry Wert and vice president of news Frank Whitaker.
Press conference sparked station interest
“We’ve never seen a more impressive press conference at Halas Hall in 15 years,” Glick says “He was in control of what was going on and talking about the little things. He was doing it in an honest and forthright way. His smile kind of lit up the camera.
“I did some research, he had done stuff for Nickelodeon and a show called ‘Sports Soup,’ which was a totally improv comedy show, and was really impressed what he had accomplished. He was just comfortable in front of the camera. We’re always looking for a dynamic presence.”
Glick recalled the appeal of other Sunday night Bears attractions like Mike Ditka and Steve McMichael, who pulled off stunts like cutting off anchor Mark Giangreco’s tie and holding his pet Chihuahua on camera.
“He might have a personality that breaks through, crosses over and attracts non-football fans,” Glick says.
Holmes has his own personal ratings/demo service on Marshall’s appeal.
“The first thing my mother said is this man has a beautiful smile,” he said.
When Marshall cannot appear live on Sunday nights if a game starts on the road after 3 p.m. that day, Glick will tape the segment soon after the game with reporter Peggy Kusinski. Or with the upcoming Monday night game in Dallas when Marshall is already out of town, the Bear taped interviews with teammates this week.
George Castle is a longtime Chicago-based sportswriter, author and radio talk-show host.