Fox Sports 1 continues to add to their ranks ahead of the network's August 17th launch. In addition to big name hires like Andy Roddick and Brian Urlacher, FS1 has now added a Hockey Hall of Famer as their main NHL analyst.
In his Monday Media Column, SI's Richard Detisch reports the former Blackhawks and Red Wings defenseman will join the new cable sports network as its hockey analyst for the Sochi Olympics and beyond. In addition, FS1 hired Michelle Kwan as Olympic figure skating analyst…
"It's tough for a non-rights holder to get any kind of viewer traction (outside of an online audience) for Olympic coverage, but Fox Sports 1 is staffing up for Sochi. The network has hired Michelle Kwan and Chris Chelios to serve as Olympic analysts, joining a roster that includes previous additions, Picabo Street and Andy Finch, who will work the Games onsite as well. The analysts will focus on the sports in which they competed — figure skating for Kwan, hockey for Chelios, alpine skiing for Street and snowboarding for Finch — but they'll also be part of group discussions on general Olympic topics. "I targeted people with personalities," said Rick Jaffe, senior vice president of news operations for Fox Sports. "I sold them on 'Hey, we will let you be you here. You can come here and let your personality show and have fun.'"
(As this column has previously stated, all Fox Sports 1 executives are contractually required to use the word "fun" at least once in interviews.)
Jaffe said the Olympic analysts will do features and interviews in addition to analysis for both Fox Sports 1 and FoxSports.com. If judged on how they performed in interviews as athletes, all four have potential as broadcasters.
Jaffe said Chelios will also be the NHL analyst for Fox Sports 1. He'll work through the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs and will have an in-home camera when breaking news occurs. "I think he can be great," Jaffe said."
Given Fox's addiction to bright, shiny objects I can't imagine they'll pay any more attention to the NHL than ESPN does. However, it helps to have at least one voice on the network that can speak to the league aside from the imported Jay Onrait and Dan O'Toole from TSN. For all the hockey fans that think ESPN has abandoned them, I highly doubt Fox Sports Live will suddenly be giving you highlights and a breakdown of a Blue Jackets-Islanders game in December.
Who knows how good Chelios will be in his TV analyst role, but Fox has finally answered the biggest question about FS1 – who was going to be their counter to Barry Melrose. Chelios has some serious catching up to do in the mullet category.