Back in May, Peter King announced he was leaving Sports Illustrated and the MMQB vertical he helped build for NBC, where he’d continue to write his Monday morning column under a different title.
Now, thanks to King’s interview with Rick Maese of the Washington Post, we know it will be called “Football Morning in America”, an obvious brand extension to NBC’s Sunday night flagship show Football Night in America, where King has done television work for years.
According to King, the format isn’t going to change much, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise:
Q: You started the Monday Morning QB column 21 years ago. What should readers expect now that it’s moving to NBCSports.com?
King: I think a lot of the column will be similar to what I’ve done, particularly in the last three to five years. But I am going to add some new elements. There’s one thing that I’ve always really wanted to do. In my first column, it’s going to be with Ben McAdoo, the former coach of the Giants. Basically, it’s going to be called “What I’ve Learned.” In essence, this is going to be a section of the column that is going to be basically somebody in or near to football and a lesson that they’ve learned.
There’s two or three people on every team who have got some real wisdom to share, some stories to tell about the things they’ve learned.
King also addressed the inherent differences that come with working as a journalist for a company in business with the sport he’s covering:
Q: You’ve done TV work for NBC going back to 2006. NBC, obviously, is an NFL rights-holder and has a financial relationship with the league, unlike Sports Illustrated. Are you concerned your column will be impacted at all by this relationship or perhaps viewed differently by readers?
King: No, I’m not. Never one time in my discussions with NBC — not once — did they ever say, “Hey, listen, we may want to see your column on Sunday just to make sure we’re going to be okay with whatever you might write.”
Secondarily, I would say that in my contract I have editorial control over this column. So you’re going to read the same column that you read, for better or for worse, in terms of editorializing football and non-football opinions that I’ve always written.
But you know, it’s a good point. I am really sensitive about that. At Sports Illustrated, we never had any contractual ties to the NFL, and NBC obviously pays a rights fee to the NFL to show the game. So I get the question. But I could not have signed with NBC if they had said, “Hey, listen, we’re going to want you to lay off the NFL in times of controversy.”
The whole interview is worth a read, especially for King’s thoughts on breaking into sports media in 2018. Our own exit interview with King from May is also certainly worth a revisit now that we have a clearer picture of his role at NBC. And if you’ve been waiting for something to kill time with before lunch at the office, next Monday will be a good day.