Tennis Channel signs Mary Carillo
LOS ANGELES — Tennis Channel is adding Mary Carillo, whose path has taken her from winning the French Open to winning a Sports Emmy Award, as the newest member of its star-laden French Open and US Open telecast teams. Starting in Paris in two weeks she will host the network’s live tournament desk, conduct interviews, offer perspective and analysis, and occasionally handle play-by-play duties during select matches. Additionally, Carillo will have wide latitude to produce the type of in-depth, human interest stories and segments for which she has garnered numerous awards throughout her 31-year television career.
“Tennis Channel just continues to impress everyone with the passion and knowledge they bring to covering this sport, and I really wanted to be a part of that,” said Carillo. “I’ve done things with them several times in the past but never as a member of their broadcast team. It will be great to get going with them at the French Open and contribute to the quality of work they’re producing.”
The agreement brings Carillo, one of the most respected voices in sports journalism, to Tennis Channel’s on-air team for the first time and pairs her with John McEnroe, the childhood friend with whom she won the 1977 French Open mixed-doubles championship. McEnroe has been a part of the network’s Paris team since 2007, its first year in the City of Light. In addition to McEnroe, she joins a roster of Grand Slam champions that includes Martina Navratilova, Lindsay Davenport, Justin Gimelstob and Corina Morariu. She will also appear on the set of French Open Tonight with host Bill Macatee, another longtime face of Tennis Channel’s Grand Slam coverage.
Carillo will repeat this role later in the year during Tennis Channel’s coverage of the US Open in her New York City hometown. The annual late-summer event takes place in the borough of Queens, where she grew up and first grabbed a tennis racquet.
“What executive producer wouldn’t want to add Mary Carillo to their broadcast team?” said Larry Meyers, executive producer and senior vice president, production, Tennis Channel. “We continue to build upon the group of incredible people who cover the French Open for Tennis Channel. The chance to bring Mary into a lineup that already includes McEnroe, Navratilova, Davenport, Macatee, (Ted) Robinson and (Ian) Eagle is another great opportunity for us and our viewers. We really feel like there’s no other sport in the world that has this level of talent covering it on one network.”
Known for both wisdom and wit, Carillo has carved a place for herself in the television sportscast landscape like few others in the industry. Beginning as a tennis analyst for USA Network following her retirement from professional tennis in 1980, she has branched out to cover a wide variety of sports stories for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, HBO Sports, ESPN and Bravo. Beyond her candid tennis commentary she is equally lauded for her work at the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, and as a correspondent on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, HBO’s monthly magazine show. Carillo has become recognized and praised for two signatures: the refreshing honesty of her opinions and poignant, deeply measured human interest stories that add heartbeats to athletes and the people who share their hopes and sorrows. Among these are features on the tragic death of young Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, and the story of the family of Ironman athlete Rick Hoyt, who triumphed despite the challenges of his cerebral palsy.
Carillo won a 2006 Sports Emmy Award for her uplifting Hoyt family report and a 2000 George Foster Peabody Award for her contribution to Dare to Compete: The Struggle for Women in Sports, a documentary she co-wrotewith Frank Deford. She won an additional Peabody Award for the 2006 documentary Billie Jean King: Portrait of a Pioneer (which appeared on Tennis Channel after its initial HBO premiere). She became the first female recipient of the Dick Schaap Award for Outstanding Journalism in 2010 and has been named “Best TV Commentator” by Tennis magazine repeatedly. The WTA Tour, the governing body of women’s professional tennis, has twice awarded Carillo with its “Broadcaster of the Year” honor.
This year’s French Open will mark Tennis Channel’s fifth telecast of the most prestigious clay-court tournament in the world. The network plans to offer more than 100 hours of live matches and more than 40 hours of nightly prime-time show French Open Tonight. In all, given encore replays and a round-the-clock coverage schedule during the event, Tennis Channel will devote close to 250 hours to the French Open in 2011. This does not include the multiple live and on-demand matches that will be free again on the network’s web site, tennischannel.com. A full broadcast schedule will be announced on the eve of the tournament.
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