Joe Beninati Out at VERSUS

A lot of news via Twitter here, but Joe Beninati appeared on a radio station this morning (106.7 The Fan in DC) to say that he had a “major announcement” about his broadcasting career, that he’s not allowed to talk about until next week. Since then, numerous folks have reported that Beninati was fired by VERSUS, not his other employer in Comcast Sportsnet.

Beninati has been the #2 play-by-play voice at the network since 2005-06, where he’d call one of the Conference Finals that Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk were calling. Due to Emrick’s busy schedule, often Beninati would call more VERSUS games than any other announcer per year. In addition to that, Beninati was the main voice of VERSUS’ NCAA Football coverage, particularly the Mountain West Conference. Regardless of your feelings about him (he grew on me), you can’t deny that it’s a surprise VERSUS is letting go of such a team player, and especially a Comcast employee. It appears no one outside the top team is safe.

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Steve Lepore is the Managing Editor of Puck the Media. His work has been featured in The Hockey News. Feel free to contact him at stevemlepore@gmail.com

19 Responses to Joe Beninati Out at VERSUS

  1. Larry says:

    For every dumb 7 moves NBC has made at versus….they finally get one right….Doc I’m sorry has to go too. They should have Sam Rosen and gary thorne handle NHL play by play.

    • nosferatu says:

      NBC clearly likes Doc with the way they’ve used him on their telecasts. Beninati, however, has not been seen, not even as part of a B-team.

      I’m finding it kind of fascinating that NBC is making these changes on the fly, so to speak. In getting replacements for the rinkside reporters and announcers like Beninati, it’s got to be kind of challenging mid-season. These other announcers have contracts that likely can’t be altered much mid-season. The next set of developments promise to be interesting.

  2. Andrew says:

    Gary Thorne, really? Dave Strader. The guys is an ex-NBC employee and he’s the guy they turned to when Doc was sick for the Winter Classic in Chicago. Perhaps that’s what this is heading to?

  3. Andrew says:

    PxP men should be as follows:

    1. Doc Emrick
    2. Dave Strader
    3. Sam Rosen
    4. Rick Peckham
    5. Kenny Albert

    • Schultz says:

      I’m sorry, but Doc is so completely over-rated. He mis-identifies players (Backstrom for Johannson yesterday, repeatedly), and most annoyingly, raises his pitch excitedly at every routine pass or hit or shot. Ugh.

      • BlueCaps says:

        Doc labeled 19 red “Nick Backwards” at the NHL Classic…time to retire?

        Don’t understand all the hate for Joe B, he’s a class act and calls an A+ game. Not the best ever, but I can’t even watch a game on Versus/NBC these days without hitting mute.

        Milbury is also a clown, but at least when I see him grunting at the camera I know I have 10 minutes to go grab a beer.

    • Stephen says:

      Play-By-Play guys for VERSUS should be:

      1. Doc Emrick
      2. Dave Strader
      3. Chris Cuthbert
      4. Gord Miller
      5. Sam Rosen
      6. Rick Peckham

  4. Chris S says:

    Now who will tell everyone 100 times that the NHL is on Versus, in crystal clear HD?

  5. Steven N. says:

    I agree with Larry. Rosen and Thorne are the best US puck annoncers in the biz. No offense to Nennanati tho, he did good, but Versus needs established names like Sam Rosen and Gary Thorne. They’re not onley big names, but they call calle a very good Americanized style of hockey. And hockey just isn’t the same without Gary Thorne

    • Jens says:

      Yeah I concur as well. Thorne is one of my favorites. Rosen does a great job too. However, I don’t believe that Rosen should supplant Doc. Doc still is one of the best as well. I would only make one hire and I would hire and I would hire Thorne as the #2 guy for the time being.

  6. Colton says:

    I dont understand why there isn’t just two sets of announcers employed for ALL national US games.

    Doc Emrick, Eddie Olcyk and Pierre McGuire.

    Dave Strader, Darryl Reaugh and Darren Pang.

    John Giannone hosts the studio show with Roenick and Milbury.

    Done.

    I don’t care how much money it costs to pluck these guys from their current jobs. It would be so worth it to hockey fans. They all have exceptional talents and personalities that can sell the game to casual people.

    • Bubba says:

      Milbury should not be on TV doing hockey in any way, shape, or form. He really should stop embarrassing himself with his overraction and hyperbole. He belongs on cable news with the other muckraking talking heads spewing crap purely to stir the pot and get people to look at him.

  7. Andrew says:

    McGuire has TSN commitments, but I like what you mean. The constant shuffle of announcers on VERSUS is kinda annoying. Strader, Panger and someone like Brickley or Darren Eliot would be my choice. Sam Rosen wouldn’t be bad, either.

  8. Mike in Idaho says:

    Have you guys heard Sam Rosen lately? He constantly misidentifies players and seems to have to have Micheletti explain what just happened to him frequently. I don’t think he’d be a good choice. I have no problem with Strader getting a promotion, he has always seemed a competent announcer and not a ridiculous homer like a lot of them.

  9. stevelepore says:

    Thorne’s not an option. OLN tried to hire him at the start, ESPN won’t let him.

    1. Emrick/Olczyk/McGuire
    2. Strader/Reaugh/Engblom

    Watch something like this end up happening.

  10. leafsfan1967 says:

    Hearing that Joe Benihaha has been dropped from Verses is the best news on broadcasting front in a long, long time…..

    • itcons4gl says:

      Really? Explain why. I always thought he did excellent play by play coverage and called a great game.

      • Section 430 says:

        I agree. I am surprised they saw fit to dispense with his services. At least he’s still on CSN … for now. He and Locker are a great team.

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