Harwood Among Many Fired at VERSUS

From Pat Hickey in the Montreal Gazette:

Comcast’s purchase of NBC Universal has produced immediate changes at Versus, the Comcast network which holds the U.S. cable rights for the NHL and Montreal native Rob Harwood is out as game host and reporter.

“They’re adopting the NBC format and they want an ex-player between the benches,” Harwood said from his home in Vermont. He has a few months left on his contract and Sam Flood, who produces the NHL games for NBC, said they may use him for out-of-town cutaways during the playoffs.

This is a shame. Harwood was never over-the-top or flashy, but he was solid reporter who asked good questions. I’ve heard rumors that VERSUS is cleaning house in the booth as well, and I’ll try and see if I can dig up new info over the weekend. From what I’ve heard, everyone but Emrick and Olczyk is an uncertainty. Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun tweeted that 29 people from the hockey coverage have been let go, including many on air. It’ll be very interesting to see what VERSUS hockey coverage looks like from here. My schedule had Harwood slated to report on Tuesday’s Buffalo/Tampa Bay game, with Sarah Kustok reporting on Monday’s NY Rangers/Detroit game. We shall see how immediate VERSUS’ new format is.

7 Responses to Harwood Among Many Fired at VERSUS

  1. I’d be shocked if Beninati is gone. There is no way Versus would fire a fulltime Comcast employee who is their #2 guy, is there? It will be interesting to see what Monday’s broadcast is like. I was expecting a re-branding of Versus for the fall for college football and new NHL season (which is also when I expect new NBC graphics for Super Bowl season), but it looks like it may be coming earlier than expected. Maybe in time for the NHL playoffs.

  2. stevelepore says:

    I wouldn’t necessarily expect anything radical Monday, if only because Emrick/Olczyk are scheduled for that game. Beninati isn’t even scheduled this week (Rick Peckham/Daryl Reaugh are scheduled for Tuesday). Beninati’s next scheduled game is Monday, February 14 (WSH/PHX). We’ll see.

  3. Andrew says:

    Maybe we’ll get a REAL #2 guy…Dave Strader, anyone?

  4. nosferatu says:

    This doesn’t feel like a good omen. In this case it was easy to be optimistic about the possibilities with Versus after the merger, but getting rid of Bob (aka Rob) Harwood is a bad sign. Why the need for ex-players between the benches–as a third wheel or a reporter? Sometimes thoughtful, well-spoken announcers are GOOD!

  5. Larry says:

    Shame….sam flood has no clue….Hardwood was solid. If the NHL network ever decides to expand its talent Hardwood would be a great pickup. Even if its just player interviews for footage. Or send him around to games for game reports.

  6. Dwight says:

    Versus does a nice job, why not leave it alone?
    Check out this site I came across

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