Philadelphia Flyers local broadcasts are going to look a lot different this year.
In addition to Chris Therien leaving NBC Sports Philadelphia, which he himself confirmed in December, sources tell Crossing Broad that Katie Emmer is out, with Scott Hartnell joining Taryn Hatcher on the desk.
In Emmer’s case, she joined the broadcast in late 2019 as a replacement for John Boruk, who did not have his contract renewed and left the station in April of that year. Sources say Emmer was only a seasonal employee and did not work under a typical on-air talent contract. She reportedly was not informed until recently that the network would be going a different direction in 2021 (she also moved here from Minnesota to take the job).
Hartnell will replace Bundy as the de facto player voice on the broadcast. This move seems like a slam dunk on paper, since “Hartsy” was well liked during his seven seasons in Philadelphia. He retired in October of 2018, wrapping up a 17-year NHL career.
The news about Hatcher confirms what we reported back in August, when we wrote that NBC Sports Philadelphia was doing away with the “sideline reporter” role at all of their regional affiliates. While talent like Serena Winters and Abby Chin were let go in the original wave of layoffs, Hatcher was technically hired as a “digital reporter” and moved to the Flyers only when that “sideline” gig was created. As such, she’s simply being assigned to a different role and her job was never considered to fall under the same category as Winters and Chin.
Additionally, Al Morganti will indeed be part of the broadcast in 2021, which is something I got wrong in the August report, so apologies to Al for that one. I now owe him a beer, or lunch at a location of his choosing.
But the shakeup is more or less straightforward. NBC Sports Philadelphia cut a number of individuals in August, during the height of the pandemic, and now they are restructuring the Flyers broadcast appropriately. With no fans in the stands, and no in-person access to coaches and players, the role of the sideline reporter is redundant. That’s why Derrick Gunn, Gregg Murphy, and Winters were let go (in addition to saving money). They also trimmed digital staff, laying off Enrico Campitelli and Paul Hudrick, while longtime communications director Maureen Quilter was also laid off.
As a result, you’re looking at what is essentially a bare bones game broadcast, with one play-by-play person, a color commentator, studio host, and analyst. The Sixers games, for example, typically feature the pair of Marc Zumoff and Alaa Abdelnaby with Amy Fadool and one of Marc Jackson or Jim Lynam pairing her in the studio. It’s a four-person operation, with the necessary technical staff running the show.
That’s understandable considering the fact that we are in these uncertain times, but it’s also true that NBCSP continues to hemorrhage talent and seems to be at the mercy of network-level executives, who continue to treat that station like a mid-market news operation, instead of dumping resources into what used to be a local sports juggernaut.
Katie shared this message on Twitter –
Philly, you will always have a special place in my heart. Thank you! pic.twitter.com/M6uPHhnpyi
— Katie Emmer (@KatieEmmer) January 5, 2021