Michael Barkann and his blue-rimmed glasses are getting a new role at NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Barkann, whose tenure at the network extends all the way back to the creation of Comcast SportsNet in 1997, will now act as the primary host of all the network's pre- and postgame shows before and after Sixers, Phillies and Flyers games. He'll also continue his current hosting duties involving the Eagles.
"Michael has changed the way Philadelphia sports fans watch and interact with their teams, making Eagles Postgame Live a must watch for all Eagles fans," NBC Sports Philadelphia president Brian Monihan said in a statement. "We are thrilled that he is bringing his same level of passion and knowledge to our highly-rated Flyers, Phillies and Sixers pre- and postgame programs."
Barkann's elevation was necessitated in part due to the decision to part ways with Marshall Harris, who would often anchor the network's Sixers and Phillies coverage throughout their respective seasons.
Replacing Barkann on Philly Sports Talk (formerly Daily News Live) will be current NBC Sports Philadelphia anchor and reporter Amy Fadool and SportsRadio 94.1 host Marc Farzetta, who also worked behind the scenes on NBC's Sunday Night Football. The duo will begin their official duties on Monday, though they've been hosting the show together on Fridays since early March (and at times mocking Barkann over his taste in eyewear).
Barkann's last day hosting Philly Sports Talk is Thursday. The network is expected to air a special tribute to his 21-year tenure on the show he helped create.
"It has been my honor to bring Daily News Live/Philly Sports Talk onto the air 20 plus years ago, and help it grow to become a daily staple of Philadelphia sports," Barkann said. "I now have the opportunity to bring fans closer to the games they love by hosting the pre- and postgame programs. I am excited for, and appreciate, this opportunity."
The move comes as NBC Sports Philadelphia drew huge ratings with its coverage of the Sixers' first playoff run in six years. On Tuesday night, the Sixers' Game 5 victory over the Miami Heat, sealing their first playoff-series win since 2012, delivered an 8.5 household rating (roughly 244,000 households), the network's highest-rated broadcast in nearly 16 years. It was also the Sixers' highest-streamed game in history, with 2.4 million minutes streamed across 33,000 unique devices.
Sixers Postgame Live, which Barkann hosted, benefited greatly from the game, earning a 3.5 rating (about 100,000 households), the largest audience for the show since 2003.
The Sixers-Heat game also aired on TNT, where it pulled an impressive 6.0 local rating in Philadelphia (a little more than 172,000 households). Nationally, the game garnered a 2.4 rating and 3.6 million viewers. According to SportsMediaWatch, that was down from from last year's Thunder-Rockets series, but up big compared to the 2016 Celtics-Hawks series.