After 19 years at CBS, colorful commentator David Feherty has found a new home at NBC, a place where he already had one foot in the door because of his association with Golf Channel, which is also owned by cable-giant Comcast.
“NBC Sports Group announced today that David Feherty will make NBCUniversal his exclusive media home, which will include adding Feherty to NBC’s golf tournament coverage team, including the Olympics; an extension of his award-winning series ‘Feherty’ on Golf Channel; and a slate of new ventures highlighted by a Universal Television development deal,” the network said in a release Tuesday.
In the end, Feherty’s divorce from CBS came down to his desire for an expanded role beyond being a walking commentator, a desire to cover more than just golf and, not insignificantly, a demand for a salary increase that pays multiple times the seven-figure sum he was previously making.
Specific financial terms of Feherty's deal with NBC were not, however, disclosed.
Fox Sports was expected to make a big push for Feherty. It certainly has the money and, through Fox Sports 1, the opportunities for an expanded non-golf role. But NBC was the logical fit because it has more golf events on its schedule, and golf is where Feherty made his name.
"I'm really looking forward to this next step in my career, but I'll miss a lot of people who have had my back for nearly 20 years,” Feherty said. “And to be honest, I'm on the verge of soiling myself. However, I am looking forward to new challenges and opportunities at NBC and Golf Channel. I haven't yet heard the over-under on me getting fired, but hey, I beat the odds the last time."
Feherty will be a walking reporter and tower analyst on NBC and Golf Channel, primarily for the PGA Tour Florida Swing, the Players and FedEx Cup Playoffs, the network says. He will be what the network described as “a fixture on NBC Sports’ coverage of the Olympic Games, Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, as well as select PGA of America and European Tour events” and, beginning in 2017 when NBC takes over from ESPN, the British Open.
The NBCUniversal deal also includes:
• Universal Television, a division of NBCUniversal, will provide Feherty “a new creative outlet for potential entertainment projects.”
• Golf Channel has extended his award-winning talk show, “Feherty,” with the added bonus that NBCUniversal can now feature the show across any of its networks, including NBC, and internationally.
• Feherty will continue to be a regular guest on Golf Channel’s two daily news programs, “Morning Drive” and “Golf Central,” including when “Golf Central” airs its special “Live From” telecasts at golf’s biggest events.
• Exclusive “Feherty” long- and short-form content will have a dedicated digital home.
• Golf Channel will collaborate with Feherty on his one-man stage show.
That broad description of his duties certainly opens up a lot of possibilities for Feherty. Perhaps he’ll show up at the Olympics covering more than golf. Certainly, his sharp humor and quick wit could lure insight out of any athlete and offer whimsical perspective on the scene in Rio.
Who knows, we might even see him showing up in the booth or on the sidelines at Sunday Night Football giving us his take on the NFL. And that would certainly be a hoot. Feherty, who has overcome a wide range of demons -- including substance abuse, depression and a serious bicycle accident -- is certainly a survivor. Once again, he is walking away a winner.