With me not having to drive in between two offices, I’m able to provide you with the Friday megalinks during the day. And with things planned for me during the day for Saturday, it’s best to get these in now so it can tie you over while I’m gone.

The Weekend Viewing Picks provide your sports and entertainment programming for Mother’s Day and before.

To the links. Lots to get to today.

National

In USA Today, Michael Hiestand and Mike McCarthy debate whether Donald Trump should have pulled out of driving the pace car at this year’s Indianapolis 500.

Mike McCarthy broke news last night that Champion fired Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall over his tweets on Osama bin Laden’s death.

Sports Business Daily looks at the final sports TV ratings from this week.

At Sports Video Group, Carolyn Braff says the Pac-12 Network will take lessons from the Big 10 Network when it launches in 2012.

Cam Martin at SportsNewser notes a new website launch for the National Sportcasters and Sportswriters Association.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell has an extensive look at whether the newest marketing plan by Gatorade can bring the company to new heights.

Cork Gaines of the Business Insider’s Sports Page notes that the new Pac-12 rights deal will immediately pay dividends for two schools.

Ed DeRosa of the Thoroughbred Times profiles Larry Collmus who is the new Voice of the Triple Crown for NBC.

Steve Lepore at Puck The Media has the ratings for Night 22 of the NHL Playoffs.

At SportsGrid, Glenn Davis is keeping track of whether Gus Johnson will stay at CBS or go to Fox.

Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing also has an update on the Gus Johnson saga.

The Nielsen Wire blog has news that will make NBC really happy, the Kentucky Derby is growing in popularity.

Dave Kohl at Major League Programs looks at the college conference rights megadeals and other sports media news that occurred this week.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Pawtucket Red Sox announcer Steve Hyder is very proud of his radio partner Dan Hoard for getting the call to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe says the NFL Network appears to have finally gotten its Thursday Night Football announcing booth down.

Dan Lamonthe of the Red Sox Monster blog in the Springfield Republican chuckles at the “so bad, it’s good” Sullivan Tire ad with second baseman Dustin Pedroia and pitcher Jon Lester.

Newsday’s Neil Best has New York Jets coach Rex Ryan realizing that he’s been doing too many interviews this week.

I’m not sure what Phil Mushnick is saying in today’s New York Post.

Justin Terranova of the Post has five questions for SNY analyst Ron Darling.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union writes that a local radio personality gets to take his passion for NASCAR to a national level.

Tom Luicci of the Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger speaks with Larry Collmus of Monmouth Park who will call the Kentucky Derby for NBC.

Evan Weiner in the New Jersey Newsroom says sports business seems to carry on despite the sluggish economy.

Laura Nachman says Phillies radio analyst Larry Andersen has won a reader’s poll.

Bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says Root Sports has a decision to make on its Penguins announcing team.

Mark Madden of the Beaver County (PA) Times also looks at the Penguins announcing situation.

David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun notes that MASN is seeing higher ratings for the Orioles especially among younger viewers.

Dave Hughes of DCRTV.com has a look at what’s going on in Baltimore and DC sports media in Press Box.

Steven Goff of the Washington Post says the MLS’ DC United and Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic have forged a rights deal.

Jim Williams in the Washington Examiner likes how NBC and Versus are sharing coverage of the Kentucky Derby.

South

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald is a fan of ESPN/ABC NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy.

Jeff Shain from the Orlando Sentinel looks at Golf Channel’s documentary on the late Frank Chirkinian of CBS Sports. It is a good documentary and airs tonight at 8 and throughout the weekend on Golf Channel.

Joe Biddle of The Tennessean notes that the new NHL TV contract with NBC/Versus gives the league stability, but hurts the younger generation with late starting times.

Jon Solomon of the Birmingham (AL) News says Alabama native Rece Davis returns to report on the recent tornadoes for ESPN and how sports is helping the region to recover.

Retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre tells WDAM-TV of Hattiesburg, MS that coaching or TV is in his future. Stay away from my TV, Brett.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle attempts to catch up with two weeks worth of sports media news in one column.

Peter Lim of the Chronicle says two local boxers get their national spotlight this weekend.

Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News takes a look at the control the University of Texas has over the ESPN-owned and operated Longhorn Network.

Mel Bracht in the Daily Oklahoman profiles ESPN basketball analyst Doris Burke of North Providence, RI.

Mel has various sports media tidbits in his weekly notebook.

Midwest

George M. Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal says it was the Big 10 Conference that paved the way for the Pac 10/12 to cash in on its media deals.

John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer looks into why the Bengals chose to change play-by-play announcers.

Mike Zuidema from the Grand Rapids (MI) Press has NBC’s Kentucky Derby crew talking the horses in advance of Saturday’s race.

Ed Sherman in Crain’s Chicago Business has his winners and losers this week.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Kentucky Derby has lost ties to the local area with the departure of race caller Tom Durkin.

West

Bill Husted of the Denver Post writes that ESPN’s Rick Reilly returned to his alma mater in Boulder, CO to give the final commencement address to its Journalism School.

Lya Wodraska of the Salt Lake Tribune says the Pac-12 Network has the potential to give Utah plenty of exposure.

Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star gives us a peek at how the Pac-12 Network might look like when it launches next year.

John Maffei from the North County Times notes that the Pac 10/12 has hit Powerball.

Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star says keeping ownership of its own network is key for the Pac-12 Conference.

Jim talks about Michele Tafoya joining NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

Diane Pucin of the Los Angeles Times says Golf Channel will pay tribute to the late CBS golf producer Frank Chirkinian tonight.

Diane says the Pac-12 media deals show how valuable sports is to television executives.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News notes that the Pac-12 member schools are going to be very rich under the new rights deals.

Tom looks at the very busy week in sports media.

Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle says the Pac-12 contract means more options for viewers.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail feels Rashard Mendenhall and other athletes should think before they tweet.

The Canadian Sports Media Blog has the ratings for CBC and TSN for the first games of the 2nd round of the NHL Playoffs.

The Toronto Sports Media blog has the April sports radio ratings for the local stations.

And that is going to conclude the Megalinks.

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