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Sports Junkies To Return For Third Season Of 'Table Manners'

March 14, 2014

There will be a third season of "Table Manners," a sports and entertainment show hosted by The Sports Junkies, four co-hosts of a morning show at CBS sports talker WJFK, 106.7 The Fan.

Comcast SportsNet spokesman Brian Potter reported the news of an additional season. There will be more details about it, including a guest list, in a few weeks, he said.

"Table Manners," a half-hour weekly program, debuted on Comcast SportsNet about a year ago. So far, two eight-episode series have been produced.

Rather than use a TV or radio studio, the Junkies do their interviews from a restaurant -- The Palm at Tysons Corner.

WJFK's Sports Junkies are John "Cakes" Auville, Eric "EB" Bickel, Jason "Lurch Poppa" Bishop and John-Paul "JP" Flaim. All four grew up in Prince George's County -- places such as Bowie, Greenbelt and Hyattsville.

Even though they're big Washington, D.C., radio stars these days, the Junkies got their start on the TV side, via a Bowie cable-access show. They even once produced a television pilot for ESPN, which didn't lead to anything.

Through the years, they've appeared on numerous area TV local programs, and currently do live shots during Fox 5's morning newscasts from their WJFK studios.

"I like the show a lot," said Washingtonian editor Carol Joynt, who has profiled the Junkies in her monthly magazine. "It plays to their strengths."

Like the Junkies, Joynt hosts a local cable and Internet TV interview show -- "The Q&A Café" -- from an area restaurant. 

"They keep it real and show their fan-boy charms while asking interesting questions," Joynt said. "Of course they started off a little uncertain, but they found their groove. They have an advantage of being four compared to my one. If one of them has nowhere to go, another one picks up the conversation and keeps it going. The show is edited, and it's done well.

"I've always liked the restaurant environment for a talk show, because, in truth, that's where humans do most of their talking -- over a meal -- and not in an antiseptic studio. So, four cheers for the Junks."

***

In 2012, there were numerous news stories about a TV revenue dispute that was brewing between the Washington Nationals and the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, whose majority owner is Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos.

At that time, reports surfaced that Angelos wanted to give the Nationals a 20 percent increase in their TV rights, to $35 million per year. But Ted Lerner, who owns the Nationals, was eyeing something in the $100 million range.

There hasn't been much news about the negotiations during the ensuing two years, but Grantland's Jonah Keri did provide an update in February.

"For now, the MASN status quo remains," Keri wrote. "The Nationals aren't completely helpless, though. According to a source close to the Washington franchise, Major League Baseball has sent the team an undisclosed sum every year to help bridge the gap, and to prevent Lerner from taking matters to court, until the deal becomes more balanced.

"One potential resolution would be for the Nationals to acquire a big enough chunk of MASN from the Orioles to make the teams 50-50 partners." 

Two years ago, MASN was 87 percent owned by the Orioles and 13 percent by the Nationals. That figure is currently 84-16. With MASN's market value at $492 million, the Nats would need to pay the Orioles slightly more than $167 million to get the 34 percent needed to reach a 50-50 split, Keri wrote. 

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