New faces this season on Longhorn Network

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New faces this season on Longhorn Network

See the longhorns from republic square

The Longhorn Network will host a free screening of tonight's Texas-New Mexico game at downtown's Republic Square. The park, 422 Guadalupe St., will open at 6 p.m., an hour before kickoff. The matchup will be shown on an 8-foot-by-18-foot video wall. A tent will have four more TV screens. Seating is first come, first served.

The Longhorn Network has a couple of new recruits.

The year-old network has added Kaylee Hartung and Chris Rix to its reporting ranks this season, and Ahmad Brooks will see his airtime increased.

Locally, Brooks is the best known of the bunch. The former University of Texas defensive back previously hosted a show on local sports radio station 1300 KVET-AM.

Persistence, Brooks says, was the key to winding up at LHN. He spent months calling and emailing vice president Steph Druley, hoping to get her attention.

"She reminds me every day that I wore her out, and I did," he said. "I wanted to be a part of the team."

Look for Brooks during the "Texas GameDay" and "Texas GameDay Final" pre- and post-game broadcasts.

Last season, Brooks served as an occasional analyst for the network.

Rix is also a former college athlete. He was a quarterback at Florida State before making the move to broadcasting, where he's appeared on a number of TV networks, including Fox Sports, ABC and ESPN.

"College is my passion," he said. "I'm very excited about this opportunity."

Hartung replaces fan favorite Samantha Steele, who was named sideline reporter for ESPN's "College GameDay" and "Thursday Primetime" shows.

ESPN has a 20-year, $300 million deal with the University of Texas to run LHN.

A graduate of Washington and Lee University, Hartung arrives here from CBS Sports Network.

Brooks, Hartung and Rix join Lowell Galindo and Kevin Dunn, who've both been at the network since it launched in August 2011.

Galindo, LHN's main sports anchor, said last week that other career opportunities have popped up, but he's not going anywhere anytime soon.

"Everyone loves being here," he said. "We're all pulling a lot of hours, but we're having a lot of fun."

The LHN team — and UT fans across the nation — got some great news just hours before last week's season opener against Wyoming when AT&T added the network to its U-Verse lineup.

In Central Texas, AT&T and Grande Communications are the only two carriers who offer the network. DirecTV, Dish Network and Time Warner Cable still haven't signed on, reportedly because of the per-subscriber charge the network is requesting. The exact amount being sought hasn't been made public.

With the AT&T deal, LHN now reaches more than 10 million U.S. homes, up from about 4.5 million during its inaugural season.

 

On the hunt for toys

Think there are too many reality TV shows?

Here comes another one ... devoted to toys.

Travel Channel's "Toy Hunter" visited several U.S. cities, including Austin, with host Jordan Hembrough picking through cluttered attics and garages in search of toys worth big bucks.

Eight episodes of the show were ordered, the cable network said. Some of Hembrough's finds this season include vintage G.I. Joe action figures, Barbie dolls and Care Bears stuffed animals.

Catch an airing of the Austin episode of "Toy Hunter" at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Contact Gary Dinges at gdinges@statesman.com or 912-5987.

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