The New Orleans Saints will introduce a revamped talent lineup for the team's 2019 preseason television broadcasts.
A three-game package will be featured on WVUE-FOX 8, also being carried on its parent company Gray Communications' regional affiliates in six states. Joel Meyers will handle play-by-play, former Saints tackle Jon Stinchcomb and former Black and Gold linebacker Jonathan Vilma will serve as color analysts and Meghan Payton will be the sideline reporter on the broadcasts.
Since WVUE-FOX 8/Gray Communications became the team's preseason broadcast partner in 2015, the preseason broadcast ratings have dominated both the local market and for preseason games in NFL markets. In 2018, the 30.7 rating for Saints preseason games, was easily the highest figure in an NFL market, outdistancing Buffalo (22.3). The rating also surpassed the local rating for LII in New Orleans (26.2).
Meyers returns for his sixth season in the booth for Saints preseason contests, having started with the Black and Gold in 2014. Meyers brings over 25 years of broadcast experience to the Saints preseason booth, having also served as the television play-by-play announcer of the New Orleans Pelicans since 2012. Meyers, who has also worked for ESPN and on the radio for CBS Westwood One, came to New Orleans after six seasons as the Los Angeles Lakers' TV play-by-play announcer (2005-11) and two as the Lakers' radio play-by-play announcer (2003-05).
Stinchcomb returns to the Saints broadcast team as a color analyst for the sixth season as well. A second round draft pick (37th overall) by New Orleans out of the University of Georgia in 2003, Stinchcomb started all 80 regular season and all six postseason contests for the Black and Gold at right tackle from 2006-10. A member of the club's Super Bowl XLIV Championship team in 2009, Stinchcomb was also a named to the Pro Bowl that season. He was selected to the club's All-50th team in 2016 and was the club's nominee for the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2008.
Vilma will join Stinchcomb in the booth for the Vikings and Dolphins games analysis. Originally selected by the New York Jets in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft out of the University of Miami (Fla.), after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Jets, where he was selected as the Associated Press NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and to one Pro Bowl, the Coral Gables, Fla. native was acquired by the Saints in a trade in the 2008 offseason and in six seasons appeared in 70 games with 68 starts while manning the middle of the New Orleans defense and recorded 530 tackles (331 solo), eight sacks, six interceptions, 27 passes defensed, five forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries. He was selected to Pro Bowls in 2009 and 2010 and led the Saints in tackles for three consecutive seasons from 2008-10. Vilma was selected to the club's All-50th team and to the Saints Hall of Fame.
Vilma was one of the club's most active players in the community as a Saint. Born to parents who hailed from Haiti, he partnered with the Saints to host annual celebrity waiter dinners from 2010-13 to raise money to help the country recover from a devastating earthquake in 2010. Through the celebrity waiter dinners and other efforts, Vilma and his foundation raised over $400,000 towards the construction and operating costs of three new charter schools in the nation. He was the club's 2010 team nominee for the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. Since the end of his playing career, Vilma has worked in broadcasting for NBC Sports for Notre Dame football broadcasts and ESPN for college football and NFL coverage. He currently serves as a studio host for ABC's Saturday college football coverage. Vilma also serves on the Board of Trustees for the University of Miami and as a member of the Orange Bowl Committee.
Three of the preseason contests will be broadcast on WVUE-FOX 8 and Gray Communications' regional affiliates, beginning with the team's preseason opener against the Minnesota Vikings on Aug. 9 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, with kickoff at 7:00 p.m. CDT. The Saints will travel to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. for a Week Three clash at the New York Jets on Aug. 24 at 6:30 p.m. CDT. New Orleans closes out the preseason by hosting the Miami Dolphins on Aug. 29, kicking off at 7:00 p.m. CDT.
All three broadcasts will have half hour pregame and postgame shows. The pregame show, will take place in the WVUE-FOX 8 studios and be hosted by FOX 8 Sports Director Juan Kincaid and former Saints Pat Swilling (8/9 and 8/24) and Michael Mauti (8/29), with commentary from the broadcast booth from Stinchcomb and Vilma, as well as sideline reports from WVUE-FOX 8 sports reporter Sean Fazend. The postgame show will include analysis from the studio, the broadcast booth as well as postgame coach and player reaction.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS PRESEASON TELEVISION NETWORK AFFILIATES
New Orleans – WVUE-FOX 8
Alexandria – WNTZ
Baton Rouge – WAFB
Biloxi, Miss. – WLOX
Birmingham, Ala. – WVTM
Hattiesburg, Miss. – WDAM
Honolulu, Hawaii – KHNL
Jackson, Miss. – WLBT
Lafayette – KATC
Lake Charles – KPLC
Meridian, Miss. – WGBC
Memphis, Tenn. – WMC
Mobile, Ala. – WKRG
Monroe – KARD
Panama City, Fla. – WPGX
Shreveport - KSLA