Recently, we told you about Dan Le Batard’s new upcoming ESPN2 show, Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable, which will debut on September 12th and see him sweat for a half hour every weekday at 4pm ET. Le Batard’s new show is only part of an effort by the folks in Bristol to overhaul the ESPN2 afternoon lineup with more original TV programming. Sports Media Watch points out an interesting facet of info that has gone under the radar in the avalanche of ESPN PR and ESPN PR nightmares. Jim Rome and Rome is Burning will move from ESPN to ESPN2 as a part of the deuce’s new Fall lineup. It may seem like a demotion for Rome, but keep in mind that ESPN2 has surpassed the 100 million homes mark and is in almost as many homes as the leader itself. Here’s the lineup of shows that ESPN2 will offer beginning with Le Batard’s debut on 9/12 from ESPN…
“ESPN2 will have a new afternoon lineup from 3-6 p.m. ET beginning Monday, September 12. The revamped lineup will include two new studio shows, Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable and Numbers Don’t Lie, along with the highly popular NASCAR Now, Jim Rome is Burning, and SportsNation.”
Le Batard’s half hour show will air from 4-4:30 ET and be preceded by another new show, Numbers Don’t Lie at 3:30 ET. The concept of the Numbers Don’t Lie show seems like it could have potential. The input of a fantasy and numbers driven show is also something that ESPN’s afternoon lineup doesn’t offer currently. Anything with picks, predictions, and breaking down and comparing players through lists or rankings will appeal to a certain audience and could succeed depending on what personalities host the show. Other times haven’t been announced, but Rome is Burning could stay at 4:30 ET with Nascar Now airing at 3 ET and SportsNation going up against Around the Horn and PTI as a hypothetical lineup.
Sorry for fans of the hour cameo of the Scott Van Pelt Show on ESPN2, but it looks like the TV version is going on the chopping block. Oh well, I have a feeling it won’t be missed. What will be really interesting to see is how Bristol fills the gap at 4:30 ET on ESPN as a lead-in to the juggernauts that are Around the Horn and PTI. Will they go with another half hour block similar to NFL Live or College Football Live, move Outside the Lines, or come up with a new concept? It remains to be seen.
I give Bristol credit for at least being willing to explore more concepts and more original programming instead of rebroadcasting radio hours or other standard debate shows. It gives sports fans and people interested in ESPN something else to talk about while waiting for this to happen when the ESPN book is finally released. The focus on creating a more meaningful afternoon lineup for ESPN2 is a wise move by the leader… I suppose the network has come a long way since Keith Olbermann signed on by saying, “Good evening and welcome to the end of our careers.”
What would you like to see ESPN do with its afternoon programming?