It was just last week Rick Reilly signed a new contract to stay at ESPN in spite of flagging popularity and a general malaise towards his work in Bristol.
But don't let that stop CNN from giving him a major role on an experimental primetime show!
In what can best be described as "blindly throwing everything including the kitchen sink at the wall and hoping something sticks," CNN is running a week long panel show this week at 10 PM ET, replacing an Anderson Cooper rerun with something called "Get to the Point." The show will feature Reilly, fellow ESPNer Jason Taylor (???), Donny Deutsch, and other contributors. It also has this weird parentheses thing happening with the title…
— (Get To) The Point (@ThePointCNN) April 1, 2013
If you've been dying to hear Rick Reilly's thoughts on gun control, you're now in luck! Move aside Bob Costas! What about Reilly and Taylor's thoughts on Chris Brown and Rihanna? We already heard Stan Van Gundy's perspective on CNN, so why not!
I just turned on CNN and Rick Reilly and Jason Taylor are on a roundtable talking about Chris Brown and Rihanna. WTH?
— Todd Dybas (@Todd_Dybas) April 2, 2013
I know Jason Taylor is an ESPN NFL analyst, but to be honest I've seen him maybe about 3 times on the network since he started. I don't even know if his football analysis is compelling, let alone him trying to break down President Obama's stance on guns or Rihanna.
It's obvious what CNN is trying to do – they're copying a format that has been successful for cable news competitors Fox News and MSNBC. Fox's The Five started off in an experimental role and then permanently replaced Glenn Beck at 5 PM ET, becoming one of cable news' most popular shows. MSNBC followed a similar format with The Cycle – a roundtable show where everyone serves as a de facto host (think ESPN's NBA studio, except much more polished).
Of course, those shows both skew towards the networks' respective bases with The Five leaning conservative and The Cycle more heavily liberal. CNN has fallen far behind the partisan networks and their flailing attempts to find a middle ground have brought mockery and derision. As the last cable news network that tries to play it right down the middle, CNN has resorted to assembling some of the most random panels in the history of television. It's almost too good to be true because the only people who think Rick Reilly is relevant anymore work in boardrooms at ESPN and CNN.
Reilly's television essays are tedious on a weekly basis for sports fans, could you imagine him discussing the biggest news stories of the day nightly on CNN?
Of course you can. This is CNN.