Embrace debate? Debate is being taken out to dinner, then being brought home for a nightcap. And that nightcap is being spent with Jason Whitlock and Colin Cowherd.
As reported by Sports Business Journal‘s John Ourand, FS1 is developing a show with a Pardon the Interruption-like format featuring Whitlock and Cowherd, two of the splashiest hires by Fox Sports president of national networks Jamie Horowitz.
The show is being fast-tracked, with plans to launch on the network this month. With the working title “Speak for Yourself,” the program will air Monday through Friday as part of FS1’s afternoon block of programming. Like PTI, the Whitlock-Cowherd show will be a studio-based show and be produced out of Fox Sports’ Los Angeles studios.
There is no word yet as to whether or not FS1 plans to put “Speak for Yourself” in the 5:30 p.m. timeslot to compete directly with PTI. That would certainly be a bold move, directly taking on one of ESPN’s most popular programs. But as Ourand writes, PTI draws the highest ratings for ESPN besides live game programming, so would this new venture get crushed in the ratings in head-to-head competition?
Perhaps some viewers would seek an alternative to Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon, who have been debating at the PTI desk for 15 (!) years. But how many others would switch the channel for what would almost certainly be viewed as a copycat program, regardless of the personalities involved?
(If you watch With All Due Respect on Bloomberg News or MSNBC, you know that Mark Halperin and John Heilemann follow nearly the same format, though not at the same snappy pace. But that show covers politics, doesn’t run in the same 5:30 p.m. timeslot, and has questionable ratings success.)
SBJ reports that Cowherd will continue hosting his national radio show, which runs from 12 noon to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. So it seems likely that this new show wouldn’t air until at least the 4 p.m. hour on FS1. Or could it avoid ESPN’s debate hour of Around the Horn and PTI, and present itself as an alternative to SportsCenter or your local evening news (if you watch that anymore) at the 6 p.m. hour?
As you might expect, people embraced this news enthusiastically on Twitter shortly following Ourand’s report.
— Panicstreak (@panicstreak) May 2, 2016
— Kola Champagne Papi (@ZSoloDolo) May 2, 2016
— Western Virginia (@SmithFire13) May 2, 2016
I'd rather watch my own endoscopy than watch anything with both Cowherd and Whitlock on it.
— Stacey ⚘ Gotsulias (@StaceGots) May 2, 2016