It looks like we won’t be getting Mike Greenberg’s new morning show live from New York on Jan. 1, 2018 after all. ESPN had promoted that date and location heavily during its May upfronts this year, but we’ve been hearing for a while that it could be delayed over studio construction issues or casting decisions. Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News reported Thursday that sources told him there will likely be a delay, which could stretch into months, and it’s because construction of ESPN’s new South Street Seaport studio is taking a while. That could also impact the new afternoon show with Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre. Here are more details from McCarthy:
The premiere of Greenberg’s new solo show will likely be delayed for months because of construction delays at ESPN’s expensive new South Street Seaport studio in Manhattan, sources tell Sporting News, and it might not premiere until Spring, 2018.
…Building new facilities in the Big Apple is a notoriously slow and expensive process. The construction delays surrounding ESPN’s new Manhattan studio also raise questions about the timing of the network’s new afternoon show with Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre, which is supposed to debut Jan. 2, 2018 (noon to 1 p.m. ET) and be recorded in the same South Street Seaport studio. The Jones-Torre program could be delayed for months, too, sources said.
Of course, ESPN doesn’t have to hold back programming just because their new studio isn’t ready. They could start these shows in Bristol and later move them to New York. Or they could rent out studio space elsewhere in the city for a few months. But neither’s a perfect option; the latter move is expensive (and there might not be something suitable available at the hours of the day they’d need), while the former would involve personalities like Michelle Beadle and Jalen Rose relocating from Los Angeles to Bristol rather than NYC, and that carries some logistical challenges too. And beyond that, ESPN is banking a lot on this show; they may not want to start with a halfhearted version of it. (It’s unclear if keeping it off the air for months after it had been initially promised and launching it at presumably a less-interesting time in the sports cycle rather than in the middle of the hype for the college football and NFL playoffs is any better, though.)
McCarthy also notes that there’s expected to be a fourth regular co-host for this show, a “college football/NFL analyst.” He mentions Damien Woody and Booger McFarland as candidates. That would make some sense, given how both have regularly shown up on Mike and Mike and have some chemistry with Greenberg. But that’s yet further resources for this morning show, and a source told McCarthy “Ultimately, they want the cast of this show to be ‘The Avengers.'” Well, it’s certainly pricey and hyped, and now potentially delayed as well. We’ll see if it’s truly super or not when it actually launches.