Soon after Awful Announcing reported that FS1 has decided not to renew Garbage Time (at least in its current format), the network has decided to cancel another show that started off with so much promise, but was ultimately left to wilt. According to SportsBusiness Daily’s John Ourand, FS1 is canceling Fox Sports Live. Furthermore, the contracts of hosts Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole will not be renewed when those deals expire in March.

Onrait and O’Toole were hired from TSN, where they were an extremely popular anchor team that called to mind the on-air chemistry between Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann that made their version of SportsCenter must-watch TV in the mid-1990s. Fox Sports Live made its debut in August 2013 and was intended to be the network’s flagship highlights show. At the time, the two told The Big Lead that they believed highlights could be used to tell a bigger story, not just chronicle what happened in a particular game that night. Additionally, panel discussions including athletes were a part of the show.

Unfortunately, things quickly changed at FS1, notably new upper management and its feelings toward sports highlights shows. Fox Sports National Networks president Jamie Horowitz held low regard for such programming. He and Charlie Dixon (executive vice president of content for FS1 and FS2) have put their focus on opinion-based, “embrace debate” content — notably during the daytime. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter‘s Marisa Guthrie last August, Horowitz made his views on highlight shows quite clear.

“I’m bearish on the future of news and highlights shows. If there is a particular highlight you want to see, do you wait for a linear show to get to the highlight or do you just type it into your phone? When a story breaks are you more often finding that you’re hearing about it through TV or through your phone? I’m not providing any particular insight here; I’m just elucidating what everyone already knows in their hearts.”

Fox Sports Live typically began at 10:30 p.m. or 11 p.m. ET, but was quickly affected by FS1’s lack of live sports content at night. There was little to keep viewers tuned to the channel when the show went on the air. Despite the best efforts of Onrait and O’Toole, the show was also hurt by an increasing disinterest in sports highlights — or rather, waiting for a nightly show to watch those highlights. Standout plays and results are immediately available online, especially social media, thus reducing any need to watch them on TV.

FS1 quickly became a much different network than the one Onrait and O’Toole (who voiced his displeasure on Twitter) joined, Accordingly, what was once viewed as its flagship show underwent several format changes and significant cuts during its nearly four years on the air. For example, the panel discussions were soon cut, especially as many of the personalities involved were not renewed with FS1. But the most notable (and drastic) of them took Onrait and O’Toole out of the traditional broadcast studio and put them into a much smaller room (a “prop room,” as O’Toole called it) with the intention of creating more of a late-night talk show, such as Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live.

Dixon issued the following statement to SportsBusiness Daily:

“We’ve been committed to creating programming that resonates with sports fans. As part of that commitment, we are constantly assessing all of FS1’s studio offerings, and despite changes to the format of ‘Fox Sports Live’ and the popularity of Jay and Dan as individuals, we’ve made the difficult decision to move forward with other projects.”

If you’re a fan of Onrait, however, it looks like he’s already found himself a landing spot.

With Fox Sports Live canceled, FS1 will put a variety of shows in the 11 p.m. ET time slot, such as College Hoops Extra and UFC content. Once the MLB season begins, the network will have MLB Whiparound in that slot.

[SportsBusiness Daily]

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is an editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has covered baseball for Yahoo! Sports, MLive.com, Bleacher Report and SB Nation, and provides analysis for several sports talk radio shows each week. He currently lives in Asheville, NC.

  • Keith P.

    Awful show from day one with two extremely overrated hosts. Even more unfortunate is that Canadian viewers will again be subjected to Onrait.

    • Andrew Lavan

      YOU’RE OFF THE CASE BOBROVSKY!

    • Steve Petrenko

      agree 100 per cent.way way over rated.never liked them on TSN here in Canada either.

    • Wachu Lookinat

      Canadians tend to take a less serious view of sports than Americans. Sports talk and highlight shows will feature blooper of the day type stuff and the personalities are allowed to include more banter and have fun. These guys grew on us over the years and we’ll enjoy having them back.

      • Keith P.

        Canadians apparently live and die on the NHL given the breathless coverage of things like trade deadline day and TSN’s leading with hockey stories on SportsCenter about 360 days a year.

  • James Uy Ty III

    Sports programming has really changed because of the internet. Fox is panicking because of ESPN

  • Justin_Herrick

    Personally, I liked the original version more than FOX Sports Live. Jay & Dan, at least to me, are highly overrated. They’re style is an acquired taste.

    Can’t imagine MLB Whiparound will do much worse than FSL.

    • Matt Galvin

      On Sundays NFL Season could do NFL Highlight show. Also maybe be allowed to have a set at NFL Draft besides ESPN/NFL Network. Maybe a NBA Highlight Show then NHL one. Dan O’Toole to ESPN. Maybe Friday Nights MLB Game. What they need Keith O. and another former ESPN person then Fox Sports Live would work.

      • Andy Salcedo

        Fox is pretty much done with studio shows (except for NBA Whiparound which was created as part of their deal with MLB) outside of pre/post game shows and Fox said a while back they’re not going to focus on sports they don’t have national rights to. And Fox already did an NFL show for FS1 “Fox Football Daily”… Which was cancelled.

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  • robpollard

    Well, if they didn’t have the ratings, they didn’t have the ratings…but the show couldn’t have been expensive to produce. We’ll see if FS1 can improve upon it…I have my doubts.

    I enjoyed the heck out of it and watched it basically every day (except when my DVR missed it b/c of some Big East basketball game going into overtime or something).

    I hope they stick together.

  • Deon Hamner

    Why does this network even exist?! 4 years it hasn’t brought anything original just copycat from espn even espn talent that has jumped ship or been fired? Stop all the gimmicks. There is not one show that has been there from the beginning now

    • Daniel West

      The horse I’m about to beat may be dead, but I’ll give it a few strikes anyway: As a NASCAR/racing fan, SPEED was by far a better network that anything FS1 could ever be.

      Is it a coincidence that Race Hub is the top rated show on FS1? Or that FS1 put race practices on their network instead of shows some afternoons?

      Many race fans still feel FS1 should be SPEED, and miss all of the studio shows that were racing-centric. It’s not it any surprise to me that none of the studio shows have clicked. FS1’s existence is only justified by its live programming.

  • Respected Citizen

    It is difficult to make a TV show presentable and funny for 20 minutes five days a week, especially if you have just a handful of staffers and a supply closet.

    Is it the same closet studio as the beer stein soccer show?

  • YouAreWrongAndDumb

    Only watchable original programming on FS1. That’s too bad. Although, they are an acquired taste.

  • BobLee Says

    I doubt I watched these guys a dozen times over the years. They “tried too hard” to be funny. It was uncomfortable to watch … like open-mike night at a struggling comedy club.

    • Wachu Lookinat

      They didn’t start out that way here in Canada but evolved into this comedic duo who had fun with sports. Americans got the full blown over the top version and I knew it would be too far from what you were used to seeing. They are appreciated here and their return will be big news and big ratings for TSN.

  • Real Talk

    Nobody watching highlights

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  • Sergeant2

    Any network that gives us an alternative to ESPN is a network I will support. Instead of First Take I now watch Undisputed with Skip and Shannon. I also watch Colin Cowherd and Speak For Yourself on a regular basis.

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