Today was the last day for the Dan Patrick Show to appear on Fox Sports Net regional affiliates. John Ourand reported the show, produced by DirecTV, couldn't come to a distribution agreement with FSN on a new deal. Later Tuesday morning, Patrick himself said an announcement regarding a new distribution partner would be coming soon.
The Dan Patrick Show is one of the most popular national sports talk shows both on radio and television, with the program simulcasted on television stations across the country in addition to the 1.2 million listeners on over 250 radio affiliates across the country. Last year it won AA's award as the best sports show on television. The show had a wide distribution network on both Comcast and Fox regional sports channels. However, those have both come to an end with Comcast SportsNet dropping all Fox programming and today's news about FSN and DP parting ways. DP's show will continue to air on DirecTV's Audience Network.
But what about all those DP viewers who depended on regional sports affiliates to watch the program? What about national distribution for one of the best sports shows around? There's one obvious solution waiting in the wings that makes too much sense not to happen.
For months, speculation has run rampant that The Dan Patrick Show would eventually wind up nationally syndicated on NBC Sports Network weekday mornings. The connections are obvious. Patrick works for NBC on Football Night in America and took on a big role at this year's London Olympics. Behind Bob Costas and Al Michaels, Patrick is one of the elite sportscasters at the network. Bringing his radio show on board to boost the startup cable channel would only further cement that reality.
For NBC, Patrick's radio show fills an enormous chasm on weekday mornings currently filled with various hunting and fishing shows. Nothing against Babe Winkelman, but NBC Sports Network desperately needs a flagship studio show that can reach a broader audience. With DP on board, NBC knows it could have a reliable option to go against SportsCenter, The Herd, Mike & Mike, and First Take on a daily basis and do quite well. For a large chunk of sports fans, having The Dan Patrick Show would give them a reason to go to NBCSN consistently for the first time. (And speaking of potential NBC studio shows, I asked Michelle Beadle today about the progress towards her planned sports show at the peacock and she told me the latest update is a possible January launch.)
It's a win-win-win for everone involved. Patrick and his radio show gain not just regional television distribution, but national television distribution with NBCSN. NBC gains a successful signature program that solidifies their mornings. Sports fans win by having a go-to place for sports talk to escape from Colin Cowherd and Skip Bayless.
We asked NBC for a statement about the Patrick rumors and his announcement today that a new distribution deal would be announced in the coming days. NBC declined to comment.
Nevertheless, there's too much smoke in this case not to be any fire. Again, the deal is so beneficial to both parties that it would take something remarkable not to see an agreement reached. Ken Fang reported today that discussions have taken place between the two sides over the summer and with Patrick's announcement today, it's a safe bet a deal is already done or close to it. From reading the tea leaves around the industry, It would be one of the biggest shocks of the year if you didn't see The Dan Patrick Show on NBC Sports Network in the near future.