NFL Network is getting into the morning show business according to USA Today‘s Michael Hiestand.  Starting July 30th, the network will begin NFL AM, a four hour morning show airing from 6 AM ET – 10 AM ET every weekday morning.  The plans for the show seem like a cross between Mike & Mike, First Take, and Morning Joe.  Here’s the details…

“It’s mind-boggling how much content is out there,” says NFLN executive producer Eric Weinberger. “How can you fill up four hours dedicated to the NFL every morning? It’s surprisingly easier that it sounds.”

Expect, obviously, lots of yak. Weinberger suggests the show, which will replace re-airs of NFLN’s Total Access news shows in the time slot, could talk to coaches “before they start their days.” There’ll be “heavy debate,” he says, and some elements might seem “like Fox & Friends meets a radio show.” Occasionally news might filter in from outside the NFL world — Weinberger suggests the show would have mentioned the Miami Heat won the NBA title — but with any non-football news “there’ll always be an effort to bring it back or compare it to the NFL.” Like maybe, would LeBron James be better as a tight end or linebacker?

This show seems like it has boom or bust potential.  The last thing televised sports needs right now is another debate show, but if it’s toned down and smart, and a small part of the show, this could work.  The talent lined up for the show is interesting as none are really names that are likely to move the needle nationally.  The host will be Brian Webber of Fox Sports with Nicole Zaloumis as co-host.  The debaters are columnist Mark Kriegel and NFLN reporter Steve Wyche.  And, former cornerback Eric Davis will be the resident ex-player on set. 

This relatively anonymous lineup could also work in favor of the show because nobody should theoretically have a gimmick to fill or reputation to be forced to live up to.  In launching a new show from scratch, perhaps this is the preferred road to travel.

The most fascinating part of the show may be its 3 AM local start time.  Hiestand says the people working the show will start their day at 11:30 PM the previous night!  Yikes!  That’s a big sacrifice, but one that will should be worth it for the network.  Live programming is a much more salient option than NFL Total Access reruns.

The NFL is America’s number one sport and it’s not even close, so there will definitely be an appetite for this show.  Right now the morning viewing options for sports fans are SportsCenter (which doesn’t go live until 9 AM ET), Mike & Mike, and The Dan Patrick Show (also not starting until 9 AM ET).  If NFL AM can strike the right balance between getting ahead of the day’s top stories and debating relevant topics without going over the top… if they can go beyond the same overhyped, manufactured stories of the news cycle and provide something different…  this show could very well succeed.

If NFL AM talks about Tim Tebow’s performance in the Wildcat for three hours every morning, well, I may see what MLB Network or NBA TV has to offer… or go back to sleep.

(via USA Today)

About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.

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