Next week will be the third anniversary of Fox Sports 1’s debut. That will prompt plenty of discussion as to where the fledgling (if you can still be fledgling after three years) sports network stands in its competition with ESPN, and how much it has progressed during that short existence.

So it’s probably not a coincidence that Jamie Horowitz, the man in charge of FS 1 as president of Fox Sports national networks is trying to set the conversation about the network, its philosophy and its future. Horowitz talked to The Hollywood Reporter‘s Marisa Guthrie, who’s broken many recent stories on sports media, about how he sees FS1 as compared to ESPN.

Above all, Horowitz sees Fox Sports 1 as a Fox News for sports. That isn’t exactly a headline, considering the corporate umbrella he works under. There has been plenty of derision directed at Horowitz’s “Embrace Debate” philosophy, but building his network around opinion-based programming is an approach he champions, as he explained to Guthrie.

“FS1 has an opportunity to make a big bet on opinion-based programming. And that’s where I think the opportunity lies in the day part. Skip Bayless’ final year at First Take was the highest-rated single year in the history of First Take. For 15 consecutive months he beat SportsCenter. Opinion-based sports programming is setting record highs.”

Guthrie pointed out that the Fox News analogy doesn’t complete work, since the cable news network has always intended to cater to an underserved audience. But as viewers tune into Fox News each night to see Bill O’Reilly, Megan Kelly and Sean Hannity, Horowitz hopes sports fans will switch to FS1 to see Skip Bayless, Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock.

Again, the analogy doesn’t fit exactly because Fs1’s signature programming is in the mornings and afternoons, and not during prime time. But there is something to be said for the similarity in philosophy.

Horowitz went on to praise his parent company and corporate overlords for daring creative decisions, such as developing a movie like Deadpool. (He conveniently overlooks Fantastic Four and X-Men: Apocalypse.) Citing The Simpsons and The Americans might serve his argument better. He can only hope that his sports network eventually has as much cultural impact as the examples he points to for inspiration.

The THR interview also includes Horowitz’s thoughts on Keith Olbermann, John Skipper and Bill Simmons, among which no bridges are being burned.

[The Hollywood Reporter]

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He's written for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.