FS1’s Jay Onrait visited The Dan Patrick Show Monday to discuss sports media and sports highlight shows, including Onrait’s soon-to-change Fox Sports Live, and he had plenty of interesting and candid things to say. Here’s the clip:
And here are some of the key parts. First, the Patrick and Onrait back-and-forth on Jay and Dan’s week of shows from a prop closet and the “Jay and Dan Don’t Go To The Super Bowl” segments.
“It’s kind of a sad life you’re living now,” Patrick said. “Pretty much, yeah,” Onrait replied. “They’re closing up shop at Fox Sports 1?” “It seems that way. At least, that’s the impression we’re trying to give people. And then to come back and maybe make some sort of grand entrance. But we’re doing our show out of a closet. The worst part is, we had the Women’s World Cup last year, and we asked, ‘Are you going to send us to the Women’s World Cup?” and they said, “No, we’re not, but we’re going to do a segment based on the fact that we’re not going to send you to the World Cup,” and the problem is, it was great! We did a great job of it, it was funny, it was fun, and now they’re like ‘We’re not going to send you to anything ever, we’re just going to keep you here and ridicule the fact that you’re not going.’ “So you were too good…not good enough to go, but too good at not going?” “Exactly. So now we’re in purgatory of never going to any events.”
Onrait went on to talk about hanging out with Patrick in a sauna at the Sochi Olympics and talking the sports highlights game (which Patrick knows well from his long stint at ESPN, particularly the Big Show days with Keith Olbermann). “You gave us some great advice, you know? You said just stick with it. And two and a half years later, our careers are in the toilet.”
Patrick then said Fox’s issue has been taking on ESPN too directly, and Onrait had some interesting comments in response.
“My thought is, you can’t overtake ESPN in the span of a couple of years. And that’s what Fox has done twice now, they’ve made the mistake of trying to go at them in the span of two or three years,” Patrick said. “It’s the only way Fox does things, right?” Onrait said. “It’s all in or not. Unless it’s the closet we’re doing the show out of right now.”
“But your show doesn’t have to be made up into ‘Hey look what we have here, we’ve got a big screen and fancy graphics,'” Patrick said. “It’s about content. And what you’ve been able to do is provide content which is different than the anchors at ESPN.”
“And what it says about us, I suppose…” Onrait said. “That’s where you say, ‘Thank you, Dan.'” “No, I appreciate what you’re saying, but to your point, we were probably more comfortable in that tiny prop closet last week than we ever were on that giant set. And a bunch of your guys here worked on our crew on that giant set and would probably agree. It’s that intimate environment; our personalities are showcased that way. You’re right; the way we started the network, with the giant set, and Andy Roddick talking about football (God bless you, Andy, you know I love you), it was ill-conceived.”
Onrait did say that he feels Fox Sports president Eric Shanks appreciates him and O’Toole, albeit in an unconventional way.
“Eric Shanks, we’re like children to him,” Onrait said. “We’re like his Canadian kids that he had from a previous relationship in college. He went up there on a trip to Niagara Falls, had a few too many Molsons, met a nice girl from Saskatchewan, Dan and I were the result, he brought us down here and this is the life we’re leading now. That would be a more interesting show than our show.”
The whole clip’s worth a listen, and it’s a pretty funny and intelligent conversation about the state of the sports media and sports media issues (including discussion of Cam Newton’s post-game presser, with Onrait defending him). Onrait also tries to book Patrick for a guest stint on The Jay And Dan Podcast; hopefully we get to see that, as these two bouncing off each other is not only insightful, but also pretty entertaining.