More than a year and a half after it was first rumored and nearly a year to the date after it was officially announced, the upcoming ESPN show with Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre has a name and a start date.
ESPN announced Tuesday that the show will be called “High Noon (9 a.m. Pacific)” — yes, that’s the full name — and will debut Monday, June 4.
Coming soon: “High Noon (9 am Pacific)” with Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre pic.twitter.com/VAOCVeFPwP
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) May 15, 2018
The show will air live from New York between 12 and 1 p.m. ET on ESPN.
High Noon (9 a.m. Pacific) has been a long time coming. We first heard that ESPN was weighing a Bomani-Pablo show back in October 2016, and after months of rumors, the network officially announced it in May 2017. It was originally supposed to debut in January, but construction delays at ESPN’s new New York studio pushed back the date. By the time the show actually starts, it will have been more than a year since it was first announced.
ESPN still hasn’t revealed much about High Noon, but based on interviews Torre and Jones have done, it sounds as if the show will feature longer-form discussion about subjects that interest the hosts. Appearing on The Tony Kornheiser Show last week, Torre said High Noon will be different from shows like PTI that bounce from topic to topic every few minutes.
“We are making a fundamental bet on the idea that there are a couple things that are underrated or at least useful in an age when attention spans have sort of been recognized as so short,” Torre said. “Television has been optimized, thanks to Erik [Rydholm], thanks to the internet, into a serving economy. It’s tight, it’s quick, we anticipate you’re going to tune out. And right now we’re betting that maybe we don’t have to do that. That there’s an audience in this world of great fragmentation for someone who may want what we have to ramble about for 22 minutes.”
“Now, all of that is to say, that sounds like a terrible strategy if that doesn’t work,” he said, “but if it does, we’ll be visionaries.”
Torre is right that the stakes are high. With ESPN’s morning show Get Up struggling in its early weeks (in terms of both ratings and reviews), the network could really use a win. In the 12 p.m. ET time slot, High Noon doesn’t have to appeal to everyone, but it does have to find a core audience that will tune in regularly enough to make all this build-up worth the trouble.
There’s reason for optimism though. Jones and Torre have an intriguing concept, an imminent start date and a name that makes viewers feel as though they’re getting away with something. That’s a pretty good start.