FanDuel TV’s Run It Back is in its second season, and its growth has been impressive. The NBA show airs Monday to Friday at 10 a.m. Eastern on FanDuel TV’s linear channel and the FanDuel TV+ app, and it’s seen 122 percent growth over what FanDuel TV aired in that slot two years ago (back when the channel was still TVG) and 80 percent year-over-year growth in those watching over-the-top from its first season.

After a recent show, the cast of Michelle Beadle, Shams Charania, Chandler Parsons and Lou Williams spoke to AA via Zoom on what makes Run It Back tick. There, Parsons said Williams’ addition ahead of this season has really elevated the show (which last season featured Beadle, Charania, Parsons, and Eddie Gonzalez).

“Adding someone like Lou who’s fresh out of the league, with his experience, with his knowledge, he’s a player that people respect. So when he gives his take, not only is it intelligent, but people listen.

“And so when you have the combinations of us four with two ex-players that are recently, with Michelle, who kind of transitions us from from segment to segment, and then Shams with all the scoops and everything, it’s just a fun, relaxed show.”

Parsons said that environment of relaxation is key to the show’s success so far, and he thinks it will help them grow further.

“We wear what we want. We say what we want. You’ve got great morale and chemistry. So I feel like as it’s just the second year, I think there’s so much room to grow, and I think this could keep getting better and better and turn into a really big show.”

Beadle spoke to AA last year on how it was key for her to “do jobs I enjoy with people I like,” with Run It Back being one of those. She said her appreciation for the Run It Back group and how well they work together has continued to grow this year.

“I think the chemistry has been really great, and I can say that as someone who’s worked with people where I’ve had zero chemistry. So it’s been very fun. The addition of Lou, I know he’s terrified to go viral for some media stuff, but we’re working on him, bringing him over to the dark side. It’s just been great.

“And then we’ve got Shams, who sort of keeps us on, and he’s the oldest amongst us despite his age being the youngest. It’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. But there he is, wise.”

Charania said he thinks everyone here is the perfect fit.

“Last year, obviously that was my first time working with Michelle, and I couldn’t think of anyone more perfect to lead this and be the quarterback. I knew Chandler as a player, I remember I went to an interview in 2015 when he signed with the Mavericks, and I feel like we’ve always had a good rapport over his career and I’m not surprised how seamlessly he’s transitioned to the media side. I like his energy, I like how polished he is. He’s got his opinions, but he’s also an expert at this as well.

“And then getting Lou, I think, his cachet, how how well-respected he is among players in the community and the culture. He’s one of the guys you think about when thinking about players who are well-liked, and when he speaks, obviously everyone notices.

Charania said chemistry has been key to the success of NBA shows like TNT’s Inside The NBA, and he thinks the chemistry they’re building on Run It Back can pay similar rewards down the road.

“I’m glad to have them three here, and I couldn’t think of anyone else better to do it with. We think about NBA shows, Inside The NBA is like the pinnacle of shows, I’m not saying we’re there yet, but I think when you have two guys that are not afraid to say what’s on their mind and they’re speaking from perspective and expertise, I think that’s very, very hard to find.”

Parsons also credited the team at FanDuel TV, including director of sports programming and content Jason Cahill (who’s also Run It Back‘s executive producer, and recently spoke to AA on the show) and senior director of sports programming Richard Isakow.

“That also starts with Jason and Richard and the whole company. They’re so easy-going. They’re so fun. They’re so free. Just getting to know them off-site, not on camera and not in the studio, they’re great dudes, they mean well. So it is like a family.”

He said that environment makes him and Williams feel some of the support and closeness they had on teams in the past, and enables them all to joke around with each other.

“For us. playing in like a locker room and the NBA, we’ve kind of created that environment here where it’s open. You know, we s***-talk to each other all the time, there’s that camaraderie. But there’s also that love for each other where, like I know I can tell Michelle her breath smells like s*** this morning, but she knows it’s not personal.”

Williams reinforced that feeling of comfort as helping him with a media transition he wasn’t initially sure he wanted to make.

“For me, the transition to the media side, it has been an experience. But one of the positives that I can take out of it is the three people that I’m able to share space with have made it so comfortable for me. And that’s also including the staff and everybody that works behind the scenes.

“I didn’t know that I had a future in in media. I didn’t think this was going to be something that was even in the cards for me. I was trying to figure out my next move, something that I would be passionate about, something that I wanted to share my opinion on in the sports world. And I don’t know if I could have found three people that could have made me more comfortable as I transitioned over from the court into media with three different personalities, three different perspectives on basketball.”

He said it also helps that the team here is able to disagree without it getting personal.

“You know, we went through a entire season of basketball and had very spirited conversations and debates, and it’s never gotten to a point where there’s dislike that comes with that. You know, everybody respects each others’ opinions and time. And that’s something that I’m grateful and appreciative of for Run It Back, just everybody embracing me with open arms and allowing me to be a part of this family.”

Williams said FanDuel TV is also a nice landing space for him to start a media career, as it’s more structured than just player podcasts, but less traditional than a show on ESPN might be.

“It was middle ground, that’s how it was presented to me. I was interested. I did my research, I watched a few episodes from from last year’s season just to see the groove of it. And I was like, ‘Okay, they dress kind of casually, they speak casually, it’s not stuffy. You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room to have an intelligent opinion about about basketball.’  And that made me comfortable.”

Williams said the chemistry on Run It Back was already visible from the outside when he was approached to join the show. That made him wonder a bit if he’d fit in.

“I enjoyed seeing the camaraderie that was already being built in the building, but I was a little wary of that because I’m a natural loner, I like to keep to myself. And I also, for the most part, I’ve learned to keep my opinions to myself sometimes. And like Michelle just alluded to, I try not to go viral based on those opinions.”

Williams said he also wondered if he’d be able to relay honest opinions rather than having to amp up takes for TV. But he said that’s worked out just fine, and his teammates have made him feel comfortable.

“And now that I’m full-blown in this space, I’m starting to get more and more comfortable with saying the things that I actually feel, and at the same time having that balance of still having the integrity of of who I am, as opposed to disrespecting somebody to get views and likes. I prefer to say my truthful opinion about things, and find ways to word it in a in a way that it can be respected. So that’s why I kind of tiptoed into this transition, and I’m still getting adjusted to it to this day.”

Some of that chemistry and chirping of each other got demonstrated in this interview, with Parsons saying “I think you get more comfortable every day,  and there’s something to say about that” after this and Williams weighing in on Parsons leaning back in his chair and putting his feet up: “Comfortable, look at his body language!” Beadle then had the line of “Yeah, if he could get any more comfortable, he’d be dead!”

Parsons talked about how he appreciates the show’s casual look and fun conversations, but he thinks they are building something serious and impressive.

“There’s there’s some level of pride and respect to start something, and be the first one to do it, and to watch it grow. And again, now that we have these four, I think this we found the right fit for everybody. We talk about the chemistry and the love and the respect we have for everybody.

“Me and Lou, you know, we can argue and debate. Some episodes, there’s eight or nine topics and we just disagree on every single one of them. There’s some where we agree. But there’s never anything personal or anything like that. So just start this and now to add Lou, I just think there’s so much, even more room to grow.”

Parsons said the added in-studio shows this year have further boosted the chemistry.

“We did a lot more studio this year versus Zoom, which, the show has been fantastic. And everyone that’s here in the office in LA, a lot of travel scheduled for them, they come from New York and San Antonio, Atlanta, Chicago. I’m lucky enough to live here and I still complain about the traffic.

“But now, just to be here from the start, it just continues to get better and better every day. And I hope it’s something we continue to do for a long time because I think we’re good at it. It’s entertaining and it’s a lot of fun, man.”

Charania is in an interesting role, as he’s coming into this as a newsbreaker rather than an analyst. He said he prefers that.

“My role on the show isn’t to give my opinion. I’m going to give my educated perspective and give reporting and things that I’m covering, things I’m reporting on. I also work with The Athletic and Stadium, so I’m able to kind of balance that. But you know, they’re they’re the former players, they’re the ones with the perspective and the expertise when it comes to that. So I don’t really venture into giving my exact opinion.”

Parsons weighed in with “We try to get them sometimes, but you won’t get it,” and Charania agreed.

“I get put on the spot sometimes, and not only here, but everywhere. But I try to stay with what I know; I’m always gonna speak from a position of reporting, of knowledge, of things that I’ve done my homework on. So that’s kind of my role on the show.”

Charania said the hardest part for him is the show’s early timeslot.

“I never thought that I would be doing a morning show at 9:00 in the morning Central Time, 7 a.m. Pacific, like, I don’t know how many of us thought we’d be getting up this early to do a show. It wakes you up.”

But he said that comes with its own merits.

“I feel it good about it because that means that for the rest of the day I’m already going, I don’t really have time to that point to rest. So at least my days start earlier and I have to be fresh earlier, but that part was definitely a new challenge, something I accepted, something I embraced. And you know, I’m glad that we’re able to have fun on set. We’re able to have light, fun energy while also being able to inform the audience. And you know they want to tune in to what we have to say.”

Parsons weighed in with a joke on that. “It actually helps that it’s that early, so when you pull an all-nighter you could just come straight to here, you don’t have time to go home.”

Meanwhile, Williams said he often takes naps after the show, saying “I’m the total opposite of Shams, I’m going to get back in bed every single day,” and Parsons concurred. “Yeah, they’re grinding, but me and Lou have a nap coming up here.”

It is somewhat unusual for an insider like Charania to be on an hour-long show rather than delivering reporting quick hits, but he said he likes that.

“It’s definitely different, it’s definitely cool. I mean, I never thought I’d be doing this show. When I joined FanDuel TV in 2022, I never thought I’d be part of a daily one-hour show. I thought it would be as I would report for The Athletic, as I would report for Stadium, and it would be like quick-hitting video reports and hits.

“I never thought I would be part of a one hour show, which has been a thrill to to work on. It’s definitely allowed me to improve on-air, but I don’t think it’s really changed what I’m bringing to the table. People are getting a chance to see maybe more of me, see more sides. And honestly, a lot of that has to do with them three. I’m personally not as, I like doing those sit-down shows where I’m just giving my reporting, that’s what I’m used to. So this allows me to bring a different type of personality, and obviously showcase myself a little bit more.”

Beadle said she loves how FanDuel TV has expanded the sports talk jobs out there, and allowed them to do this.

“It’s crazy because it’s a brand-new entity, right? I mean, in the course of the last however many years with the whole streaming thing, there used to be two jobs to talk about the NBA, that was it. And then good luck finding something else to do. And now, the fact that we have so many cool alternate outlets and this is one of them, I hope it goes forever because honestly, it’s fun.”

She said she’s thrilled to keep working on Run It Back.

“You know, for me personally, I’m back to getting to talk about the sport I love the most. I get to do that with people I genuinely enjoy hanging out with. I am a morning person, so my lovely, charming personality just starts showing.”

And she thinks the show can keep growing.

“The FanDuels of the world aren’t going anywhere. So I’d like to think that we will be along for that ride for as long as that is, and this foursome especially. So we will wait and see, but I’m proud of the product we put out and I like finding out when people are seeing it more and hearing it more, like, you know, getting shoutouts during the TNT games. These are all steps that we’ve made since last season, and they’re big steps, so I’m proud of that.”

Run It Back airs Monday-Friday at 10 a.m. ET on FanDuel TV and the FanDuel TV+ app.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.