Pay cable channel Epix has signed a deal with the NFL for a new weekly series called NFL: The Grind. It will air during football season, premiering on September 11 at 9 p.m. ET following Week 1 action.
The show will recap each week’s action as well as provide regular features. While this may sound like Inside the NFL which airs weekly on Showtime, it promises to be different according to the official announcement:
Featuring a yet-to-be-named host, NFL: The Grind will serve as both a weekly destination for the final word on the week in football, as well as an up close and personal, inside look at life in the NFL – on and off the field – across the endurance test that is the NFL season. In addition to a weekly deep dive into the games, each episode will feature original field pieces – each hosted by an NFL veteran – that will give fans an inside look behind the grind, documenting never-before-told stories of NFL players, coaches and more as they navigate the season.
The deal comes in the wake of a new distribution pact with AT&T that puts the channel on both DirecTV and DirecTV Now that ends a long journey for Epix that kept the network off some of the major pay TV providers. It previously signed a carriage deal with Comcast that took effect last year. DirecTV was the last domino to fall for Epix.
Epix began as a movie channel, but had recently begun to produce original content. It also partnered with the NHL at one point for programming regarding the annual Winter Classic and outdoor games. (That programming moved to NBCSN in 2017.)
DirecTV had kept Epix off its system for years saying its customers didn’t need another movie service. But that changed this year as AT&T and Epix’s owner, MGM finally got together to bring the channel on board at an additional $5.99/month.
Epix’s new deal with DirecTV/DirecTV Now should make NFL: The Grind available to a wider audience. We’ll see how it’s received.