SBD/August 31, 2011/Media

Versus To Launch Weekday Afternoon Block Of Studio Programming Next Week

Versus plans to launch its weekday afternoon block of studio programming next Thursday as a lead-in to NBC's first NFL game of the year. The channel, which will be renamed NBC Sports Network on Jan. 2, will produce studio shows from Monday-Friday, including a Friday night NFL show with SI’s Peter King and Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio and a Friday night sports business show with CNBC's Darren Rovell. The channel also will roll out a nightly show called "NBC SportsTalk" that will be hosted by Russ Thaler, who was the original "Washington Post Live" studio host for Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Thaler's show plans to use NBC and Comcast SportsNet talent to discuss the sports news of the day. "We're giving people a reason to come to us and spend some time with us," said Jon Miller, President of Programming for NBC Sports and Versus. "These are interesting personalities that we're tapping into." Thaler's show will not try to compete with "SportsCenter," which occupies the same timeslot on ESPN, NBC execs say. Rather than breaking news, the show will look to digest the news. "Our job isn't to break news," Miller said. "It's to tell our audience what's going on in the sports world.” The Monday and Friday versions of "NBC SportsTalk" will be devoted to football, with Florio also slated to appear on Mondays. Also in the works is an hour-long show Monday afternoons at 5:00pm ET called "College Football Talk," which will be hosted by Liam McHugh with Ross Tucker and Roland Williams. Rovell's half-hour show, "CNBC Sports Biz: Game On," will occupy the Friday night 7:00pm timeslot. It will feature interview segments ("The Hot Seat" and "Heavy Hitters"), a "sideline reporter" in Erin Sharoni and will incorporate social media. Miller said the shows' ratings performances would be the clearest indication of success, but said NBC plans to have patience with them. "We know it's going to take some time to develop," Miller said. Versus expects to repeat these shows later in the evening, probably around the 11:00pm window.

DAY
TIME (ET)
PROGRAM HOST
Mon.
5:00-6:00pm
"College Football Talk" Liam McHugh with Ross Tucker,
Roland Williams
Mon.
6:00-7:00pm*
"NBC SportsTalk/ProFootball Talk" Mike Florio
Mon.
6:30-7:00pm
"NHL Live"** ----
Tues.
6:00-7:00pm
"NBC SportsTalk" Russ Thaler
Wed.
6:00-7:00pm
"NBC SportsTalk" Russ Thaler
Thurs.
6:00-7:00pm
"NBC SportsTalk" Russ Thaler
Fri.
6:00-7:00pm
"NBC SportsTalk" Russ Thaler with Mike Florio,
Peter King
Fri.
700-7:30pm
"CNBC Sports Biz: Game On" Darren Rovell
       

NOTES: * = Show will air from 6:00-6:30pm beginning Oct. 10. ** = Show begins Oct. 10.

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