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FS1 Sees Self As Underdog To ESPN, Wants To Bring "Funny, Irreverent" Approach
Published July 19, 2013
SURPRISE! Around the FS1 offices, the "words 'fun' and 'irreverent' are thrown around to describe everything." The net will place a "higher value on surprise, which explains why" 81-year-old Regis Philbin will host "Crowd Goes Wild," an hour-long "talk and interview show airing daily" at 5:00pm ET. Fox is "building a set at the Chelsea Piers sports facility, on Manhattan’s West Side, from which Philbin, a passionate Yankee and Notre Dame fan, can opine on the issues of the day." But Greenfeld wonders, "Do viewers really want their sports coverage to be funny?" That is an "open question, and one that Hill admits may require some reconsideration." News Corp. COO Chase Carey said, "We've done a lot of startups. I think we know that part of it is going to be a learning exercise." Data from SNL Kagan shows that FS1 in '14 will "earn about" 80 cents per subscriber. But the "investment is unlikely to be viewed as successful until it crosses the $1-per-subscriber threshold." Considering that Fox News "generates $1.25, it’s a plausible goal, but getting there may require an even larger investment in rights fees." The "holy grail would be to broaden its deal with the NFL; Fox executives are already seeking to slice off part of the Thursday night package currently on the NFL Network." Hill: "We like to think we can create something unique from Day One, but it's an art, not a science. ... All we have to do is get on the air and see what's right and what's wrong" (BUSINESSWEEK, 7/18).