SBD/August 23, 2013/Media

FS1 Still Seeing Mixed Reviews For "Fox Sports Live;" Daily Football Show Has Promise

Pundits believe the "Fox Sports Live" panel needs some work
FS1's "Fox Sports Live" could "prove a worthy challenger" to ESPN's "SportsCenter" if it "focuses on its strengths and tries to become its own show," according to Chris Chase of USA TODAY. Chase reviewed both programs on Sunday and Monday and noted "Fox Sports Live" on Sunday was "starkly different than SportsCenter" and "aired 18 uninterrupted minutes before the first commercial." The show was "wall-to-wall" with highlights, as there was "little discussion of sports, just coverage of them." Compare that to the 11:00pm edition of "SportsCenter" on Monday, when the net "led with eight minutes of coverage of the preseason Monday Night Football game that had just aired." There were "some highlights, but mostly talk about the game." Meanwhile, "Fox Sports Live" panelist Andy Roddick "will shine once given the opportunity," and fellow panelist Gary Payton "has room for improvement." However, co-panelist Donovan McNabb is "stalling the whole operation," as he is "trying to make waves, which is the wrong way to go about it." There is a "need for a panel" on "Fox Sports Live" because the show "can't simply survive in showing highlights." If the panel concept is "refined and tightened, FSL can make it work" (USA TODAY, 8/22).

MIXED REVIEWS FOR SHOW
: In Boston, Chad Finn writes "Fox Sports Live" so far is "fairly good." Host Charissa Thompson "can deftly moderate a discussion and Roddick "comes across as a lifelong sports nut," while McNabb and panelist Ephraim Salaam are "works in progress." Anchors Jay Onrait and Dan O'Toole "are an acquired taste -- and one I’ve acquired." Beneath their "earnest friendliness is a wry subversiveness that may not be evident on a couple of views." Fox deserves "kudos ... for bringing them stateside," as Onrait and O'Toole give the show "plenty of promise and a few laughs" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/23). In L.A., Tom Hoffarth writes it is "probably not polite to begin thrashing and bashing away at something that’s just up and running," but Fox "seems to have forced us into doing this." Hoffarth: "Stop trying so hard." Onrait and O'Toole "are the Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time players who should be smart enough to realize they could carry this thing if they don’t get carried away with themselves." Meanwhile, Hoffarth writes of the Audi Big Board on the show, "Is this the Bloomberg News stock report, or is there actually a Dodgers-Marlins score buried in there somewhere?" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 8/23).

LOOKING AT OTHER PROGRAMS: In Akron, George Thomas reviews FS1's "Fox Football Daily" and writes Fox "looks wise to have brought in Curt Menefee, who hosts 'Fox NFL Sunday,' to serve as the show’s traffic cop." His "affable nature and knowledge make this look like a shrewd move." Show co-host Jay Glazer "possesses boundless energy," as he "genuinely loves what he does, and that alone can’t be underestimated when it comes to pulling in viewers" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 8/23). In California, Michael Lev writes the most "promising show" on the net is "Fox Football Daily." The "perpetually sarcastic and self-deprecating" Onrait and O’Toole take some "getting used to" on "Fox Sports Live," though afternoon show "Crowd Goes Wild" is "unpolished but promising" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 8/23). In Detroit, Jeff Seidel writes Thompson is "reason enough to watch Fox Sports 1, no matter how dizzy I get looking at all the graphics." Meanwhile, "Crowd Goes Wild" co-host Regis Philbin "should just go away" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 8/23).

BREAK ON THROUGH TO THE OTHER SIDE: THE MMQB's Richard Deitsch wrote FS1 analyst Randy Moss gave the "perception that he wanted little part of the media during his career," which is why his presence on "Fox Football Daily" is the "most intriguing NFL broadcasting hire of the offseason." Fox Sports VP/Production Jacob Ullman reached out to Joel Segal, Moss’ agent, "upon hearing that the wide receiver might be interested in television work after a limited role with the 49ers last season." Fox execs were "impressed by the receiver’s knowledge and enthusiasm." Moss during a one-day audition was "asked to give his opinion on a series of NFL topics, and Fox Sports executives came away impressed." Fox Sports Exec Producer John Entz: "The things we are always looking for are likeability and credibility. He has the credibility based on how successful he was at playing. The other part is harder to tell, and we found him to be likeable." Deitsch noted it has only been a "limited sample size, but Moss has been interesting television so far," as he is "bright, with an engaging manner of speech." A Fox spokesperson said that the net "already thinks enough of him ... that Moss will make regular appearances on Fox NFL Sunday, the network’s long-running pregame show, throughout the season" (MMQB.SI.com, 8/22).

SIMMS TO SIMMER UP FOR FS1: In Austin, Kirk Bohls reports former NFLer Chris Simms will be a "rookie color analyst" for FS1 this college football season. Bohls writes, "I’m betting he’ll be good at it. Simms knows the game. He’s smart. He’s photogenic. And he obviously has a name." Simms: "I definitely won’t sugarcoat a lot. I want my style to be informative" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 8/23).

MISSION: POSSIBLE: FS1 will debut an MLB series Monday that takes a behind-the-scenes, "Hard Knocks"-style look at playoff contenders. MLB Productions and Fox Sports will produce "Mission October," an eight-episode, weekly series that debuts with the Pirates Aug. 26 at 7:30pm ET. The first seven episodes, which will be 30 minutes long, will air Mondays. The final episode will air the Monday after the World Series and will be 60 minutes. MLB and Fox plan to highlight different teams involved in the pennant race each week. Camera crew will follow the team over a weekend series, with the episode ready to air by Monday night (John Ourand, Staff Writer).
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