SBD/October 22, 2013/Media

Rachel Nichols Aims To Tackle Broader Sports Topics On New CNN Show "Unguarded"

Nichols' new show is an attempt to extend CNN’s programming base
Rachel Nichols’ new sports program, “Unguarded,” may "represent CNN’s first stab at the genre in more than a decade, but the self-described 'total adrenalin junkie' hopes the show broadens the notion of what the format can offer," according to Brian Steinberg of VARIETY. Nichols said that the program, set to debut Friday at 10:30pm ET, "will feature a long form interview with a sports figure as well as a panel discussion that will bring in guests from the world of entertainment as well as sports." Viewers can "look for a talk" with Heat F LeBron James to "kick off the series’ debut." Nichols "expects the show to draw people from varied walks of life, not just die-hard sports buffs." She said, "I felt as if this is a line that isn’t necessarily being traveled on television. This wasn’t necessarily happening consistently anywhere else.” But Steinberg noted a CNN sports program "might pose a widely available selection for a decidedly general audience." CNN has "not run a regular sports show since the demise of 'Sports Tonight,' a more traditional sports-news-of-the-day program" which aired from '80-'01. Nichols describes the launch of her program as an "attempt to extend CNN’s programming base beyond politics and general news." Nichols said that she "hopes to line up more interviews with sports figures that tackle broader topics, not just game play" (VARIETY.com, 10/21). Nichols said that the debut piece "will be an all-access ride-along" with James on his recent trip to China. Nichols: "We have some great behind-the-scenes moments, as well as some pretty crazy visuals of him among the tens of thousands of people who clogged the streets just to see him there. LeBron has traveled to China every summer for the past nine years, and it struck me that here is one of the biggest athletes on the planet, whose every move is chronicled, and yet here is something that's become a regular part of his life that most sports fans had never seen much of ... before now" (SI.com, 10/20).
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