SBD/Morning Buzz

Versus Next Week To Start Airing New Block Of Studio Programming

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 Monday-Friday, including a Friday night NFL show with SI’s Peter King and ProFootballTalk'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.

See more in today's issue of THE DAILY.
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