Jim Rome's New CBS Sports Deal Includes Two Shows, Contributions To Network Programs
Jim Rome will host new shows on CBS Sports Network and Showtime and be an on-air contributor for the CBS broadcast stations in a wide-ranging deal that was announced today. The move is a coup for CBS Sports Network, bringing a recognizable name to the channel, which is in about 42 million homes and has been looking to add daily programming to try to set itself apart. "One of the goals for CBS Sports Network is to try to come up with some high-profile, instantly recognizable programming," said CBS Sports Chair Sean McManus. "With rights fees in the hundreds of millions of dollars, we have to be creative." CBS Sports Exec VP & Network President David Berson spearheaded the negotiations, which resulted in a multiyear deal. CBS Sports Network will launch a 30-minute show called "Rome" on CBS Sports Network on April 3 at 6:00pm ET. Rome told THE DAILY that the show would be similar to his ESPN show "Jim Rome Is Burning." "Probably, at the top of the show, you're going to get me ranting on the topics of the day," he said. "I'm going to try and get the biggest names and do really sharp interviews. We'll get a talking head or two and break down the issues of the day. I'm not going to break this thing apart and reinvent it." Rome's Showtime show will launch in the fall and feature interviews with athletes and entertainers. "I'm just going to do what I've always done," Rome said. "I would imagine on a network like that, without being irresponsible or being reckless, I could probably take a chance or two and dial it up a bit and see where it gets me."
COVERING THE BIG EVENTS: Rome will be part of the CBS broadcast network's coverage of the NFL, NCAA Tournament and U.S. Open, where he will contribute interviews and commentary. His debut will come during coverage of the '12 NCAA Final Four. He will continue to host his daily syndicated radio show. The CBS Sports Network show will be produced from Orange County, Calif., by Generate Entertainment in association with Dick Clark Productions. Former ESPN exec Mark Shapiro will be the show's Executive Producer, and the move reunites Rome and Shapiro. They started together on Rome's first ESPN show in the early '90s, "Talk 2." Rome said, "The band is back together again. That means something. I hold him in really high regard. We've got great history. We've always said one day we'd probably end up together again." Rome will stay with ESPN through Jan. 27.
Q: Why did you do the deal to bring Jim Rome over to CBS?
McManus: One of the goals for CBS Sports Network is to try to come up with some high-profile, instantly recognizable programming. With rights fees in the hundreds of millions of dollars, we have to be creative. When we thought of programming a daily show with Jim Rome, it seemed like a smart idea.
Q: What will his role be on the broadcast network?
McManus: He'll be a high-profile contributor. I envision Jim coming to us with big-time interviews and unique features. Jim has a very recognizable persona. He has an amazing relationship with the most prominent athletes of our time. To have him be able to take those connections and his unique take and his unique perspective and utilize those on "NFL Today," coverage of the NCAA basketball championship, U.S. Open tennis and other CBS Sports events also seemed like a good idea for us.
Q: How is former ESPN executive Mark Shapiro involved?
McManus: Mark's company, Dick Clark Productions, will be producing the show for CBS Sports Network. Mark will be Executive Producer of the show. Jim is very comfortable with Mark.
Q: Why did you do this deal?
Rome: When the CBS family comes calling and you have the opportunity to work for a company like that and a brand like that, you just don't say no. When I was in college, I always wanted to do this. But one of my primary goals when I first got started was that I wanted to work for one of the major networks. It's a goal that I never knocked down. When I got an opportunity to do so and to be part of that family, it was way too good to pass up.
Q: How do you see your role with CBS?
Rome: The thing that I'm known for and the thing that has kept me in the game and the thing that has gotten me to where I am -- wherever that is -- is, hopefully, I do a strong interview and a smart interview. I've got a certain point of view. The people who like it, really like it. The ones who don't, really don't. Some of the ones who don't still pay attention to it. My goal is to go out there and be provocative and be smart and give people a reason to tune in every single day. I'm going to do what I've always done. Namely, I'm going to rant and have some commentary and do some interviews.
Q: Did you leave ESPN on good terms?
Rome: They treated me really, really well. I had a great run there. They gave me my first TV opportunity. Obviously, it's tough to leave something like that. But it's much easier to do so when you've got someplace to land and the opportunity that I have right now from the CBS family. I'm not leaving ESPN as much as I am joining the CBS family.