In The Wee Hours: "Barstool Van Talk" 1:00am Debut On ESPN2 Averaged 88,000 Viewers
The debut episode of "Barstool Van Talk" on ESPN2 last Tuesday night "averaged 88,000 viewers," according to Richard Deitsch of SI.com. Men in the 18-49 demo accounted for 53,000 viewers, while 13,000 were women 18-49. The lead-in to the show drew 61,000 viewers and lead out was 39,000 viewers. Given the ratings were "tweeted out by ESPN senior management and the whole point of this relationship is to attract 18-40 year-olds that might not watch ESPN otherwise at that hour, you can presume the company was happy with the numbers." The reality is "whatever this show ... ultimately is ratings-wise won’t be known until five or six episodes in and will also depend on how much ESPN promotes this externally" (SI.com, 10/22). In Hartford, Jeff Jacobs writes the confluence of President Trump, Barstool Sports and cord-cutting has "brought ESPN to one of the most important times in its history." How it handles itself "will tell us everything about its moral compass, political bent and, yes, its funny bone." ESPN clearly is "basing its new hires on an ability to attract a younger audience, not only to its cable channels, but to its content on myriad digital platforms." But "Barstool Van Talk" hosts Big Cat and PFT Commenter are "going to take ESPN places in matters of decorum it doesn't necessarily want to go." Jacobs: "This is what drives me nuts about ESPN: It puts people in positions where they know who they are and what they stand for, yet they try to control them some. Let's cash in on their edgy, hip or minority thought, but let's not offend sponsors, Disney or elected officials." At a time when "abusive treatment of women is forefront in everyone's mind, ESPN must live on that line of what is cruel and misogynistic and what is guy humor." Jacobs: "Good luck ESPN, but, hey, you made the deal" (HARTFORD COURANT, 10/23).