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Volume 24 No. 156
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Setting The Scene: Bill Simmons Leads Panel Discussion On State Of Pregame Shows

The state of pregame studio shows was discussed on a recent edition of "The Bill Simmons Podcast" on THE RINGER, with Simmons noting the ratings for most NFL pregame shows have "dropped precipitously." He noted it is "so easy to get information in so many other places, you don’t necessarily need a pregame show for your info.” The Ringer's Bryan Curtis noted the “biggest single thing that’s changed with studio shows is that hardcore sports fans have gotten so much smarter" while "medium sports fans have probably gotten slightly smarter." Curtis: "If you’re a hardcore sports fan, that studio show is just on a completely different level than you. It’s like ten rungs down the ladder from you.” Simmons: “It’s beneath you.” Simmons noted “Fox NFL Sunday” has maintained ratings despite not having “phenomenal analysis” in part due to the “characters, the puff pieces, Rob Riggle -- guys I like but I don’t really take their opinions seriously.” The Wall Street Journal's Jason Gay noted the Fox pregame is a “hang” and they are “comfortable voices that you’re familiar with and grown up with in some instances." He said the same could be applied to TNT's “Inside the NBA,” as the hosts are “funny and they are irreverent, but they’re not giving you some insane breakdown” of a game. Simmons noted both the MLB postseason pregame shows on Fox and TBS were not "nearly as good" as they were last year. Simmons: “When I see five people on a studio show, I laugh my ass off. ... When you have a five-person (panel) and it’s a half-hour (show) and it’s four- and five-minute segments, it’s a disaster. There’s no way you’re going to have a normal conversation” ("The Bill Simmons Podcast," THERINGER.com, 12/8).