Fox Hopes Reggie Bush's Popularity Boosts New Kickoff Show
Fox this fall with its new kickoff show "will look to capitalize" on Reggie Bush's name relevance in the college football community, according to Antonio Morales of THE ATHLETIC. Bush has "been gone for almost a decade and a half," yet his name "still reverberates throughout the college game." When Fox Sports Exec Producer and Exec VP/Production & Operations Brad Zager "mapped out Fox’s new kickoff show, this aura Bush possesses was exactly what he wanted." He said, "We wanted this show to have relevant, major college football players and coaches. ... Of this generation, if you’re going to do a Mt. Rushmore, Reggie’s on it." Zager pitched Bush on the idea of joining Fox "over dinner in Atlanta during Super Bowl week, while Bush was still with NFL Network." He stressed that Bush "would be on a broadcast with his peers, big names and relevant coaches from the college world, and emphasized the chance to reunite" with former USC teammate Matt Leinart (THEATHLETIC.com, 8/27).
TEAM BUILDING: In L.A., Helene Elliott notes Bush on the new show, in addition to working with Leinart, will be joined by Urban Meyer, Brady Quinn and host Rob Stone. The show will "debut on Saturday from the Fox studios" in L.A. The new studio crew "quickly creating a distinct and likable identity is crucial to drawing and keeping viewers." This group "can rely on its exceptional resumes" to do so, but the "challenge is to be entertaining while they share their knowledge." Bush said, "I’m not going to try to be anybody else or try to use this show as competition vs. ESPN. I love what 'GameDay' does. I’ve been a huge fan for a long time. So I just think now we have something special here and we have our opportunity to make a mark and I love that Fox is behind it." The crew said that they "expect to slide into roles without being shoved into a mold." Leinart: "The more we’re together you just naturally find your niche on a show, whatever that is" (L.A. TIMES, 8/29).
HIGH NOON: In this week's SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL, John Ourand writes Fox' move to "schedule its highest quality college football game in the noon window on Saturdays this season is so intriguing" because the decision to "emphasize an early afternoon window at the expense of prime time would seem to fly in the face of almost every TV strategy of the past 50 years." However, Fox execs say that their plan is "a lot less risky than some would think." They view that time as a "generally under-served window with much less competition than other, more popular windows." Fox Sports Exec VP and Head Of Strategy & Analytics Mike Mulvihill said, "My No. 1 goal is that we should win noon by a wider margin than any network wins any other window. If we can do that, then I’m going to feel like the strategy was a success." Mulvihill added that he expects Fox' college football ratings to "build as the season wears on" (SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/26 issue).