"OTL" Returns Saturday Under Weekly Format, Without Bob Ley
ESPN's new weekly version of "OTL" premieres Saturday, and for the "first time in its history," it will be without the now-retired Bob Ley as part of the show, according to Ben Strauss of the WASHINGTON POST. The net's Jeremy Schaap now "takes over" as the host of "OTL," though the new schedule has "some stakeholders anxious." A source said that Ley was "not happy about the scheduling change" to move "OTL" from daily to weekly. However, Schaap is "optimistic." He said that ESPN execs "remain committed to the show." He said, "The brand is more important than ever." Schaap said that moving to weekly programming will allow "room for more in-depth panel discussions and meatier features." Strauss notes original ESPN reports "could find new life on Saturday morning, as well as on new OTL-branded segments" on noon editions of "SportsCenter." Schaap added that his "version of 'OTL' will look much like Ley's, given the hosts' similar sensibilities." Strauss writes now more than ever, ESPN is "delicately balancing its business interests, entertainment and journalism." But Schaap said that part of his new job is to "keep the confidence of ESPN executives -- to make the case that he can explore hard topics without recklessly attacking business partners" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/17).