Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 26 No. 51
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

ESPN's "OTL" Moving Off Daily Schedule To Saturday Mornings

ESPN will cancel “Outside The Lines” as a daily studio show later this year, opting to move the highly regarded investigative and news show to an hour-long Saturday morning time slot and an undetermined number of primetime specials starting in January. ESPN execs told staffers about the changes this afternoon. The daily show will stop production on Dec. 20. ESPN execs said the move was made to “evolve” the OTL brand and make it accessible to more viewers. “We’re taking away ‘OTL’s’ linear half-hour daily presence and expanding it,” ESPN Exec VP and Exec Editor/Event & Studio Production Norby Williamson said. “If you compare that 30 minute weekday show from 1-1:30 to the amount of impressions that I’m going to get, we’re going to impact more people. ... Everything has to evolve. Consumer habits are changing.”

ESPN plans to produce daily “OTL”-branded segments for “SportsCenter,” “E:60” and ESPN.com, starting Jan. 20. ESPN moved “OTL” to a daily schedule in '03. It launched in '90 as a monthly prime-time news show. “We’re getting back to what we used to do,” Williamson said. “This is the next iteration of ‘OTL.’” That includes branded primetime shows around big events, as well as other primetime shows around specific stories. The first one is scheduled for April or May of next year, coinciding with “OTL’s” 30th anniversary. Jeremy Schaap will host the Saturday show, which will run at 9:00am ET on ESPN starting Jan. 18. Schaap will continue to co-host “E:60” on the network. “OTL”-branded stories also will appear on ESPN.com and E:60. ESPN will replace “OTL” on its daily schedule by expanding the noon “SportsCenter Coast to Coast” to 90 minutes. Starting in January, it will run from noon-1:30 p.m. “I believe in this strategy,” Williamson said. “I know it will be good for the show. And I know it will be good for ESPN.”