Another announcement made during the ESPN Upfront Presentations in New York today, ESPN is premiering two new shows in September for its late afternoon lineup on ESPN2. Along with mainstays NASCAR Now, Jim Rome in Burning and SportsNation, Dan LeBatard is Highly Questionable and Numbers Don’t Lie will be joining the lineup.
Numbers Don’t Lie will be produced by the same team that brought us SportsNation. It will be a look at the current news stories of the day and melding them with fantasy sports “providing numerical and historical perspective”. The hosts have yet to be announced. Sara Walsh would be a good candidate.
And Dan LeBatard is Highly Questionable will feature the Miami Herald and South Florida sports radio talk show host on his own program that will introduce us to his dad (read the press release, I’m not kidding) and have them talk about the stories of the day bringing “an innovative and comedic approach” to the show. Again, that quote is directly from the press release. Well, you can look at the thing yourself.
Afternoon Lineup on ESPN2 Revamped
ESPN2 will have a new afternoon lineup from 3-6 p.m. ET beginning Monday, September 12. The revamped lineup will include two new studio shows, Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable and Numbers Don’t Lie, along with the highly popular NASCAR Now, Jim Rome is Burning, and SportsNation.
Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable – the new, 30-minute studio show from the creators of Pardon the Interruption and hosted by sportswriter, television reporter and Miami radio host Dan Le Batard – will air weekdays afternoons at 4 p.m. on ESPN2.
Le Batard, a frequent guest host on PTI, will bring an innovative and comedic approach to sports commentary and will offer a critical – and sometimes controversial – perspective on the world of professional sports. Known for being a thoughtful and witty contrarian, Le Batard is not afraid to speak his mind and let his innate Miami and Cuban-American flavor shine through, which will be apparent in the fast-paced show.
Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable will also feature Le Batard’s father, Gonzalo Le Batard, as well as special guests to add different, more sensible, points of view. Over four segments, the show will ask or answer a series of questions about the most topical stories of the day.
“I’m eager to have fun,” said Le Batard. “Fun with my Dad, fun with the audience, fun with the format, fun from Miami — the only city I’ve ever loved. Fun is contagious. I learned that from the community around the PTI show, one of the many things I’ve learned doing that show. The producers from PTI are the most talented group of people with whom I’ve ever worked. They’ve become my friends, and I can’t wait to start a creative project with them. Family, friends, fun, you can’t beat that.”
Born from the debates and discussions on ESPN’s fantasy page, Numbers Don’t Lie will be another fast-paced 30-minute studio show in ESPN2’s new lineup. The show, produced by the creators of SportsNation, will tackle the biggest sports stories of the day by providing historical and numerical perspective and will air weekday afternoons at 3:30 p.m.
Numbers Don’t Lie melds news stories — both serious and light — and fantasy sports to debate a variety of topics and make predictions. The host (to be named later), joined by a former player and an expert, will weigh in on everything from the ten most overrated players to the number of strikeouts a pitcher will get that night. During each show the trio will analyze and make picks in the ESPN.com Streak for the Cash game to provide insight into the night’s most compelling match-ups.
Other elements for Numbers Don’t Lie include the panel ranking the biggest names in sports from 1 to 10 (e.g. the ten running backs who will surpass 100 yards this week) as well as debating the over/under on a number of pressing issues (e.g. the number of starts an injury-prone player will make). The facts and perspective of these debates will appeal to all sports fans while the action items will speak directly to the fantasy player. Numbers Don’t Lie is the show that unearths the “what” and the “why.”
“When we launched Pardon the Interruption several years ago, we basically created a new genre of sports entertainment in the afternoon that really clicked with sports fans and we’ve seen enormous interest from our viewers for additional shows that center around opinion and debate,” said Marcia Keegan, vice president, production at ESPN. “We feel this ESPN2 revamp, along with the creation of shows such as Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable and Numbers Don’t Lie, will offer our audience more opportunities to join in on the sports discussion, as well as providing the data and analysis we know they’ve come to expect from our brand.”
We’ll see if these shows become fodder for the sports blogosphere or become popular. We’ll see.