ESPN Still Desperately Wants To Be Cool Again

A couple of years ago, some of ESPN's on-air talent was being lured away by another competing cable network that promised them a Daily Show-style vehicle, centered around sports instead of politics. Some were very interested — and some were very disappointed when the deal never went through, especially given that one of the people being courted as a lead writer on that particular show was a "prominent sports blogger" whom many of those men respected. It didn't happen, dreams were dashed, and everybody went back to their day jobs after having plumes of smoke blown up their TV-friendly assholes for a few months.

But maybe the dream has not died, as Broadcasting and Cable reports that the WWL is considering having its own "Daily Show" -style program on ESPN2 to follow a show called "Timeline, described by ESPN execs "as a panel of personalities, ranging from ESPN anchors to possibly a comedian well-versed in the sports world-along the lines of Frank Caliendo of Fox Sports and TBS."

But, for this post, I'm more interested in this Daily Show-idea. I couldn't get anyone from ESPN to speak about it, but lucky for us,I did get the "Prominent sports blogger" to spill a little about what the idea.

The question I posed was: Why do you think ESPN is interested in doing this type of show now?

Prominentsportsblogger:

"Because it's the easiest freaking pitch in the world. Everyone uses the "the Daily Show for XXXXX" pitch in every dumb television meeting. It seems logical for it to transfer to a sports show. But no one can ever get it together, because they're just taking the Daily Show format and applying it to sports.

The difference is, though: Fans of The Daily Show aren't INHERENTLY into politics. At least not obsessively. But sports fans are, by nature, obsessives. Most people will watch that show and be, "uh, you're gonna tell us some scores, right?" And that problem is why the show never gets made despite people trying for about five years now. Plus, ESPN will hire Nick Bakay."

It's amazing. While blogs like this one will apparently become safer and more palatable, ESPN is trying to go edgier. Well, fuck me.

ESPN To Go Deeper Into Late Night [Broadcasting And Cable]