The morning after the London Olympics came to a close, NBC Sports Network (né Versus, né Outdoor Life Network) premiered The 'Lights, described by the network as as "a catalyst for our new programming lineup" that "will quickly provide sports fans all of the scores and highlights they crave as they start their day." The twist is that The 'Lights uses an off-screen, unseen anchor and a compressed, 20-minute-long run time that repeats between the hours of 7-9 a.m. Eastern (with updates as necessary).
It's reminiscent of the glory days of CNN's Headline News, and while NBC won't admit it, The 'Lights is clearly taking ESPN's SportsCenter head on in an attempt to carve away some of the pre-commute sports highlight viewers. Certainly the timing could not be better; SportsCenter has reached its nadir when it comes to reporting sports results, what with entire days on ESPN being dedicated to Tim Tebow and the ever-encroaching Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless. Viewers turned off by SportsCenter shenanigans might find The 'Lights a quicker and more informative recap of what's actually happening on the playing field.