This week has been when the television networks all release their plans for next fall, called "upfronts," letting the media know what they'll be rotting viewers brains with for the next calendar year. ESPN is no different; Tuesday, they announced their plans for late 2007, and they're clearly taking a page from the HBO Real Sports cannon. They're launching a new investigative news show, and one aspect of the show lets us know another reason Bill Simmons reupped for another four years with the network.

In the more traditional on-air arena, ESPN is mounting a challenge to HBO "Real Sports" with the new series "ESPN Reports," a magazine-style show in which top journalists will tell compelling stories about leading athletes and provide investigative reporting. The news-magazine even has a potential Andy Rooney in popular commentator/columnist Bill Simmons. The show will debut Oct. 16 in prime time.

You ever wonder why, when you're in Vegas, the cocktail waitresses wear black tights? That was our lame hypothetical. We suspect you have others.

ESPN End Runs Broadcast Upfronts, Touts Importance To Advertisers [Media Daily News]