ESPN Revamps Weekday Afternoon Lineup to Emphasize Sport-Specific Shows
ESPN and ESPN2 will roll out a new weekday afternoon programming lineup in the coming weeks that further focuses coverage of the NFL, NBA, college football and Major League Baseball. The first development is ESPN has added MLB Network’s popular studio program, Intentional Talk, which debuted on ESPN2 on Monday, May 1.
Later this summer, each day’s edition of The Jump covering the NBA, College Football Live and Intentional Talk will be widely available for fans to view on demand after their initial airing. This is a broader move to make ESPN’s daily programs available to authenticated subscribers on demand the same day – for fans to watch on their own schedule – via the ESPN App and WatchESPN across all devices and platforms.
“The fan bases of these sports – NFL, NBA, college football and Major League Baseball – are ravenous for information on a daily basis,” says Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president, programming and scheduling. “These shows – with news, highlights and debate – complement our strong event coverage in each sport. In addition, as a reflection of the consumption habits of today’s sports fan, making programming available on mobile and on demand, only makes sense.”
In weekday daytime viewing among national cable sports networks (M-F, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.), ESPN’s measured networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN Deportes) garner 62 percent of the audience (P2+), rising to 72 percent among P18-34. Focusing on multi-sport networks, the numbers rise to 80 percent and 86 percent, respectively. Also, in 2016 ESPN was the No. 1 cable network in weekday daytime among M18-34, M18-49 and M25-54.
The changes focus on the 4 – 5:30 p.m. ET time slot on ESPN2 and the 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. slot on ESPN and will take effect in stages with. The revamp will be completed in mid-July.
MLB Network’s Intentional Talk is hosted by Chris Rose with analyst Kevin Millar and will air as a 30-minute telecast in the offseason. Intentional Talk will also continue to air in its regular 5 p.m. timeslot on MLB Network.
NFL Live on ESPN will expand from 60 to 90 minutes beginning Monday, May 22, airing at 1:30 p.m. and incorporating many of the elements from the NFL Insiders program (which, as of that date, will no longer air as a standalone show). Trey Wingo, Suzy Kolber and Wendi Nix will share hosting responsibilities, working with a core group of NFL analysts Tedy Bruschi, Ryan Clark, Herm Edwards and Louis Riddick; with appearances by Matt Hasselbeck and Steve Young; plus insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter who will be on the show every day.
The Jump, where host Rachel Nichols and analyst Tracy McGrady are joined by a group of ESPN analysts and former players, on ESPN at 3 p.m. will be year-round, with no summer hiatus.
When College Football Live returns for the season on Wednesday, July 12, it will remain on ESPN2 but move to 5 p.m. The show will include regular appearances by analysts Paul Finebaum, Joey Galloway, Desmond Howard, Booger McFarland and David Pollack. Host duties will be announced at a later date.
With the additions and expansions, there will be fewer hours of re-airs and more live programming.