Yesterday, I mentioned that reports had Russ Thaler joining Versus and we now have the details behind that. Multichannel News is reporting that Versus will be the home of NBC SportsTalk weekdays from 6PM-7PM EST. The shows are an extension of the NBC Sports websites that all feature “talk” in their names. The block begins on September 8. In addition to the new SportsTalk block, NBC Sports has announced their new daily programming lineup on Versus which includes the new NHL Live as a replacement for Hockey Central. NHL Live will debut on October 10.
The new Versus/NBC Sports Network shows (EST):
- Monday 5-6 PM College Football Talk hosted by Liam McHugh with Ross Tucker and Roland Williams
- Monday 6-7 PM NBC SportsTalk / ProFootballTalk with Mike Florio
- Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday 6-7 PM NBC SportsTalk, hosted by Russ Thaler
- Thursday 10-11 PM NFL Turning Point
- Friday 6-7 PM NBC SportsTalk hosted by Russ Thaler with Mike Florio and Peter King
- Friday 7-7:30 PM CNBC Sports Biz: Game On hosted by Darren Rovell
- NHL Live will air before and after most NHL games
Over at The Washington Post, Dan Steinberg has more details on Thaler and the new shows.
Included in Steinberg’s article is this quote from Versus president Jon Miller –
“We’re not looking to break news; we’re looking to take news and analyze it and tell you how to feel about it, what it means,” Miller said. “We want a place for people to go where they know they’re going to see good, intelligent, quality sports television.”
Steinberg notes that the shows won’t be highlight shows and it’s likely that the NHL will take over the final 30 minutes of SportsTalk on Wednesdays depending on what’s going on. Essentially, these will be “talking heads” shows but they are a definite improvement to what Versus is currently airing. They also appear to be a much more serious offering compared to what the prior Comcast regime had for original programming which included the goofy and low budget shows of The Daily Line and Sports Soup. It appears that the NHL will finally get some decent lead-in programming which should help boost their ratings.