ESPN launched their new digital exclusive studio show this month, Debatable. Vice president of digital production Mike Foss spoke to ESPN Front Row about some of the inspiration behind the show and much more.
The network started Debatable to carry on the tradition and feel of Highly Questionable. The results have been positive so far, with the digital space offering the show freedoms no other traditional studio show can access on TV.
“It was a great opportunity to bring two creative teams in ESPN’s Digital Production group and Rydholm Projects into a rapidly evolving and important part of our audience expansion efforts,” Foss said when asked why the show is exclusively on digital. “We have seen tremendous growth in our digital live show business and audience over the past three years, and this was a unique opportunity to differentiate our portfolio with Debatable.”
Some of the same faces that fans grew to love on Highly Questionable, like Pablo Torre, Dominique Foxworth, Mina Kimes, and Sarah Spain have all been a part of the show so far. The back and forth connection between all of them never seemed to go away.
“The chemistry,” Foss said when asked what he’s most excited to see from the show. “My favorite part of our shows is they’re all live. My second favorite part is there are no commercial breaks. Without taping or breaks, you get to see organic relationships develop on the fly. Even people who have done TV together for years show a different side of themselves in this environment because there’s a new freedom in the format.”
ESPN has tackled digital shows before, but all of them had a streamlined focus. Debatable is uncharted territory for the network.
“The differentiator between Debatable and our other programming is it is a standalone multi-sport show,” Foss said. “whereas everything else we’ve done has a subject-specific hook, or tie into a linear event.”
Catch new episodes of the show on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube every weekday at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Russ Heltman is a daily news writer for BSM. He is the morning host and producer for 89.3 WMKV in Cincinnati, OH. He also works in gameday communications for FC Cincinnati and additionally contributes to the AllBengals blog for Sports Illustrated. Russ can be found on Twitter @RussHeltman11 or you can reach him by email at Heltmandm@yahoo.com.
Bomani Jones: Chris Canty Made Me Rethink How I Look At This Job
“You’ve heard me say this before. I have a particular respect for former athletes that get in and treat this job with care like in the same way they would the other job.”
The Right Time with Bomani Jones has been one of ESPN’s most successful podcasts recently. Part of the appeal is that the conversations can go anywhere. Jones and his guests talk plenty about sports, but they will venture into pop culture, current events, and more. When it is “Foxworth Friday”, there is a good chance that the show will give some insight on other ESPN personalities.
On the most recent edition of The Right Time, Bomani Jones and Domonique Foxworth discussed how hard it can be to come up with a unique view on a topic every single time you are asked to talk about it. When Foxworth said that ESPN Radio’s Chris Canty makes it a little easier for him to be entertaining in those moments, Jones added to the praise.
He discussed a conversation he and Canty had at a Halloween party hosted by FOX’s Nick Wright.
“You’ve heard me say this before. I have a particular respect for former athletes that get in and treat this job with care like in the same way they would the other job,” Jones said. “Chris was like ‘Hey man’. You know, he’s got a Super Bowl ring, but he’s like ‘I didn’t get a gold jacket. I wasn’t great at that. But this? I have a chance to be great at something else.’”
Bomani Jones was impressed by that attitude. He admitted that it was eye-opening.
“That really made me look back at how I do my job and was like ‘Yo, I need to be looking at this in a very similar way.’”
Foxworth agreed. He said that it isn’t hard to believe that Chris Canty wants to be great on TV and radio. It is easy to see when he is making an effort to get better.
“He works at it and he doesn’t rely on just one move,” Foxworth said. “Using the basketball analogy, he’s adding new stuff to his game.”
Chris Canty clearly has fans in Bristol. ESPN keeps finding ways to use him across multiple platforms. In addition to his daily ESPN Radio show with Chris Carlin, he also makes regular appearances on Get Up with Mike Greenberg.
Dave Portnoy Drops Appeal Of Lawsuit Against Business Insider
“In dropping the suit, both Portnoy and Insider have agreed to pay their own legal fees according to Awful Announcing.”
Dave Portnoy is done with his legal fight against Insider. He filed an appeal after a judge dismissed his initial defamation suit in November. That appeal has been dropped.
Nich Carlson, the Global Editor-in-Chief of Insider, took to Twitter Friday to announce that the legal standoff had come to an end. He also notes that Insider is not surprised by the decision. The company stands by the reporting in the initial story, in which multiple women alleged that sexual encounters with Portnoy turned “violent and humiliating”. It was one of two stories the site published featuring these kinds of accusations against Portnoy.
Both sides will move on. In dropping the suit, both Portnoy and Insider have agreed to pay their own legal fees according to Awful Announcing.
In November, a Massachusetts judge ruled that Portnoy would have to prove that Insider acted with “actual malice” in publishing the stories. That was going to be a high bar considering that Dave Portnoy is a public figure.
Neither he nor his legal team have publicly commented about the status of the lawsuit.
Nick Wright: Majority of Media Got Tom Brady Retirement Story Wrong
“I don’t think people understand that these are not easy decisions.”
The news of the retirement of Tom Brady wasn’t the most shocking development, but FS1 host Nick Wright believes the way some of media coverage around Brady evolved wasn’t handled correctly.
During his What’s Wright? with Nick Wright podcast, Wright argued that those who have been given tremendous talents are put in different situations than those who weren’t, stopping just short of saying Brady had a duty to continue to perform his craft. He later added that those joking about Brady’s marriage failing for an extra season in the league weren’t viewing the entire picture, and that the divorce wasn’t something worth joking about.
“I see a lot of stuff people are saying about Brady, and I think it’s bullshit,” Wright said. “‘Oh, you sacrificed your marriage to 8-9’. And I don’t think people understand that these are not easy decisions. These are not easy things, and people know we know we are at times putting yourself first, in a selfish way that you’re not supposed to as a parent.”
The First Things First host then said the situation is similar to one he experienced as a child, but grew to realize there were bigger things than simply being a parent.
“It’s what I learned from my own dad. My own dad — who I have massive admiration for — absolutely put me and my sister — at times — on the backburner to negotatioting the best bargain possible for the Kansas City Firefighters. His legacy — he’s a great dad, who I adore — (but) his life’s legacy is not the things he did for me and my sister, his real legacy is the things he did for those firefighters and their families. You have those push and pull things and you make decisions and you deal with the fallout of it. It’s really sad that he and Gisele didn’t make it.”