Sports TV News
ESPN’s ‘Outside the Lines’ Returns to Saturday Mornings Feb. 19
The Saturday ‘OTL’ returns after going on hiatus in August for college football season.
Outside the Lines, ESPN’s flagship journalism magazine program, is returning to Saturday mornings for a new season beginning Feb. 19, airing at 9 a.m. ET.
The one-hour standalone program has been off the air since August, stepping aside for College GameDay during college football season. Daily “OTL” segments have continued airing during the 12 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter.
OTL was originally moved to Saturdays in January 2020 after the daily edition of the program was canceled in December 2019. But those plans were soon affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Saturday show went dark until February 2021.
Considered ESPN’s top journalism enterprise, Outside the Lines has moved around the network’s schedule several times during its existence. The show began in 1990 as a recurring prime-time special before moving to early Sunday mornings 10 years later. OTL then became a daily afternoon program in 2003 before getting pushed to Saturday mornings and daily segments on SportsCenter.
As he has since original host Bob Ley retired in 2019, Jeremy Schaap returns to anchor the Saturday OTL. The season debut is headlined by a story on the federal trial in which former Los Angeles Angels employee Eric Kay faces accusations of providing pitcher Tyler Skaggs with illegal drugs. Skaggs died of an overdose in July 2019. Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young will also be featured and Schaap will have a commentary on Tom Brady.
According to ESPN’s official announcement, upcoming editions of OTL will look at Joe Paterno’s legacy, the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s major-league debut, conditions for migrant workers in Qatar leading up to the 2022 World Cup, a profile of Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry, and robot umpires in professional baseball.
The new season of Outside the Lines premieres Saturday, Feb. 19 at 9 a.m. ET.
Ian Casselberry is a sports media columnist for BSM. He has previously written and edited for Awful Announcing, The Comeback, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation. You can find him on Twitter @iancass or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sports TV News
Sean McManus: LIV Golfers Won’t Get Different Treatment During The Masters
“We’re not gonna put our heads in the sand.”
CBS Sports is preparing for coverage of its 68th consecutive year of The Masters, but the 2023 event could prove to be unlike any before it, and CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus is cognizant of the situation.
After several former Masters champions departed the PGA Tour for the upstart LIV Golf, many pondered what that meant for the sport’s major championships. The Masters decided to continue to allow the golfers who are now playing exclusively with the Saudi-backed league to compete for the green jacket. McManus shared that CBS will continue the showcase the golfers as it always has.
“We’re not gonna cover up or hide anything,” McManus said, as reported by Golf Digest. “As I’ve said so often, our job is to cover the golf tournament. We’re not gonna show any different treatment for the golfers who have played on the LIV tour than we do the other golfers. And if there’s a pertinent point or something that we need to, or we feel that we should bring up in our coverage on Saturday and Sunday, or on our other coverage throughout the week, you know, we’re not gonna put our heads in the sand.
“Having said that, unless it really affects the story that’s taking place on the golf course, we’re not gonna go out of our way to cover it. I’m not sure there’s anything that we could add to the story as it already exists. We’ll cover it as, as is suitable.”
Sports TV News
NFL Owners Not Voting on Flex Scheduling For Thursday Night Football
“The owners have simply decided to wait until May to make their decision.”
Amazon will have to wait for flex scheduling. NFL owners decided to table a proposal that would allow the league to create more compelling matchups for Thursday Night Football later in the season.
That doesn’t mean flex scheduling won’t be a reality on Thursday nights this season. The owners have simply decided to wait until May to make their decision.
Earlier this week, Peter King of NBC Sports reported that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is pushing the idea. Coaches have been outspoken about how much they dislike it, complaining about managing injuries and the competitive disadvantage that would come with finding out you suddenly have a shorter week of preparation than expected. According to King, Goodell is trying to make Amazon happy after the first season of Thursday Night Football failed to deliver projected audience numbers for Prime Video.
League owners did take a step they hope will lead to fewer games between losing teams. Last season, teams could only be scheduled once for a Thursday night game. The owners decided to bump that limit up to twice per season.
Goodell defended the proposal against accusations that the league is prioritizing revenue over player safety.
“We always look at the data with respect to injuries,” he told the media gathered at the league meetings. “That is what drove our decisions throughout the first 12 or so years of Thursday Night Football and how it’s evolved. I think the data was very clear: it doesn’t show a higher injury rate. But we recognize shorter weeks. We went through this with COVID, too.”
When the idea of flex scheduling is revisited in May, it will require the support of 24 team owners in order to become a reality.
Sports TV News
Eric Shanks Got Approval From Alex Rodriguez Before FOX Hired Derek Jeter
“Why wouldn’t we reach out?”
Derek Jeter is going to work a very limited schedule for FOX next season. Still, before he came on board, FOX Sports CEO Eric Shanks wanted the support of Jeter’s former Yankees teammate and on-again/off-again friend Alex Rodriguez.
Andrew Marchand is reporting that Shanks reached out to ARod personally. Rodriguez gave his approval to the network.
“Why wouldn’t we reach out?” a Fox Sports spokesman said when The New York Post reached out for confirmation.
While Derek Jeter is now part of the FOX family, fans shouldn’t expect to see him every time baseball is on the network. He is only scheduled to work “marquee events”. This season, those include the London series, the All-Star Game, and the World Series.
He will be at the desk alongside Kevin Burkhardt, David Ortíz, and Rodriguez.