ESPN Nixes 6-9AM Block For Sports Center's New Format Debuting In August

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Interesting news from ESPN Programming Central this morning, it appears that the original first block of the new look Sports Center (6-9AM) has hit the cutting room floor. Also caught up in the mix appears to be Linda Cohn and Steve Berthiaume. The two were originally scheduled to host the slot, and while Berthiaume still has Baseball Tonight duties to fall back on, Cohn is left without a spot. Via Sports Business Daily....

When ESPN debuts its live morning "SportsCenters" on August 11, it will go live for six hours, rather than the nine that was originally planned. The net will show a re-aired loop of "SportsCenter" from 6:00-9:00am ET before going to live programming from 9:00am-3:00pm. "The 6-9am block was always going to be looking back to the previous night," said ESPN VP/PR Josh Krulewitz. "As we proceeded with our plans, we realized the biggest impact on fans across our platform would come from the 9am-3pm block."

ESPN had announced that Linda Cohn and Steve Berthiaume would host that early morning block. Berthiaume will continue at his current gig on "Baseball Tonight," while Cohn's future duties are still to be determined. No changes are expected for the other planned hosts (Hannah Storm and Josh Elliott from 9:00am-noon and Chris McKendry and Robert Flores from noon-3:00pm).
Same as when ESPN first announced the new format, this move makes a ton of sense within the 24-hour news cycle. The 9am hour would seemingly still have some of the stories from the night before but would be nowhere near as bare of new content as a 6 o'clock starting time. That's what ESPN News is for and with that channel now in HD, it makes a perfect replacement.

You do have to feel bad for Linda Cohn though. She's been working on Sports Center since 1992, and while I've never thought she was the best thing going, she never grated on my nerves the way some other personalities have.

Hopefully they find something else for her on the Network. Hey, maybe even a spot in the booth....she's as qualified as anyone.

Posted by Awful Announcing- at 7:43 AM


Can she take Pam Ward's spot in the booth? She couldn't be any worse.

While I've never ranked Cohn among my favorite anchors, she's been around for basically all of my Sportscenter-watching life and is a venerable part of the show. She kind of reminds me of a reliable utility infielder: things normally don't depend on her, but you're glad to have her around especially when you look at some of the other options. I don't understand keeping McKendry and dumping Cohn.

I want to see these live Sportscenters anchored by Larry Beil, Charley Steiner, Craig Kilborn, and Kenny Mayne.

Anonymous said...
Jul 10, 2008, 9:35:00 AM  

I don't quite understand why the 9am-3pm window has the 'biggest impact' on fans, who, presumably, are off at work and not around to watch. Clearly it will have an impact on the jobless, who are home doing nothing but watching TV. But these people are probably not a 'dream demographic' for advertisers. So there must be something 'obviously' wrong with my analysis...I just can't figure out what.

Chris said...
Jul 10, 2008, 9:42:00 AM  

I'm still wondering what the point of the continuing existence of "First Take" will be once the mothership is doing live programming.

Anonymous said...
Jul 10, 2008, 9:47:00 AM  

As for Linda, I'm not worried at all for her. They'll find a spot for quickly enough. (McKendry needs to be replaced on some of the 6 pm shows, right? And certainly she would be a better choice to fill-in for Hannah on Fridays than Sage Steele.)

Anonymous said...
Jul 10, 2008, 10:18:00 AM  

Hannah Storm and Josh Elliott?
What an odd pairing!

Anonymous said...
Jul 10, 2008, 10:54:00 AM  

They had to take Kinda off the air so she could get in shape for The Breeder's Cup.

GMoney said...
Jul 10, 2008, 10:55:00 AM  

Chris @ 9:42,

That's a good point. Unless they're appealing to hungover college kids, the unemployed, toddlers, and stay-at-home moms, that's an odd window for the network's "biggest impact on fans."

Anonymous said...
Jul 10, 2008, 11:03:00 AM  

The less I have to see of Linda the better. It always sounds like the read a book titled, "how to talk like guy 101" or something along those lines. Like she's just saying what she thinks is the appropriate cliche.
Now Cindy Brunson on the other hand; she can stay on my t.v. 24 hours a day and I'd be a happy man.

Anonymous said...
Jul 10, 2008, 11:13:00 AM  

The head honchos at ESPN must've gotten an advanced copy of Cohn's upcoming book. I am in favor for anything that gets us less Steve Perfume.

Jul 10, 2008, 11:16:00 AM  

Less Linda Cohn? Oh happy day!!! Next on the list: Stuart Scott.

More Cindy Brunson is always a good thing. And don't sleep on Reischea Cadidate either

Anonymous said...
Jul 10, 2008, 12:27:00 PM  

Cindy Brunson = Poor, Blind Man's Toni Braxton - Breasts

More Sage Steele (when she figures out which Wahlberg she's talking to) and more Amy Nelson, but no more Cindy Brunson.

Anonymous said...
Jul 10, 2008, 12:32:00 PM  

Linda's book did mention how she seriously thought she was going to be fired because of the lack of communication between her and the network for months.

Linda never bothered me. The guys like Barth-uame, Neil Everett, Stuart Scott, and Berman just make my skin crawl. She was not the best but she seemed truly real in her work.

Anonymous said...
Jul 10, 2008, 12:39:00 PM  

Hey, at least we're not forced to see Dari Nowkah. Talk about grating! Geesh!

Anonymous said...
Jul 10, 2008, 1:22:00 PM  

Ughhh...Stuart Scott. Every time I see him, I think, 'Title IX.'

Chris said...
Jul 10, 2008, 1:36:00 PM  

Ughhh...Stuart Scott. Every time I see him, I think, 'Title IX.'

Stuart Scott is a chick?

Anonymous said...
Jul 10, 2008, 2:05:00 PM  

Dari Nowkhah >>> Ani-sh Sh-roff

...but that's not saying much.

Jul 10, 2008, 2:12:00 PM  

Well Cohen already does WNBA Games ..... like that matters or anything though

Anonymous said...
Jul 10, 2008, 2:31:00 PM  

I think several things when I see Stu Scott, but Title IX sure isn't one of them.

Anonymous said...
Jul 10, 2008, 4:14:00 PM  

Reischea Cadidate can't read a teleprompter and she's pretty annoying, but mostly I don't mind her doing ESPNEWS :D

Cindy Brunson is alright.

Eric said...
Jul 10, 2008, 4:15:00 PM  


Anonymous said...
Jul 10, 2008, 6:28:00 PM  

ESPN guy said that 9am-3pm will have "the biggest impact on fans ACROSS OUR PLATFORM"...

I take that "platform" reference to mean that they might stream the live mid-day SportsCenters on, and will definitely use clips from those live shows on all day. So, that big impact will be on people looking at on their computers at work.

Anonymous said...
Jul 11, 2008, 2:37:00 AM  

Cindy Brunson Berthaiume is awful The less the better. Reicha was 3rd string sportscaster in NY and bad on the local news. Thank god we don't have ESPN news.

This live idea is idiotic.So are most things at ESPN. I hope Tony Kornheiser is back. That guy is so good. So is Pam Ward.

Anonymous said...
Jul 11, 2008, 8:59:00 PM  

I have given the news of the elimination of the early morning block some thought. Based on an interpretation of the press release and my sense of how things work at ESPN, here is what I think is happening:
*ESPN thinks that the mid-morning and afternoon time slots are more valuable than those in the early morning. Remember that the PR mentions the new magic word "platforms," and from 9am-3pm Eastern time, many people - even in this bad economy - are still working and using their computers. Their hope is that they use the .com at work, and advertising to these new SportsCenters may well be sold on that basis.
*ESPN may be trying to save Mike and Mike in the Morning and ESPN First Take on ESPN2. Since the new SportsCenters were announced, there has been some speculation about the fate of these shows. Remember also that Linda Cohn's duties have yet to be assigned. Maybe she'll read the SportsCenter updates on First Take. Maybe she'll even replace Dana Jacobson as co-host.

That being said, the explanation given by the network is flimsy. Take the shows like Today, Good Morning America, and Fox and Friends. How much of their shows are mere recaps of the past news? A lot, unless there is a presidential visit or a major terror attack overseas. Oh, by the way, there can be some equivalents in sports. Look at the All-Star Game that just happened. It ended at 1:40 a.m. ET this morning. What if you weren't up for the final out? Then the Cohn-Berthiaume SC would be a godsend. Same for the upcoming Olympic Games. Due to the 12-to-15-hour time difference to Beijing, a live SC from 6-9 a.m. ET would have access to a lot of results and can even squeeze in a phone report or two (since that's all ESPN can legally do during the Games).

The "Bottom Line" here: ESPN made this move out of greed and profit.

Too bad.:(

Anonymous said...
Jul 16, 2008, 11:47:00 AM  

Amy Nelson makes me want to shoot a toddler in the face.......and I like kids.

Anonymous said...
Aug 7, 2008, 5:50:00 PM  

Hey Geniuses,

Not everyone works first shift. There is a thing called second and third shift too. Some people are also retired.

Before posting, think first.

If you are going online at work on company time, IMO you should be fired.


I hope this does get rid of First Take. It has no value and IMO, no talent. Dana should have been fired a long time ago. Long before the Mike and Mike Roast. After the Mike and Mike Roast, her firing should have been a forgone conclusion.

Anonymous said...
Sep 3, 2008, 9:04:00 AM  

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