Golf Channel is putting a lot more into its key morning show.
On Feb. 4, the network will re-launch Morning Drive with a new format that will air seven days a week, and feature a new format, new co-hosts and multiple sets in state-of-the-art studio.
Expanding from weekdays to also include regular weekend coverage, Morning Drive will continue to set the table for what’s new each day in the world of professional golf, while expanding its scope to cover the golfing lifestyle, including instruction, what to play and where to play. Golf Channel experts and show guests will cover such topics as trends in golf equipment, the hottest travel destinations for golf and the latest fashions turning heads on the course.
Morning Drive’s daily polls and interaction with the show’s loyal audience will be conducted through social media, as well as themed weeks explore different aspects of the game.
Current Morning Drive co-hosts Gary Williams, Damon Hack and Holly Sonders will be joined by Golf Channel analyst Charlie Rymer to form the on-air “foursome” typically covering Thursdays through Mondays. Rymer will continue to work as an analyst for Golf Central.
Longtime Golf Channel anchor Kelly Tilghman will be a central figure mid-week on Morning Drive, typically on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Tilghman will continue to be an anchor for Golf Central and a central figure of Golf Channel’s Live From coverage of the biggest events in golf. Matt Ginella comes to Morning Drive after 11 years as the travel editor for Golf Digest magazine, while Lauren Thompson, who has been a regular contributor to the show, will have a permanent role, providing news updates and reports for midweek shows.
Golf World’s Tim Rosaforte will continue to appear weekly on the show, while analyst Brandel Chamblee will regularly set up that day’s tournament action on weekends. Golf Channel on NBC’s Jimmy Roberts will be a frequent contributor in support of his new series, In Play with Jimmy Roberts.
Others who will serve in regular contributing and guest hosting roles include Ahmad Rashad, John Cook and Annika Sorenstam.
Morning Drive is moving into a new, state-of-the-art studio for the re-launch. The studio features four dedicated sets: a main anchor desk, an interview area, a product demonstration area and a news update desk. The new home is nearly four times larger than the show’s original studio.
“If you love golf, Morning Drive has become the way to start your day,” said Mike McCarley, president of Golf Channel, in a statement. “In just two years, the show has become weekday appointment viewing for those who share a passion for the game and on the few weekends when Morning Drive has aired, Golf Channel has seen a three-fold increase in ratings. This move to seven days a week, with a new set and new additions to the cast, will allow us to engage in a broader range of topics covering all aspects of the game and give viewers a reason to wake up with Morning Drive every day of the week.”