Looking to establish an evening destination for sports information and analysis, the NBC Sports Group will continue its revamp of Versus by launching a new weeknight block of live studio shows next month.
The NBC SportsTalk block, in the 6 p.m. hour, centers on the NBCSports.com digital franchise that includes ProFootballTalk, HardballTalk, ProBasketballTalk, ProHockeyTalk, CollegeFootballTalk, InsidetheIrish and ProGolfTalk.
The live block of shows, kicking off Sept. 8, will focus on the sports world's most relevant topics each night and will feature NBC Sports Group talent, who will not only report on sports news, but break down the significance of that news for viewers. Mondays (ProFootballTalk with Mike Florio) and Fridays at 6 p.m. (ET) will be devoted to football, while the rest of the shows during the week will focus on the most topical sports stories. Starting on Oct. 10, Mondays will feature NHL Live at 6:30 p.m., which will serve as a lead-in to the network's hockey coverage.
In addition to the new 6 p.m. shows, Versus, which will be re-branded the NBC Sports Network on Jan. 2, will also launch a sports-business show with CNBC's Darren Rovell, entitled CNBC Sports Biz: Game On, on Fridays at 7 p.m.
"NBC SportsTalk is the type of nightly, relevant programming that viewers can expect to see as we continue the re-branding process from Versus to the NBC Sports Network," said Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and Versus "The live nightly shows also give us the opportunity to tap into our stable of top talent across all of our platforms to provide a unique perspective for sports fans."
NBC SportsTalk will be hosted by former Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic anchor Russ Thaler. He will be joined by talent from across all NBC Sports Group platforms, including Peter King of Sports Illustrated and Football Night in America and ProFootballTalk's Florio on NBCSports.com for the special NFL-themed show on Friday nights.
Versus will begin its weeknight studio block Sept. 8, leading into NBC's NFL Kickoff coverage, a showcase for the first NFL game of the season between the New Orleans Saints and defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.
Rovell's sports business show on Friday nights will focus on the $200 billion business of professional sports, including ownership, labor, media, sponsorship, marketing, merchandise, facilities and executives. The 30-minute show will feature segments such as: "Power Player," where Rovell interviews sports business newsmakers; "The Scoreboard," in which he and his sideline reporter, Erin Sharoni, review the sports business winners and losers of the week; and "Heavy Hitters," in which insiders to break down how one aspect of the business works.
New Versus Original Programming This Fall:
Monday 5-6 p.m. College Football Talk hosted by Liam McHugh with Ross Tucker and Roland Williams;
Monday 6-7 p.m. NBC SportsTalk /ProFootballTalk with Mike Florio (6-6:30 p.m., beginning October 10);
Monday 6:30-7 p.m. NHL Live, beginning October 10;
Tuesday 6-7 p.m. NBC SportsTalk, hosted by Russ Thaler;
Wednesday 6-7 p.m. NBC SportsTalk, hosted by Russ Thaler;
Thursday 6-7 p.m. NBC SportsTalk, hosted by Russ Thaler;
Thursday 10-11 p.m. NFL Turning Point;
Friday 6-7 p.m. NBC SportsTalk hosted by Russ Thaler with Mike Florio and Peter King; and
Friday 7-7:30 p.m. CNBC Sports Biz: Game On hosted by Darren Rovell