ESPN is canceling The Sports Reporters after nearly 30 years on the air.
The long-running sports talk show began in 1988 and was a forerunner of the flood of shows that run in most major cities featuring members of the media debating, discussing and bloviating the news and issues of the week. What set the show apart—outside of many egoists that floated as panelists—was two hosts that gave the show gravitas: Dick Schaap, who hosted from 1989 to 2001; and John Saunders, who hosted from 2001 until his death in 2016.
What it was:
For fans of a certain age (aging ones), The Sports Reporters was sorta like This Week with David Brinkley but for sports, only, somehow, with the latter show’s performative grown-up-edness turned up to 93, and with Mitch Albom’s brown football-helmet coif standing in for George Will’s bowtie as the indicator that no one who couldn’t remember Woodstock should bother taking it seriously. Its central premise was that what makes sports interesting is that sometimes Serious News Journalists Like Mike Lupica grace it with their attention. It was great fun, actually, if you watched it with the right frame of mind. Jason Whitlock was on it literally dozens of times.
Paved the way:
“The Sports Reporters” became the template for today’s popular sports-talk shows like “First Take,” “Pardon the Interruption” and “Around the Horn,” where media personalities often argue with one another about a sports topic. Despite ESPN’s ever-changing structure, the show survived nearly 30 years and remained one of the network’s only programs that focused on analysis rather than entertainment.
Replacing The Sports Reporters:
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) January 23, 2017
The best part:
Best thing about the "Sports Reporters" experience is I can say I worked with Dick Schaap and John Saunders, each 1st ballot Broadcast HofF.
— Bob Ryan (@GlobeBobRyan) January 23, 2017
What do you think? What is the best sports talk show on TV and why?