Perhaps it was the wildy popular John Clayton TV commercial, or the fact that Adam Schefter has more than 2.2 million followers on Twitter, but ESPN has decided to give its NFL information gurus their own show.
ESPN will announce today that NFL Insiders will make its debut on Aug. 5. The one-hour daily show will be hosted by Suzy Kolber.
Schefter and Chris Mortensen will be the main players with aid from Clayton, Ed Werder, Bill Polian, and other contributors such as former GMs Phil Savage and Billy Devaney.
It won’t feature former players or coaches.
“We have one rule: If you played in the league, you’re not going to be on the show,” said producer Seth Markman.
Indeed, ESPN figures there are plenty of Xs and Os shows on the various networks. It wants a program strictly dedicated to information about the NFL. Who is doing what and why?
“I think the time has come for this kind of show,” Markman said. “It’s going to be different from anything else currently on TV. The thirst for information about the NFL is at an all-time high. If I walk down the street with Adam or Mort, people come up to them all the time. They ask, ‘Where is this free agent going? Who is this team going to draft?’
“It balances our schedule to have a show like this. I think the audience will be there.”
Markman said ESPN’s NFL insiders won’t sit on scoops so they can break them on the show. They still will be posted and tweeted immediately. However, he said he doesn’t expect them to stop reporting while the show is being aired.
“These guys never stop working,” Markman said. “A great scenario for us would be if they could break stories during the show. They could hold up their iPhones and say, ‘I just got this.’”
Here’s the official release from ESPN.
ESPN will debut NFL Insiders, a new one-hour weekday pro football-themed show, in time for the 2013 season. The year-round program will focus on the biggest NFL news stories and information each day, including front office decisions, coaching moves, trades, free agency, the NFL Draft, and more.
NFL Insiders will examine the league from the perspectives of people who make decisions and from those who are first to report the news. Scheduled to debut Monday, Aug. 5 – the day after the Pro Football Hall of Fame game – the new show will replace NFL32.
Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter, two of the most respected reporters in the NFL, will be featured prominently on NFL Insiders and will have an even greater platform for breaking league news. Fans will also gain an inside look into how teams operate from six-time NFL Executive of the Year Bill Polian, who has more than a quarter century of front office experience. Veteran host/anchor Suzy Kolber will host the show from ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., headquarters.
“There is nothing more stimulating for a reporter than when you know you’re about to tell somebody something they haven’t heard until that very moment,” said Mortensen. “This is the essence of what Adam and I and this great team of contributors will bring each day to NFL Insiders, and we’re excited to get started.”
ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton and NFL insider Ed Werder will also have key roles, along with NFL Draft experts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, who will appear regularly in the offseason during the lead-up to the NFL Draft.
“Whether it’s in season or out of season, fans crave NFL news and that’s exactly what NFL Insiders will have every day with a smart presentation and some of the most connected people in the league,” said Seth Markman, senior coordinating producer, who oversees ESPN’s NFL studio shows.
In addition to ESPN’s popular television personalities, the daily four-person NFL Insiders panel will draw from a roster of accomplished journalists, former front office executives and other league experts as regular contributors, including:
- Former Cleveland Browns general manager Phil Savage;
- Former St. Louis Rams general manager Billy Devaney;
- USA Today Sports NFL columnist Jarrett Bell;
- Sirius/XM radio host Adam Caplan;
- ESPN.com senior NFL writer Ashley Fox;
- ESPN.com NFC East blogger Dan Graziano; and
- ESPN Insider and ESPN Boston writer Field Yates.
NFL Insiders is the newest addition to ESPN’s comprehensive year-round NFL programming lineup. Other popular NFL-branded studio shows include Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown, NFL Live, NFL PrimeTime, NFL Kickoff, NFL Matchup and Mike and Mike’s Best of the NFL. ESPN is also home to sports television’s longest running series Monday Night Football, entering its 44thseason this fall.