The Back9Network kicks off today in 20 million homes on DirecTV. Obviously, the new network hopes to extend its reach, and that would include cutting a deal with Comcast, which owns the Golf Channel.
According to the advance PR, Back9Network will be more about the lifestyle and off-beat element of golf, and less about breaking down why the U.S. sucked again in the Ryder Cup.
From a release: “(The network will feature) nearly 1,100 hours of original programming in its first year, including 10 original primetime series, live morning, midday, and evening shows, as well as a variety of golf lifestyle programming covering travel, real estate, food, fashion, courses and equipment.”
Will there be an audience for two networks on golf? You would think Back9Network is facing a 925-yard, par 5, but there is a some serious money behind this endeavor, suggesting somebody knows something.
In case you were wondering what happened to Ahmad Rashad, here’s your answer: He’s on the Back9Network.
“The Ahmad Rashad Show: Golf lifestyle show about living the Back9 and all that it entails. Host Ahmad Rashad takes viewers behind the scenes and away from the glare of the spotlight as he hangs out with the biggest names in sports and entertainment.”
No surprise, an early guest will be his best buddy, Michael Jordan.
Here’s a rundown of some of the shows and personalities who will be featured on the network. Best wishes to my old pal, Jeff Rude, who never is at a loss for words.
BACK9NETWORK, the 24/7 golf lifestyle network, announced the addition to its talent roster of Shane Bacon, Erica Bachelor, Matty Blake, Caite Upton, Jeff Rude, John Maginnes, and Will Christien. The group of on-air personalities will headline the network’s studio shows as the network debuts on DIRECTV on September 29th. BACK9NETWORK, located on DIRECTV channel 262, will launch with nearly 1,100 hours of original programming in its first year including midday and evening studio shows entitled “The Turn,” “Off-Par” and “The Clubhouse.”
“While we will certainly pay attention to professional golf’s leaderboard, our coverage will focus on the lifestyle of the game where golf enthusiasts are spending their time and money — the courses and resorts they can play, the latest fashion, gadgets and equipment, and the behind-the-scenes stories that will highlight the personalities and characters that make golf so much fun,” said Scot Thor, Senior VP of Programming, BACK9NETWORK. “We’re dedicated to introducing lifestyle entertainment to the game of golf while respecting its values and traditions, and we’ve brought on some incredibly talented people to emphasize the depth, humility and humor in the game.”
BACK9NETWORK’S flagship hour of golf, pop culture, debate, and entertainment will be delivered on “The Turn,” which will premiere Monday, September 29th. Co-hosted by Shane Bacon and Erica Bachelor, “The Turn” will air on BACK9NETWORK daily at Noon and 7 PM Eastern.
Bacon, a veteran cbssports.com and Yahoo! Sports golf writer, and Bachelor, former E! Network host, will tackle the industry’s biggest topics by blending news, analysis and user-generated content with behind-the-scenes perspectives from the game’s most colorful icons and personalities.
“Golf is a universal sport that tends to stick with people as they grow older, and I can’t wait to join a group that remembers that first and foremost, golf should be fun,” said Bacon.
Co-hosted by acclaimed comedian and actor Matty Blake, and American model Caite Upton, “Off Par” is an inventive look at the world of golf and entertainment, with a comedic twist. Blake, Upton, and a rotating cast of characters will deliver free-flowing laughs in the form of viral internet videos, user-generated social media content, golf-themed skits, and guest appearances by other comedians. The program will air weeknights at 8PM Eastern.
“I’ve long said there’s a difference between loving the game of golf and taking it too seriously. BACK9NETWORK gets it,” said Blake. “I can’t wait to get started and share my thoughts on everything golf and pop-culture.”
Former PGA Tour pro John Maginnes, former Golfweek Senior Writer Jeff Rude, and women’s extreme sports championWill Christien will co-host “The Clubhouse” which will air on weeknights at 10 PM Eastern. The playful banter of Christien, Maginnes, and Rude will echo the conversations one would hear at the 19th hole. The trio’s no-holds-barred conversations will cover the latest happenings both on and off the course, as they incorporate questions and guidance from viewers at home, celebrities and the game’s professionals.
“John and Jeff come from the golf world, they’ve known each other for years and can literally finish each other’s sentences. I’m the new kid, but I definitely don’t feel that way, it’s such a fun dynamic.” said Christien. “Our show is a conversation; we talk about life, but use golf as a theme. It’s for you if you’ve played once and it’s for you if you play every day.”
In addition, BACK9NETWORK will utilize Charles Everett and Universo Pereira as network co-hosts. Everett is a veteran voice, theatre, and television actor, and Periera has both television and stage experience. Alexis Morgan (TV Personality/Reporter) and Katie Sundseth (TV Personality/Model) join the network as lifestyle correspondents. All will offer personalized, satirical, and at times brutally honest opinions on what’s trending in golf on “The Turn,” “Off Par” and “The Clubhouse.”