The big press conference is taking place this afternoon in New York. Here’s what Fox Sports told the rest of the world about its new sports channel on FoxSports.com:
Today, FOX Sports Media Group (FSMG) makes television history, officially unveiling plans to launch a new, national, multi-sport network called FOX Sports 1. The announcement was made by FSMG Co-Presidents and COOs Randy Freer and Eric Shanks. Set to debut on Saturday, Aug. 17, just as FOX Sports kicks-off its 20th anniversary year, FS1 is available in over 90 million homes, making this the biggest sports cable network launch in history, and one of the largest network launches ever. At the outset, FS1 boasts nearly 5,000 hours of live event, news and original programming annually.
“Our ‘secret,’ admittedly a very poorly kept one, is now revealed,” said Shanks. “Fans are ready for an alternative to the establishment, and our goal for FS1 is to provide the best in-game experience possible, complemented by informative news, entertaining studio shows and provocative original programming.”
A robust schedule of live events forms the backbone of FOX Sports 1’s programming from Day 1, with college basketball, college football, NASCAR, soccer and UFC all on tap between launch and year’s end. In fact, the schedule on Aug. 17 features live events morning, noon and night including a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race from Michigan and “UFC on FS1 1” in prime time. In 2014, FSMG’s new rights agreement with MLB takes effect, bringing regular and postseason games to FS1.
Here are the programming highlights:
Fox Sports 1 version of SportsCenter: Hey, somebody should tell Fox Keith Olbermann is available. Yeah, probably not.
FS1 introduces FOX SPORTS LIVE, a 24/7 news franchise providing around-the-clock coverage through regularly scheduled programs, hourly updates and an information-rich ticker that provides a network agnostic sports event television schedule. Thousands of hours of news programming are expected annually from newly minted sets including a nightly program at 11:00 PM ET or immediately following events. A morning newscast is expected to launch in January 2014 in conjunction with FSMG’s expansive coverage of Super Bowl XLVIII.
“Building credibility and trust with our audience is paramount, so naturally we’ll provide the staples, like news, scores and highlights, but we’ll do it in a FOX Sports way,” offered Shanks. “Just as FOX NFL SUNDAY reinvented the pregame show, FOX SPORTS LIVE breaks new ground in the way sports news is presented. We already have the home-team advantage of significant audiences watching local games on our 22 regional sports networks as a platform to launch our new national news.”
Baseball: As expected, Fox Sports 1 will carry a healthy dose of live games.
Beginning in 2014, select League Championship Series and Division Series games; regular-season games over 26 Saturdays; live game-in-progress look-in show.
UFC: The growing sport figures to be a big part of the new endeavor.
Featured on Wednesday nights; live FIGHT NIGHTS through 2014, the first is scheduled for launch night, Saturday, Aug. 17; FOX event preliminary cards; UFC Tonight, the weekly authority for UFC news and information; 14 Saturday pay-per-view preliminary cards; hundreds of hours of library programs and events.
Regis and other studio shows: Novel approach using an 81-year-old to anchor a key show.
Complementing FS1’s live events and news coverage at launch are several original programs, highlighted by RUSH HOUR, hosted by Regis Philbin, airing live weekdays (5:00-6:00 PM ET). Originating in New York City, Regis leads the charge along with a panel of sports professionals, celebrity guests and die-hard fans in this brand new, unpredictable, talk show. Following RUSH HOUR live every day is FOX FOOTBALL DAILY (6:00-7:00 PM ET), an extension of FOX NFL SUNDAY, the most-watched NFL pregame show for 19 straight years. FOX FOOTBALL DAILY, hosted by NFL on FOX personalities, including Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Jay Glazer, Gus Johnson, Erin Andrews and Mike Pereira, provides a daily dose of news, interviews and commentary from pro and collegiate football worlds. Both shows are expected to premiere at launch in August.
Mike Tyson: Do we want to see him in anything besides those Hangover movies?
Earlier this year, FSMG unveiled a unique and groundbreaking documentary franchise titled BEING:, a deep look into today’s greatest athletes, teams and sports icons via unprecedented access. The first subject to appear this fall on FS1 is BEING: MIKE TYSON, the most feared man ever to step in a boxing ring. The multi-episode series is now in production.
And there’s more. Stay tuned.