ESPN untucked

Justin Tuck

You can tell ESPN’s new SportsNation talk show, which debuts Monday at 4 p.m. on ESPN2, is going to be irreverent and off-the-cuff. Why? In a promo clip featuring hosts Colin Cowherd and Michelle Beadle, Cowherd wears a shirt that isn’t tucked in. Nothing says, “I’m going to speak my mind” like an untucked shirt.

The premise of the show is the content will be driven by what fans are talking about on ESPN.com’s SportsNation. “One of the goals of the show is to talk about things [buddies] would talk about,” Jamie Horowitz, the show’s producer. said during a conference call today.

Beadle said: “Your brain is never asleep on this show. … I don’t ever know what’s going to come out of Colin’s mouth, and I don’t think he does either.”

For his part, Cowherd said one of the things that makes Beadle a good partner for him is she “is not easily offended.”

We’ll see whether the audience feels the same.

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My one question during the conference call was about how the show would handle it if the buzz on the Web site was all about a highly specious list of 103 steroid users from baseball six years ago. Horowitz’s answer dealt partly with how the media are more interested in reporting on performance-enhancing drugs than fans are with hearing about the matter. I probably phrased my question poorly, but that wasn’t really the point.

What I wonder is how much the show will follow the dictates of what the “Nation” is showing interest in, regardless of how responsible or tasteful¬† it might be to pass along. Just because you and your pals want to talk about it while tossing back a few, that doesn’t make anything fair game for broadcast nationwide.

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During today’s College Football Live on ESPN, it was the state of Maryland’s turn in the spotlight. Early on, while giving an overview of the University of Maryland’s program, the network offered that the Terps have “been a model of consistency.”¬† You could make a better argument for UM having an up-and-down history, certainly when considering the past 20-some years. The Terps have had three losing seasons in their past five and posted two winning records from 1986 through 2000.

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