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The Boston Globe

Television

tv Review

‘Fox Sports Live’ struggles to make good on its game plan

For over 20 years, sports fans have turned to the same place for news and highlights nightly at 11 p.m.: ESPN’s “SportsCenter.” From the golden era of Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick forward, “SportsCenter” has been the gold standard of sports-roundup shows, even as its increasing emphasis on flashy graphics and faux spectacle has eroded a good deal of its watchability. The stage had been set for a genuine rival to the dominance of “SportsCenter.” Enter “Fox Sports Live,” the flagship show of the retooled Fox Sports 1, newly redesignated as a national channel.

If ESPN is the CNN of sports news, Fox Sports 1, which premiered in August, intends to be its Fox News — the brash, opinionated competitor that leaves its stodgy competitor in the dust. Visually, “Fox Sports Live” looks much like Fox News. The screen is framed by the ubiquitous breaking-news crawl at the bottom and a list of upcoming topics along its right edge. The framing makes the main event feel unnecessarily cramped, and the blue-yellow-red color scheme is garish. Fox has been successful before with this brutalist look; regardless of one’s political outlook, it can be safely agreed that Fox News is one of the more visually unappetizing channels on cable. “Fox Sports Live” is similarly unpleasant to look at, like a primary-color oil spill seeping in from the edges of the screen.

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