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Katie Nolan to debut talk show on Fox Sports 1

Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao’s fight on May 2 may be the start of boxing’s comeback in the MMA era.ed crisostomo/orange county register/ap

Ask Katie Nolan if there are elements she won’t take with her from her previous television program to her brand-new one, and her amusing answer arrives with barely a pause.

“Well, I don’t think I’ll have Manny Pacquiao in to have a pillow fight with Miss USA,’’ deadpans Nolan, a Framingham native, loyal Boston sports fan, and rising star at Fox Sports 1. “That probably won’t be a thing I ask of myself. I probably won’t do that.”

Nolan, the breakout star from the network’s short-lived Regis Philbin-helmed “Crowd Goes Wild,” is making a droll reference to a bit from the program that . . . well, that serves as circumstantial evidence of why it was canceled last April.


There will be no Pacquiao-Erin Brady pillow fight rematch on Nolan’s watch. That’s certainly encouraging programming news as Nolan embarks on further carving out her television niche.

Her program, titled “Garbage Time with Katie Nolan,” is a meld of sports, pop culture, and comedy. It will feature a monologue and guests in the style of a late-night talk show, but it will also feature comedy and longer-form segments, sort of a sports-centric descendent of the Jon Stewart-helmed “The Daily Show.” It premieres Sunday night at 9:30.

“The preparation has been a whirlwind of a lot of different emotions,’’ said Nolan, whose two-year ascent from a content-provider at the dude-bro site Guyism to a personality reportedly coveted by Bill Simmons’s Grantland has been a whirlwind in itself.

“One minute I’ll be like, ‘This is so exciting, I’m so excited!’ And five minutes later [what] we’re depending on falls through and I’m like, ‘Oh, no, this is awful, now I’m panicking!’ But I think that’s normal. If you go into a show blindly confident even when you’re taking so many risks, you’re setting yourself up to fail.”


Nolan gained acclaim for her acerbic and hilarious spot-on takedowns of such media figures as Peter King and Rick Reilly. But she has also proven a pointed and poignant commentator on matters that are anything but humorous, such as the Ray Rice domestic violence incident.

She seems to have what it takes to carry her own show. But she also recognizes that the genre — that sports-comedy combo in a half-hour format — is not one that has had a lot of success on television.

“We have to know, going into this, that a show being broadcast from a room the size of most people’s closets, trying to mix comedy and sports, which history has proven is a little difficult to traverse, we have to go into this knowing it’s going to be tough,’’ she said. “But knowing that, I think the underdog mentality will work for us.

“You see shows that were great and should have worked, like Norm MacDonald’s sports show (which lasted for three months on Comedy Central in 2011), for one example. It should work. Sports fans are very receptive to humor.”

But there are exceptions to what sports fans will chuckle about.

“One thing I’ve found . . . is that people are very protective of their teams,’’ she said. “They love to laugh at a sports joke, but they’re not going to laugh at a Colts joke if they’re a Colts fan.”

Or a Deflategate joke if you’re a Patriots fan, she is reminded.


“Well, that’s because all of those are lame,’’ said Nolan, who does not mask her rooting interests. “Every fan base is like that though. They’re like, ‘You don’t make fun of our team, you don’t make fun of this.’ I hear it all the time. ‘You’re a Pats fan. You’re biased.’

“In political humor, the reason that works is you’re playing to one side or you’re playing to the other. You pick one, and you go for it. But if I did a whole show about Boston sports, you’re losing the majority of the market. It’s not split in half, it’s split into like 25 different sectors. People should just get over it and be in on the joke. Unless it’s a Deflategate joke. Those are awful.”

Boxing revival?

If you’re a sports fan of a certain age, there’s a decent possibility that you have fond memories of watching boxing on television in your younger days.

The problem for the sport is that the certain age is approximately 40 years old and up.

Boxing isn’t dying — according to ESPN’s Dan Rafael, the cheapest ticket for the long-anticipated Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao bout on May 2 is $1,500 — but it has been gasping for air in its corner between rounds.

No matter the rules and venue, there will always be an audience when two people publicly attempt to pummel each other unconscious. But in recent years, the outlet for that has been mixed martial arts. Standing toe to toe, boxing often has looked like the aging uncle trying with great desperation and little luck to look cool.


But perhaps there is revival in the making even beyond the once-in-a-generation mega-fight like Mayweather-Pacquiao. It would be going too far to suggest NBC is banking on a boxing revival, but it is certainly committing talent and resources to its new Premier Boxing Champions programming, which debuted Saturday night. The program, titled “PBC on NBC,” was hosted by the venerable Al Michaels, whose boxing credentials include calling the iconic Marvin Hagler-Thomas Hearns fight in April 1985.

And the early returns from Nielsen were promising. The broadcast, NBC’s first major prime-time boxing broadcast since 1985, averaged 3.4 million viewers in the 8:30-11 p.m. window. Not that there has been much boxing on network television in recent years, but it was the most-watched professional boxing telecast since Oscar De La Hoya’s Fight Night drew 5.9 million viewers on Fox in March 1998. It’s much too early to forecast any network television revival for the sport, of course. But like “PBC on NBC,” at the very least it bears watching.

Chad Finn can be reached at finn@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeChadFinn.