Comcast SportsNet New England’s blueprint for altering its approach to daily programming began revealing itself in December when the regional cable network laid off respected mainstays Sean McAdam and Bob Neumeier. That decision, as reported in this space at the time, signaled a pending shift to more talking-head-based content at some expense to news and highlights.
Thursday, CSN revealed what its new blueprint will yield.
That new talking-head-based program is positioned before its April 3 debut to become the most prominent in CSN’s lineup. Titled Boston Sports Tonight, it will be hosted by Tom Curran and Tom Giles, along with Michael Holley and Kayce Smith, who will join CSN next month. (Holley will remain in his day job as an afternoon drive host on WEEI.) The program will air at 9 p.m. to midnight every weeknight, and is touted by the network as “a cross-section of opinion, information, and fun.”
The show, per CSN, is designed to capture real-time reactions to what is happening on the Boston sports scene on a given night, which will include social-media interaction and contributions from guests. The four hosts will check in from various locations around the CSN offices, getting input from other CSN staffers and guests.
It wouldn’t be fair to judge it without watching the actual program for a few weeks as it finds its tone and rhythm, but as far as talking-head programming goes, it seems promising. The unconventional approach may take some ironing out, but Curran is probably CSN’s most appealing on-air personality, not to mention a voice of reason in the usual sea of hot takes, and Holley and Giles both do good work. Smith, an SB Nation Radio host who has also worked at ESPN and its SEC Network, arrives with positive reviews.
With the launch of Boston Sports Tonight, CSN will also expand its current Early Edition program to two hours (6-8 p.m.) on weeknights. Gary Tanguay, Trenni Kusnierek, and Michael Felger will host, with Felger joining the show in studio each night following the end of his afternoon drive program on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
CSN said in a press release that SportsNet Central, its flagship news and highlights program since 2009, will remain as its “news brand and will live throughout the day across all CSN programming.” But that essentially means that updates will be provided in its other programs, but it will no longer be a stand-alone program. It’s hard to view it as anything but a casualty of the network’s change in approach.
Ryan begins podcast
My desk in the Globe office is adjacent to Bob Ryan’s, so I’m fortunate to get in essence a personal podcast from him on the occasions that we’re in the building at the same time. But for those who don’t get to hear his various radio interviews or “Around The Horn” conference calls from a desk away — let alone the opportunity to pester him with old-school NBA questions, a favorite pastime of mine — you’re about to get the next-best thing, audio-wise.
He is launching a podcast, titled Bob Ryan’s Boston Podcast, which debuts this week. The core content of the podcast, which will run in the range of 45 minutes, is a conversation with a legendary Boston sports personality. (He recently recorded a test podcast with Bob Cousy.) It will be recorded most every Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Stars on Hingham Harbor and be available on all popular podcast directories, including iTunes, on Fridays at noon. The public is invited to attend the recordings.