ESPN announced the network is ramping up its weekday lineup starting Monday, May 11, with 11 hours of live and unique studio programming from 8am – 7pm ET. Some shows will continue to be produced remotely, but it’s the first time ESPN’s lineup will feature this much studio content since the COVID-19 pandemic forced stay-at-home measures in March.
ESPN’s new weekday lineup:
8am – Get Up
10am – First Take
12pm – SportsCenter
2pm – NFL Live
3pm – The Jump
3:30pm – First Take Extra
4pm – Jalen and Jacoby
4:20pm – Highly Questionable
4:40pm – Around the Horn
5pm – SportsCenter (Includes Pardon The Interruption)
“We are thrilled that sports fans will again be able to watch these popular weekday shows on ESPN,” Ilan Ben-Hanan, SVP, programming and acquisitions said in the press release. “Working closely with our colleagues on innovative new production approaches, we are proud to showcase 11 consecutive hours of new compelling content daily.”
The lineup changes mostly occur between 3:30 and 5pm, which currently offers rebroadcasts of NFL Live and The Jump. Beginning May 11, at 3:30pm, First Take Extra will highlight their morning show with the best debates from Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman. From 4 – 5pm, ESPN will uncharacteristically air three shows in one hour, offering 20-minute versions of Jalen & Jacoby, Highly Questionable and Around the Horn. PTI will also continue to be featured during the 5pm edition of SportsCenter. Scott Van Pelt’s 11pm edition of SportsCenter brings ESPN’s daily offering of original programming to 12 hours.
Live sports still won’t be back May 11, but it’s good to see some familiar programming get back to creating content.
ESPN’s Jesse Palmer Is New Bachelor Host
“With a January start, it is likely that Jesse Palmer will be able to finish college football’s regular season on ESPN without conflict.”
Jesse Palmer came from Toronto to play quarterback for Steve Spurrier at the University of Florida in 1997. Four years later, the New York Giants selected him in the fourth round of the NFL Draft.
If you aren’t a college football fan or a New York Giants diehard, chances are the first time you heard his name was when he was the titular focus of The Bachelor during the ABC reality show’s fifth season. Seventeen years after being the focus of the show, the ESPN college football analyst is returning to the series as its host.
Season 26 of The Bachelor debuts in January, and The Hollywood Reporter writes that Jesse Palmer will take over as the new host. The job became available earlier this summer when Chris Harrison exited the role after 20 years.
With a January start, it is likely that Jesse Palmer will be able to finish college football’s regular season on ESPN without conflict. Bowl season could be a different story depending on when The Bachelor starts filming. He signed a contract extension at ESPN earlier this year.
“For more than 20 years, The Bachelor has brought the world dozens of unforgettable love stories, including at one time, my own,” Palmer said in a statement. “Falling in love is one of life’s greatest gifts, and I am humbled by the opportunity to return to the show as host this season to offer the newest Bachelor advice gained from firsthand experience and I am grateful to play a small part in his journey.”
A fun fact about Palmer’s time on The Bachelor is that it almost never happened. The show’s producers wanted Chris Simms, who was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the time. The NBC NFL analyst told Dan Patrick that he passed because he was worried he would be cut.
Jesse Palmer has been with ESPN since 2007. He has filled multiple roles on the network’s college football coverage. He and Brent Musberger were the original primetime broadcast team for the SEC Network. Currently, Palmer is an analyst on College Football Final alongside host Matt Barrie and Joey Galloway.
Manningcast Audience Grows For Second Consecutive Week
“More than 1.9 million people tuned into watch Peyton, Eli and their guests talk football, analyze the game and shoot America the double birds.”
Peyton and Eli Manning have a dedicated audience on Monday Night Football and it has gotten a little bigger each week. Count week 3 as no different. The Manningcast pulled in its largest audience to date in the Cowboys’ 41-21 route of the Philadelphia Eagles.
More than 1.9 million people tuned into watch Peyton, Eli and their guests talk football, analyze the game and shoot America the double birds. That is up from 1.86 million viewers in Week 2. That makes these last two editions of the Manningcast the two most-watched alternate broadcasts in ESPN history.
The traditional broadcast of Monday Night Football on ESPN drew 14.9 million viewers. That represent’s year-over-year growth of 1% from 2020 and 3% from 2019. It was the most watched program on TV “among households, viewers, and all keys demos” according to an ESPN press release.
The Manningcast now takes a break. Peyton and Eli will be off for three weeks. They will return for games in Weeks 7 and 8.
FOX Draws Week 3’s Biggest NFL Audience
“More than 22.6 million viewers tuned into the network for the late window.”
Usually, NBC’s Sunday Night Football dominates the NFL ratings and dwarfs all other games on the schedule. That wasn’t the case this week. America’s Game of the Week in the late window on FOX topped NBC.
More than 22.6 million viewers tuned into the network for the late window. It was headlined by the Rams’ 34-24 win over the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. By comparison, Sunday Night Football drew 20.2 million viewers on NBC.
The news isn’t bad necessarily for NBC. Would the network liked to have topped FOX? Of course, but executives are still celebrating the performance of Green Bay’s last second victory over San Francisco. It gave Sunday Night Football an audience of more than 20 million for the third consecutive week. It is the first time since 2016 that NBC can say that.
The trend is likely to continue in Week 4. No regular season game has ever seen the kind of hype that Tom Brady’s return to New England is receiving right now. Plenty have predicted it could be the highest rated regular season game in NFL history.
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