A few months ago, HBO enraged devoted viewers by dropping the venerable Inside the NFL sports show. The pay-per-view network felt that, though the 31-year-old series was innovative in its time, the television landscape had changed and it had become obsolete. There was some talk that another outlet might pick up Inside and that has now come true.
Showtime has announced that they’ve made a deal for the football series to move to its Wednesday night schedule this fall. They’re partnering with both CBS Sports and the NFL to produce the program.
Matthew Blank, CEO of Showtime Networks, said, “We’re thrilled to be joining the successful partnership of CBS Sports and the NFL in presenting the show to our subscribers. It’s a perfect fit with our original scripted series and sports programming.”
Regular viewers of Inside the NFL may be surprised to find that there will be some new faces on the broadcast for this fall. The show’s talent list won’t be announced until next month, but at least a few of last season’s contributors won’t be returning. Actually, most of the series’ on-air reporters are expected to be pulled from the CBS Sports talent pool. Names being tossed around include James Brown, Bill Cowher, Boomer Esiason, Dan Marino, Shannon Sharpe, and Phil Simms. Marino has co-hosted the program in the past.
Sportscasters like Bob Costas and Cris Collinsworth (who currently work for CBS competitor NBC Sports) aren’t likely to continue with the program. Both Showtime and the CBS network are owned by the CBS Corporation.
Inside the NFL is scheduled to kick off on Showtime on Wednesday, September 10th at 9pm. The series will then run throughout the NFL season and finish its 32nd season on February 11, 2009. Stay tuned!