Since Washington Post Live went off the air for good near the end of 2011, a fair number of people have asked me what would replace it in Comcast SportsNet’s weekly lineup. The answer becomes public on Monday, with the announcement of a new show hosted by Brian Mitchell and former WPL host Ivan Carter.
The live half-hour “sports talk and entertainment” program, called SportsTalk Live, will resemble NBC Sports Network’s NBC SportsTalk, hosted by former WPL host Russ Thaler. (NBC Sports Network is the station formerly known as Versus, if you’ve been out of the country for a bit.)
SportsTalk Live — which will air live at 10:30 p.m. and on replay two hours later — will borrow branding, logos, graphics and music from the national program, part of the continued effort to create a national brand out of the NBC and Comcast merger.
And while the former WPL relied on guests from The Post, the CSN newsroom and the D.C. sports media community at large, the new program will use talent “from across all of NBC Sports Group’s properties,” according to a release.
“It opens up a lot of possibilities and a lot of opportunities, and who knows where it could go in the future,” Carter told me this week. “ESPN is the big dog, but I think people are yearning for an alternative, and there might be an opportunity for NBC in the future. The big thing is I feel good about the way they’re going about it. There’s a lot of thought that went into this, and I feel comfortable with how the transition is going down. Change can be good, and I think this concept works.”
Mitchell, of course, was a frequent guest on WPL, and is an analyst on the pre- and post-game CSN Redskins shows. He also has hosted radio programs on ESPN 980 and 106.7 The Fan, and an Internet show called B-Mitch Live. In the SportsTalk Live format, Carter won’t be serving up questions and issues to Mitchell; the two will be co-hosts and co-analysts and no doubt co-antagonists.
“I think there’s a natural banter he and I have,” Carter said. “It may take a little while to find out how we’re going to play off each other, but we’ve done WPL enough together that I have an idea of how it’ll work. And it’s not like I’m shy; I certainly won’t be afraid to disagree with Brian Mitchell. Yeah, he has a strong personality, but I don’t have a problem being opinionated myself.”
The show will debut on January 23; the producer has not been named, but several members of the WPL production staff will be changed. If you haven’t noticed, the CSNWashington.com site now has CapitalsTalk, RedskinsTalk, RavensTalk, WizardsTalk and NationalsTalk pages, continuing the Pro Football Talk branding from NBCSports.com.
Meanwhile, if anyone really misses seeing Washington Post reporters talk about sports, don’t forget about Post Sports Live, the weekly Web show featuring LaVar Arrington, Jonathan Forsythe, some idiot blogger and a rotating cast of Post reporters.