CBS Sports Network to Bow Women's Sports Talker

CBS Sports will break down another gender barrier in the sports world next month when it premieres the first nationally televised genre talk show featuring all women.

We Need To Talk will debut in primetime Sept. 30 on CBS Sports Network at 10 p.m. Taking on key topics from the sports realm, including distaff issues, the program will feature a rotating crew, involving such CBS Sports personalities as Lesley Visser (pictured), Amy Trask, Tracy Wolfson, Dana Jacobson and Allie LaForce.

CBS This Morning’s Norah O’Donnell and Gayle King will appear as guests. Additionally,  NFL Network’s Andrea Kremer, boxer Laila Ali (daughter of Muhammad Ali), former WNBA legend Lisa Leslie and current player Swin Cash, Olympic medalist Dara Torres, veteran sports reporter Summer Sanders and former tennis player and vice president of the United States Tennis Association Katrina Adams will be in the mix.

It will be led by Emmy Award-winning coordinating producers Emilie Deutsch and Suzanne Smith, the only woman currently producing or directing NFL games. Amy Salmanson and Julie Keryc will produce with Smith directing. The show will be filmed at CBS's studio facilities on 57th Street in Manhattan.

“CBS is very proud to be launching the first ever all female sports talk show. This is something that’s been long overdue in our industry,” said CBS Sports president David Berson, noting that the programmer has many women in its executive ranks, as well as many working in front of and behind the camera in production.

Berson said the move has generated widespread enthusiasm: “There is a real excitement here at CBS and there has been a tremendous reaction throughout the industry."

The show had been talked about internally for a well over a year, with the development pace quickening over the past few months. “It didn’t take long before our talent and crew wanted to get on board and move full speed ahead,” he said.

“This is nothing less than a cultural pivot point,” said Visser. “There are many shows have a woman on, but not one that has a table filled with women. When I started covering sports in 1974, the credentials often said, ‘No Women or Children in the Press Box.’ Forty years later we are accepted as members of the media, assistant coaches (Becky Hammon with the San Antonio Spurs) college officials and executives.  We have learned to love sports the same way boys and men do - not all of them played the game either. I'm proud to play for CBS.”

Added Smith: “With so many women already working in prominent roles across CBS Sports, it’s a privilege to be a part of this unique project, bringing all their talents and experiences together under one show. We have an opportunity here to have some of the most knowledgeable and passionate people in our business talk sports, offer opinions and have some fun.”

We Need to Talk will be topic-driven, with the discussions centering on what’s bubbling up that week. “We’ll address women’s sports issues as their pertinent, but this show will be for all sports fans, not just women,” Berson said.

Asked if the show could expand its frequency, Berson said: “We Need to Talk is starting during football season and leading out of the highly acclaimed Inside College Football. We’ll see how the schedule works out from there.”

Will this start a new talk show trend? “Perhaps others will follow suit. I hope so,” he said.