FSN to Drop National Sports Report

Cable viewers will lose another sports-news outlet as Fox Sports Net
announced Wednesday that it will eschew its National Sports Report
sports-news show in favor of twice-hourly mini-reports, as well as extended news
segments on its Best Damn Sports Show Period.

Rainbow Sports Networks' six regional networks will go one step further and
eliminate the networks' Regional Sports Report shows, according to
company executives.

Beginning Feb. 10, Fox Sports' 18 FSN-owned-and-affiliated regional services
will drop National Sports Report to air two-and-one-half-minute national
sports-news breaks twice per hour beginning at 6 p.m. -- at nine and 39 minutes
past the hour -- during non-live-event nights, FSN executives said.

In addition, the network will air four news breaks per hour during its
two-hour Best Damn Sports Show Period.

The irreverent but successful show airs at 7:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. when
regional sports networks are not offering live sports events, and in late-night
when live, primetime events are televised.

The move, first reported in Multichannel News last month, comes as
National Sports Report struggled to attract viewers amid the success of
Best Damn Sports Show Period and FSN's various Regional Sports
, which generate higher interest among viewers of its
regional-sports-network affiliates.

FSN vice president of affiliate relations Lou D'Ermilio said 62 percent of
FSN viewers would rather see national news presented in more 'bite-sized
snippets' than within a 30-minute show.

He added that the move will force the layoff of 15 to 20 of the more than 100
National Sports Report staffers.

While the six Rainbow owned-and-operated regional sports networks will adopt
the extended news segments, the services -- FSN New York, Bay Area, Chicago,
Florida, Ohio and New England -- will eliminate their respective Regional
Sports Reports

'The decision to cancel Regional Sports Report and Regional Sports
is by no means a reflection of the efforts of our excellent staff or
the quality of their work,' Rainbow Sports Networks president Andrea Greenberg
said in a prepared statement.

'We are operating in an environment that requires us to evaluate our
programming,' she added.

The moves come on the heels of AOL Time Warner Inc.'s decision to scrap its
CNN/SI national sports-news network.

"We're pleased that ESPN continues to be the No. 1 one
source for sports news," an ESPN spokeswoman said.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.