New Thing #319: FOX Sports Live

Fox_Sports_1Ever since it debuted in August I was interested in checking out the new FOX Sports channel, FOX Sports One, and its flagship show, FOX Sports Live. (I always write the network FOX with all capitals, and I'm sure I could get away with doing it as upper-and-lowercase. Also, I think it's a flagship show. Not sure if that's the proper term. I'm just throwing that out there now before you all bombard me with mail critiquing me on those points.)

Anyway, the channel itself is never in my rotation when I'm switching around, and the show is on too late for me to stay up and watch.

So this week I made an effort to check it out - I DVR'ed a week's worth of shows to see what FOX Sports Live was all about.

I'll be honest - the big draw for me with this show is the duo of Jay Onrait and Dan O'Toole, who anchor the highlight desk (again, I'm going with my best guess on what to use for a title here). Onrait and O'Toole are Canadians who have reportedly been a huge success north of the border and were brought to this show to generate interest.

I thought they were the show's anchors, but I was surprised to see that it started on Monday with Charissa Thompson (a FOX personality who I feel like has been with the network in some form or another for a while) reading the intro and then the camera comes to Thompson's panel, consisting of Donovan McNabb, Andy Roddick, Gary Payton, and Kirk Morrison.

(That's a huge turnoff for me - I've found I enjoy sports a lot more without all of the talking head panels - I never watch NFL pre-game shows on Sundays anymore and I'm much happier. But I guess there are people out there who love them, since that's all they put on these days. So maybe I'm in the minority.)

I guess as a male somewhere near the demographic FOX is shooting for (OK. I'm too old for their demographic these days probably), I should be a fan of them using the attractive woman to start the show…but I'm really watching to see Onrait and O'Toole.

Maybe it's a carryover from my early SportsCenter days (when I was smack dab in the demographic ESPN was shooting for with the Dan Patrick-Keith Olbermann SporsCenter), but I wanted to see the personalities I had heard so much about to see if they measured up to what I remembered enjoying so much.

And I really enjoyed Onrait and O'Toole.

I liked the fun they had - on Monday they played 'NFL Quarterback or Character on FOX's Almost Human' in a segment called 'Case of the Mondays'. But I thought a little bit of the fun crossed a line.

When they reported about Steven Stamkos breaking his leg in a game against the Bruins on Monday, they gave a glowing lead-in about Stamkos' great start to the season, and the whole time the words "Unfortunate Foreshadowing" flashed on the screen.  I'm not sure that was entirely appropriate.

It's been a while since I watched a SportsCenter-type show in its entirety, so I'm not sure what the going rate is for an A-Block (that's the first segment of the show before you see a commercial), but I liked how the first segment of each show was almost 20 minutes. That seemed long. (Unnecessarily long on Wednesday, where the show came on aftter Ultimate Fighting and most of the first section was devoted to that sport.)

What I liked the best was the way they end the show - The 'Best Person In Sports', a not-so-veiled take on Keith Olbermann's 'Worst Person…' ending. It's a really positive ending, always highlighting something good in sports. Onrait and O'Toole themselves deserve a 'Best Person' nod - they're growing out mustaches on the air to raise 'Movember' awareness.

Tuesday and Wednesday they analyzed each other's mustache progress and took good-natured shots at one another in the process. Wednesday they spent 15-20 seconds of a story just admiring Andy Reid's mustache. (Or 'Lip Sweater', as they called it.)

A positive social statement, having fun all the while? That's the kind of sports I like.

I don't like all things FOX, but I like Jay Onrait and Dan O'Toole.

I think I'm a fan of FOX Sports Live.