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Saturdays With ESPN On ABC Will Be Just Like ‘Wide World Of Sports’, Only With Rick Reilly Reruns

Beginning April 3rd, ESPN will be taking over programming on ABC for a two-hour block every Saturday afternoon in order to recycle crap that people barely watch when it originally aired on the flagship station.

That’s right, with the announcement of ESPN Sports Saturday and Winners Bracket, you will now be able to watch reruns of E:60 and Rick Reilly’s Homecoming every Saturday afternoon. Brilliant!

Oh, but there’s more: did I mention that the lovely Hannah Storm will be anchoring the broadcast? Hooker boots on a hoochie mama for everybody!

Here’s the scoop on the dregs of ESPN programming one will find on ABC, via Michael Hiestand’s “Sports Television” column:

ESPN Sports Saturday and Winners Bracket, debuting April 3 on ABC and anchored by Hannah Storm, will air 4-6 p.m. ET. The first hour will sometimes be a launch pad for ESPN shows, such as ESPN’s Guru of Go documentary on Hank Gathers that debuts in the first Saturday, as well as ESPN’s E:60 and Homecoming with Rick Reilly. And the Saturday show on ABC will also be a recycling center for such shows after they’ve aired on ESPN.

The second hour will consist of Winners Bracket, a sports week-in-review — the week’s top stories will be in a bracket to determine who’s No. 1 — hosted by Michelle Beadle and Marcellus Wiley, who appear on ESPN2’s weekday SportsNation.

Enthralling Saturday afternoon television theater to be sure, but considering that this move was in reaction to complaints by ABC and its affiliates that ESPN was hoarding all of the best broadcasts of live sporting events, I fail to see how this is nothing more but a huge middle finger to the ABC network.

In fact, John Skipper, ESPN executive vice president/content, essentially thumbs his nose at their complaints by saying the new content will be “be near-live, which is sometimes how I think my life is going.” Zing.

He next states outright that this was nothing more than a half-assed attempt to shut people up.

“Sometimes you wish you could say it was more long-term and strategic and based on research,” says Skipper. “This was just responding to a request.”

Wow, that’s awfully big of you, Skipper, you jerkoff. Thanks for throwing the ABC affiliates a bone. But then again, that’s ESPN for you. In their view, they can do whatever the hell they want whenever they want. Arrogant dickbags.

ESPN gives ABC a new wide world of sports [USA Today]
ABC affiliates upset about losing sports to ESPN [Reuters]