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Who’s Up For A Quirkier Version Of SportsCenter? ESPNews Has Got ‘The Beat’!

Just when you thought ESPN couldn’t come up with even more inventive ways to enslave you to your television and the broadcast behemoth’s multitude of networks, ready or not, tWWL is about to roll out two brand-spanking new shows, and let me tell you, these programs are sure to simultaneously tickle your funny bone and paralyze your remote control-clicking finger!

First up in ESPN’s new show rollout is The Beat. Debuting on August 30th, The Beat is for those ESPN viewers who enjoy a more cockeyed look at the world of sports, but not in the way that involves looking at Stuart Scott.

Via ESPN Media Zone:

The Beat, hosted by Bram Weinstein at 6 p.m. and repeated immediately at 6:30 p.m., will provide an entertaining and quirky look at sports and sports stories, as an alternative to SportsCenter, airing on ESPN at that time. It will consist of stories, highlights, interviews and a variety of segments playing off the show’s name – “On the Beat,” “Beats Me,” “Bite Beat,” etc. The name was chosen to invoke both a heartbeat – the pulse of sports – and the notion of reporter’s beat.

Ha! I get it! It’s quirky, you see. I must admit playing off the name of the show is pretty clever. I eagerly look forward to panelists squaring off in a battle of wits in “The Beat Off.” The segment titles practically write themselves.

Next up is Highlight Express, also debuting on the 30th of August. While I originally hoped that the program had something to do with helping me more quickly – in an express fashion, if you will – interpret the complicated subtext contained in  “Goofus and Gallant” as well as assisting me in solving those goddamn “Hidden Pictures” puzzles in Highlights magazine, the show is instead dedicated to the sports fans who enjoy watching highlights shows like SportsCenter that actually are dedicated to, you know, showing highlights of games.

Highlight Express will present the day’s best highlights and sound bites in a fast-paced half-hour format at 11 p.m.  It will be updated through the end of the day’s action and then reaired until the next afternoon (3 p.m. on weekdays, noon on Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays).  The show will focus exclusively on the most amazing plays and action, with all the day’s news and scores provided via the BottomLine.  The two co-hosts will vary among the ESPNEWS anchor roster.

Snarkiness aside, I have to admit that ESPN is definitely heading in the right direction with the development of these two new shows. The SportsCenter brand has quickly become stale and many viewers are growing tired of sitting through the agonizing pairing of loudmouthed analysts and smarmy anchors simply to see replays from the games, events, etc. that they find compelling. Further, they surely must have recognized that with the advent of shows like Sports Soup and The Daily Line and the enormous success these show have exper-…well, maybe not enormous success, but some people are watching.

Just one last thing, ESPN: whatever you do, you better not take away my Cindy Brunson. That woman is like a siren whose song soothes the troubled soul. Only this particular siren happens to be wearing an assload of makeup and sporting an aggressive hairstyle, if there happens to be  such a thing.

Two New Shows on ESPNEWS Provide Alternative Look at Sports Starting Aug. 30 [ESPN Media Zone]