BRISTOL - Monday may be a day long remembered for ESPN, which aired the first episode of a live morning talk show that is seen by some as the network’s answer to declining ratings.
“Get Up!” launced at 7 a.m. Monday and will air daily Monday through Friday.
It is hosted by ESPN personalities Mike Greenberg, Michelle Beadle and Jalen Rose, with guest athletes and analysts contributing throughout the three-hour show.
There was a time that sports fans almost unanimously agreed that ESPN’s longtime flagship show, “SportsCenter,” was the go-to program to catch the previous day’s highlights. Evidently, that time has come and gone, as the morning “SportsCenter” has been moved to ESPN2, the company’s secondary channel, in favor of “Get Up!”
The network has struggled to find its way in a world crowded with social media platforms that instantly deliver sports news, highlights and opinions before, during and immediately after sporting events. This has led to “cord-cutting” - abandoning cable TV - and the company has lost nearly 13 million subscribers in the last six years.
In response, ESPN in November launched a short-form version of “SportsCenter” on Snapchat, a social media app popular among people in their teens and 20s and known for photos and short video clips. It has also announced the launch of a new streaming service, ESPN+, on April 12 for $4.99 a month.
But neither of those efforts are quite as big as “Get Up!,” which originates from a new studio overlooking the East River in New York City.
The new show appears to be targeting an older audience - one that still watches TV in the early morning - than those being sought through Snapchat and the new streaming service.
The show also appears to confront one of the biggest criticisms of ESPN: that the network has gotten too political.
Greenberg, who left the popular TV-radio show “Mike and Mike” to host “Get Up!,” has said in interviews that the show will primarily focus on sports, rather than off-the-field issues and controversies.
Get Up! opened on Monday with a mock movie trailer, in which Greenberg, Beadle and Rose were dressed as superheroes.
“In a world starving for entertainment, three unassuming heroes embark on a mission to save humanity from a television apocalypse,” the narrator said.
“That’s not what we’re doing here,” Greenberg said, going on to say the show will feature “just normal sports stuff.”
“We’re literally showing cool plays,” Beadle added, emphasizing a simple approach to sports coverage.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.