In Depth

Fresh Faces for 'Inside the NFL' on Showtime

CBS Sports’ Simms, Brown Join Series Veteran Collinsworth

“Inside the NFL,” which is switching teams to Showtime from HBO this season, has added two new players to the roster.

Showtime said that as part of its remake of the long-running football show, Phil Simms and James Brown from CBS Sports will be joining NBC’s Cris Collinsworth as host.

“Priority No. 1 after agreeing with the NFL to take on the show was, how do we make this our own, how do we make it unique to Showtime and tap into the talent at CBS, which is helping to produce this for us,” said Ken Hershman, senior VP and general manager of Showtime sports and event programming.

He said the CBS anchors were on board fairly quickly, followed by Mr. Collinsworth, who has been with the show since 1992.

“We feel we have the best trio of football analysts out there,” Mr. Hershman said.

With Mr. Collinsworth, Showtime gains an anchor who knows the show and knew what did and didn’t work over the years, he added.

Showtime is planning a number of changes to make the show feel like it belongs on Showtime, which is on a streak of producing hot original shows, rather than on HBO, which of late has seen many of its most popular shows fade to black (“The Sopranos”), move to the big screen (“Sex and the City”) or simply end their run (“The Wire”).

“We’re going to have our own set, our own log, our own talent,” Mr. Hershman said. Also, Showtime will produce the show in high definition, he said.

Few details about changes to the show’s format were available. Mr. Hershman said Showtime plans to bring in a series of temporary host to join Messrs. Simms, Brown and Collinsworth for a few weeks at a clip.

“Inside the NFL” will launch Sept. 10 on Showtime, continuing until after the Super Bowl.
Showtime plans to tape the show on Wednesdays and air it Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. ET, an hour earlier than HBO used to air it.

Each episode will appear about 10 times per week between Wednesday and Sunday.

The new hosts will be getting together today for a conference call with reporters, to pose for publicity photos and shoot teaser commercials for the show. They’ll also discuss plans for the upcoming season.