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New Programming Hopes to Give ESPN2 Independent Identity

Sep 1, 2004  •  Post A Comment

ESPN2 plans to launch three and a half hours of new shows over the next year as part of an effort to create an identity for the network independent of ESPN. Mark Shapiro, executive VP, programming and production, said ESPN will be for sports and news, while ESPN2 will be for sports and entertainment.

ESPN2 will launch a personality-driven late-night show, based in Los Angeles, in the first quarter of 2005, and a 7 a.m. news show, probably in November, that will lead into “Cold Pizza,” which will move to 8 a.m.

ESPN2 will shoot a pilot Sept. 13 for a show called “ESPN Hollywood.” The network plans to air that show at 6 p.m., followed by a personality-driven news show at 6:30 p.m. modeled after Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor.” Hosts for the new shows haven’t been identified.

Mr. Shapiro said a new scripted drama series and two movies also are planned for ESPN2, and that he hopes to have everything in place by next year’s upfront. Meanwhile, on ESPN, Mr. Shapiro said Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser have been signed for five more years of “Pardon the Interruption.”