Versus Stirs Pot With Its Own ‘Soup’

Sep 14, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Blossoming sports channel Versus is beefing up its repertoire of original programming, adding original series “Sports Soup” to its lineup beginning Oct. 14. The latest addition is part of the cable network’s effort to expand its core programming blocks.
“Sports Soup” seeks to combine elements of series such as E! series “The Soup” and Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” giving audiences a candid perspective on the sports world. The program will pull material from sports programming ranging from football pre-game shows to mixed martial arts and all things in between. Pre- and post-game shows, press conferences, local media and national broadcasts all will be fair game.
The twice-weekly, half-hour series will air Tuesday and Thursday nights at 10 p.m. ET beginning Oct. 14.
“As we surveyed the sports television landscape, we wanted to have something that was different and unique,” said Marc Fein, executive vice president of programming, production and business operations at Versus. “We looked at the success of some of the formats elsewhere and felt that having a show that pulls in highlights and clips from around sports media was something that fit our brand perfectly.”
The series will be hosted by comedian Matt Iseman, whose credits include hosting Style Network’s “Clean House.” He also has appeared on Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend,” “The Drew Carey Show,” “NCIS” and “Courting Alex.” The series will be produced by the same people who created “The Soup” on E!.
“This will be the Chad Johnson of sports shows—a little obnoxious, usually hilarious and so fascinating that you just won’t be able to take your eyes off it because you have to see what happens next,” said Mr. Iseman.
Since rebranding itself two years ago, Versus has stepped up the pace at which it is expanding its content library. The channel, formerly OLN, now is home to the National Hockey League, college football, the Davis Cup, the Tour de France and the Indy Car Series, among others. Versus also slates boxing reality show “The Contender.”
“As Versus continues to grow and evolve, it’s an important initiative for the network to try out new, original programming that will resonate with our viewers and attract new ones,” Mr. Fein said. “After all, we can’t have live programming on 24/7.”


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