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The Inside Track

Fox to Cut National Report

January 17, 2002|Larry Stewart

Fox Sports Net announced Wednesday that beginning Feb. 11 it will deliver national sports news in a different format, with twice hourly sports news breaks from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. replacing the "National Sports Report."

There will be four news breaks an hour during "The Best Damn Sports Show Period," a nightly program. The breaks will not interrupt game coverage but will interrupt such non-event programming as "The Last Word With Jim Rome" and "Beyond the Glory."

The "Southern California Sports Report" will remain in place, and may soon be expanded to one hour to include local and national news. The one-hour format first will be tested in one of the nine regional networks owned by Fox, but six other networks affiliated with Fox will drop their local shows entirely.

Those six are owned by Rainbow, a 50% partner in Fox Sports Net and a division of Cablevision. They are located in the Bay Area, Florida, Chicago, New England, Ohio and include one of the two regional sports networks in New York.

The "National Sports Report," broadcast from Fox's Los Angeles studios, was started in 1996 to compete with ESPN's "SportsCenter," but recently was drawing about one-fifth as many viewers as "SportsCenter."

"We want to further differentiate ourselves from the competition," Fox Sports Net President Tracy Dolgin said.

Dropping the "National Sports Report" will result in fewer than 20 job cuts, Dolgin said.

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