TV networks are turning into magazines and magazines are turning into TV shows. The latest crossover in the latter category coming from Sports Illustrated in collaboration with NBC Sports.
The two media
brands are coming together to create a show, “Sports Illustrated,” which will include feature segments, original reporting and commentary from the magazine’s editorial staff.
A total of five hour-long episodes are currently scheduled to air over the second half of the year, with the first debuting on July 24, three days before the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.
Subsequent episodes will air on the NBC Sports Network in September, October, November and December.
The show is being produced by Red Line and sponsored by Lexus, but will also carry commercials from other advertisers. Sports Illustrated will cross-promote the show with print editorial features highlighting subjects from the TV series, along with additional content appearing on SI.com and NBCSports.com.
Another five-episode series, “Sport in America: Our Defining Stories,” is in the works for next year, according to Ad Age, this time pairing SI with HBO.
SI’s journey from print to TV mirrors the earlier migration of cable sports broadcaster ESPN from TV to print, with the launch of ESPN The Magazine in 1998. While still the dominant sports network on TV, ESPN lags SI in print somewhat, with a paid circ of around 2 million for ESPN The Magazine in the second half of last year, versus 2.8 million for SI, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
ESPN also faces new competition in the radio marketplace, this time from CBS Sports, which revealed plans to launch the CBS Sports Radio Network. It will carry round-the-clock programming from CBS Radio and CBS Sports, and is set to debut Jan. 2. Cumulus Media will help CBS secure affiliate agreements and ad sales for the new sports network through Cumulus Media Networks.