| ||A new live, 30-minute weekly edition of ESPN's Outside the Lines, the pioneer investigative sports-news program, will air at 10:30 a.m. ET every Sunday starting April 2. The "original" hour-long Outside the Lines, marking its 10th anniversary in May, will continue to be aired monthly in primetime.
The weekly Outside the Lines will be an opportunity for ESPN to explore the most significant sports story of the week in a format inspired by the classic ABC News Nightline broadcast. Emmy award-winning journalist and SportsCenter anchor Bob Ley will host each show.
"Our Sunday program is a natural extension of the Outside the Lines franchise," Ley said. "We're energized by the challenge of bringing viewers the most topical and cutting-edge stories, with insight and analysis that bring new light to each story. We've carved a reputation over a decade of Outside the Lines of provoking viewers with stories that resonate. Now, we'll do that each week."
The 52 Sunday-morning, single-topic shows will feature a brief set-up piece to characterize the issues surrounding the show's topic, whether it is the latest multi-million dollar athlete contract signing or multi-billion dollar television deal, the most recent threatened team relocation, pay equity for women in sports, or the graduation rate of student/athletes at a college with a top rated athletic department. The preliminary piece will be followed by a live guest discussion moderated by Ley featuring principal figures from that week's story.
Former Nightline live segment producer Jonathan Ebinger, a five-time Emmy winner, is the coordinating producer of the Outside the Lines weekly series. Ebinger's previous collaboration with ESPN resulted in the Excellence in Sports Journalism Award from The Center for the Study of Sport in Society, Northeastern University, for the live ESPN Town Meeting: Sports in Black & White which followed Outside the Lines -- Breaking the Line: Jackie Robinson's Legacy, February 28, 1997.
"I'm a life-long sports fan, and after working exclusively in network news, I am looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity of producing television in this medium," Ebinger said. "We hope that this new program will not just be a home for sports fans, but for people interested in thoughtful, engaging, and provocative Sunday morning television on a compelling news topic -- television that will be more than just talk."
When Outside The Lines debuted in May 1990, it marked the return to television of a series devoted to topical sports issues for the first time since Howard Cosell's Sports Beat left the air in December 1985. The series has won eight Sports Emmy Awards, three CableACE Awards, and, in 1997, the Center for the Study of Sport in Society's Excellence in Sports Journalism Award for Breaking the Line - Jackie Robinson's Legacy.
ESPN's Outside the Lines