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ESPN Picks Up Barstool Sports Talk Show Based on Podcast - Pardon My Take - Variety

ESPN Picks Up Barstool Sports Talk Show Based on Podcast ‘Pardon My Take’

Todd Spangler Todd's Most Recent Stories

ESPN is bringing the threesome behind Barstool Sports’ popular “Pardon My Take” podcast to late-night TV — really late on the East Coast.

The Disney-owned sports programmer cut the deal with Barstool Sports, the digital-media firm majority-owned by the Chernin Group, to create “Barstool Van Talk.” The interview/comedy show will be hosted by Barstool’s Dan “Big Cat” Katz and PFT Commenter and produced by Henry Lockwood (aka “Henry Ease”) — the three behind “Pardon My Take” — along with Embassy Row.

The deal comes after ESPN last year sent Barstool a cease-and-desist letter over “Pardon My Take,” insisting its logo and name were too similar to ESPN’s own “Pardon the Interruption” and “First Take” shows.

“Barstool Van Talk” will premiere on Oct. 17 and will air weekly on Tuesday nights at 1 a.m. ET/10 p.m. PT on ESPN2. In addition, ESPN will distribute content from the show across digital and social platforms including ESPN.com, the ESPN app, ESPN’s YouTube channel, and its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Immediately after the ESPN deal was announced Friday, Barstool Sports readers accused the company of selling out, given that Barstool has repeatedly antagonized ESPN and accused the network of lying.

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In a video responding to critics, founder Dave “El Presidente” Portnoy cited specific ESPN talent that he still dislikes — but admitted his motivations were to make money and to make Barstool Sports as big as possible. “When have I ever said I don’t want to sell out?… I want to make a boatload of money,” he said. “ESPN, say what you want, big network — they’re going to see our best talent.”

“Barstool Van Talk” is set in Vanny Woodhead (pictured above), the 1993 conversion van that plays a central role “Pardon My Take.” Segments will include original digital shorts, guest interviews and comedy sketches, as well as the trio’s “exit interview” taped in the back of the van.

Barstool Sports launched “Pardon My Take” in March 2016, now on its 250th episode. The company will continue to release the podcast three times a week on its platform.

For Barstool, the ESPN pact is the biggest media deal to date. The digital-media outfit also has produced shows for Snapchat, Facebook, and SiriusXM, as well as a special for Comedy Central.

Chernin Group in January 2016 acquired a 51% stake in Barstool Sports and the company subsequently relocated from Boston to New York. Since arriving in the Big Apple, Barstool’s staff has increased from 15 to 80 employees, according to Portnoy. Last year, Barstool hired Erika Nardini, former chief marketing officer at AOL, as CEO.

Since its inception, Barstool’s writers have reveled in being obnoxious — it’s part of the company’s brand — and staffers have been called out for racist and sexist comments.

In a controversy that flared up this week, Fox Sports college-football host Elika Sadeghi tweeted a portion of an employment agreement (redacting the company name but it was confirmed to be Barstool Sports) that requires staffers to affirm they will not object to “offensive speech,” including conduct and speech that “openly and explicitly relates to sex, as well as race, sexual orientation, gender, national origin, religion, disability and age.” Sadeghi said she was offered a two-year deal but she turned it down because she didn’t want to sign the contract.

Nardini responded on Twitter, writing that “Barstool creates really unique comedy and the nature of that comedy means that we can sometimes easily offend,” and that the contract “is signed by every single employee at Barstool Sports to ensure they are comfortable.”

Portnoy also issued a response on Twitter, with the comment, “It’s sad when people who crave attention insert themselves in important stories just to make it about themselves.” He was alluding to Sadeghi’s explanation that she posted the contract because “recent events have made me realize how important it can be” (clearly referring to the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment and assault scandal). “We’re not Harvey Weinstein,” Portnoy said, claiming that Barstool Sports has never had issues with sexual-harassment allegations from employees.

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  • Carefully breaking down the top sports podcasts, Sports on Earth

    espn sports betting podcasts Listen with Love

    Last week, the ESPN Baseball Today podcast turned itself into the ESPN Baseball Tonight podcast. The difference was far more substantial than a few hours time difference. (Actually, the Baseball Tonight podcast is posted earlier than the Baseball Today podcast, which'll blow your mind if you start to think about it.)

    ESPN's Baseball Today was hosted by ESPN fantasy expert Eric Karabell and featured, primarily, senior baseball writer for ESPN Insider Keith Law and ESPN Stats & Information's Baseball Research Specialist Mark Simon. The podcast has gone through several incarnations hosted by Karabell, from fun co-hosts like Peter Pascarelli -- who reportedly lost his gig because he insulted Bud Selig -- to less-than-fun ones like Seth Everett, but with those three, they'd finally found the right formula. Basically, Baseball Today featured three smart baseball fans talking about baseball in an accessible, intelligent and entertaining way. (Law, in particular, was a standout; I'm a huge fan of pretty much everything Law does.) It was sabermetrically friendly, it was logical and straightforward and it was 100 percent John Kruk-free. If you hadn't known any better, you wouldn't have thought it an ESPN production at all.

    It was, of course, too beautiful to live. Karbell announced last week that the show would be ending, to be replaced by "ESPN Baseball Tonight," a riff on the ESPN program that once featured Tim Kurkjian and Jayson Stark having a nightly celebration of our greatest game but now features Aaron Boone, Nomar Garciaparra, Curt Schilling and other former athletes snapping towels at each other. The new show is hosted by Buster Olney, a veteran reporter who nevertheless spends more of his time telling us what Stephen Strasburg had for dinner before Jordan Zimmermann's wedding or asking "Krukie" to tell his favorite spring training stories, ho ho, than talking much baseball. The show has its positives -- Olney runs through the biggest stories of the day in the same breezy fashion as his daily must-read Web column, and the first ever-show briefly featured Olney, Krukjian and Stark all talking shop, like the old days -- but it's not the same as the old Baseball Today podcast. It doesn't feel like a podcast at all: It feels like a television program, only without video.

    This is not for nothing. I know not everyone is into podcasts, but I listen to them constantly, mostly because I live in New York City and because I'm a runner. This allows me to spend most of my time in public with smart people whispering things I didn't know into my ears. And through all my podcast listening, I've started to realize that the best podcasts are nothing like television at all. Podcasts are for the avid, the diehards, the ones who care so much about a topic that they will actively seek it out in every possible medium: The people who want their obsessions to, literally, follow them around.

    Television is a passive medium: You watch television, most of the time, while doing something else. I find it difficult to do anything else -- other than run or be carted along on the subway -- while listening to a great podcast, the same way I can't do anything else while reading a book, or engrossed in a terrific movie. It's a medium for people to simply sit and talk; when one is done well, and smartly, it's like being privy to, eavesdropping on, a conversation between super intelligent people about a topics you care deeply about. The old Baseball Today was like that: Karabell, Law and Simon all loved baseball and, just as important, loved talking about baseball. Their podcast was so good because it took its time: It knew it was simply for people who would seek out great baseball talk, and never needed to pander to any sports tourists just dropping by. The new show, because it's so connected to the TV program, is a podcast for your uncle who just sort of kinda watches baseball. But no one just casually listens to podcasts. You pick podcasts that line up exactly with your interests. Otherwise, shoot, you'd just listen to music. Thinking about podcasts like a television programmer is misunderstanding what podcasts are all about.

    I'm not sure how the new Baseball Tonight podcast is going to do, and I'm obviously not an expert in programming, because I thought the other podcast was perfect, and they got rid of it. But I am an expert in listening to podcasts, because I'm pretty much doing just that four hours a day. (I am not, however, an expert in TALKING on podcasts.) So I thought I'd just spend the rest of the column telling you which sports podcasts I listen to regularly, in case you're not a podcast listener but want to try one out. If you're a diehard, you won't be disappointed.

    I'll break them down by sport and include links to the iTunes page, in case you want to subscribe. (Sorry, I only listen to baseball, football and basketball podcasts. I'm sure there are others who can give you great podcasts from soccer, hockey, MMA, so on.)

    Yeah, it's not as good as the last one, but I'll still listen to it. If I could survive the Seth Everett era, I can wait for them to get this one figured out.

    My personal favorite baseball podcast, hosted by Joe Sheehan and Rany Jazayerli, loses points only because they haven't done one in four months. I'm told they're returning soon though.

    They meander quite a bit, but it's Baseball Prospectus: They know what they're talking about.

    The best fantasy baseball podcast, by far. Mike Siano and Cory Schwartz are invaluable during the season. I still miss their MLB Network show, actually.

    Fantasy baseball centric, just once a week, from Ron Shandler's company.

    This was most well known for weekly appearances by the late Beano Cook, but Ivan Maisel is a charming, extremely knowledgeable host.

    The most stripped-down, info-only-please fantasy football podcast you'll find. A little too bro-dawg for my tastes sometimes, but during the season, I never miss a word.

    All right, so I'm a fan of the team. Sue me. I wish all my other favorite teams had as well-done and constantly updated podcasts as this one.

    BASKETBALL

    I feel comfortable saying this is the best sports podcast on earth. J.E. Skeets and Tas Melas (along with Taco Trey, Jason Doyle, Matt Osten and Leigh "Girrrrrrls!" Ellis) are so huge now they can get NBA players to play around with their wacky Canadian antics. Get the whole TBJ story.

    Matt Norlander is the host of this lively, playful, hoops-obsessed podcasts. Occasionally even gets Nate Silver to pop by.

    Of all the ESPN television personalities, Andy Katz seems to understand the medium of podcasting best, probably because his love for college basketball is so infectious (and his ability to get big-time coaching guests so reliable) that he could probably talk about it for days. Former Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg is a fun, game sidekick.

    This Indiana University-focused podcasts is the best Bracketology podcast I've found. These guys actually watch every Lehigh game, it's sort of amazing.

    Whaddya want from me, I'm a Knicks fan. The same reason I listen to all Illinois basketball podcasts. We all have our obsessions.

    Bloodbath at ESPN Will Lead To a Long Train of New Sports Podcasts

    Bloodbath at ESPN Will Lead To a Long Train of New Sports Podcasts

    What was a sad day for ESPN & and dozens of on-air talent will lead to a plethora of new podcasts. As we learn of the big-time names that were let go Wednesday, the podcast world anxiously awaits and welcomes them.

    Big Names With Huge Social Followers

    Notable names let go by ESPN were: Ed Werder, Trent Dilfer, Jasyson Stark, Jay Crawford, and the list goes on.

    And the podcast train is already leaving the station, as NFL guru Ed Werder already has launched his podcast:

    Well it has indeed been a Doomsday of sorts for me today and so our podcast is aptly named. And I’m full time too! https://t.co/SjTOlxkysK

    The Doomsday Podcast by Spoke Media with @Edwerderespn and @mattmosley This is the iTunes link to hear first episode https://t.co/Nxot5rH0pW

    Listen Here (Click on Pic) To New Sports Podcast by Ed Werder & Matt Mosely

    Listen to the Show: Click Here!

    Why These Layoffs Matter?

    As mentioned in our Bill O’Reilly story earlier this week, the monkey-see-monkey-do attitude will take hold, creating a domino effect of media personalities diving into the platform.

    It matters because these public personalities bring new awareness to the medium and massive social followers which create immediate discovery.

    • Ed Werder has 207,000 Twitterfollowers…and many of his followers will get a taste of the podcast medium for the first time.
    • Jayson Stark has over 500,000 Twitter followers…how quickly will it be until he launches his own podcast?

    Here’s what Jayson Stark Tweeted out:

    For 17 yrs I’ve had a dream job covering baseball for ESPN. Today is my last day. Thanks to all the great people at ESPN, MLB & all of you!

    No One Wants to Be The Caboose

    Bottom line, you don’t want to be late to the game…let alone last to the podcast party. Despite the fact that it was a terrible day for many employees at ESPN, it will be entertaining to watch the impact this has on the podcast industry, let alone to the enhanced quality of diverse sports podcasts made available.

    Most notably, to us at #TopPodcast, newpods will have the chance to discover the on-demand audio platform for the first time…thanks to what was a terrible ‘doomsday’ at ESPN.

    Onward and Upward!

    EDITORIAL NOTE & CLARIFICATION – VIA ED WERDER TWITTER FEED

    Top 10 Sports Podcasts

    Top 10 Sports Podcasts 1. The Lowe Post

    Description: Zach Lowe is a former writer for Sports Illustrated who later joined ESPN via the Grantland network. In his podcast, Lowe interviews NBA general managers, coaches, players, and other media personalities. Lowe’s specialty is breaking down rosters and player personnel with very sharp analytical opinion. Lowe is by far the smartest NBA analyst out there.

    2. Ring Rust Radio By Donald Wood and Mike Chiari

    Description: This is by far one of the most entertaining podcasts out there in the wrestling arena. Hosted by Donald Wood and Mike Chiari, these guys get some of the biggest wrestling names out there for exclusive interviews, including the WWE and TNA.

    3. Move the Sticks By Daniel Jeremiah

    Description: Hosted by former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah, Move the Sticks covers everything NFL related, specifically player analysis for each position. This pod is unique because Jeremiah provides us with the insider account, and as a former account is able to provide the behind the scenes account that all NFL fans crave.

    4. Sims and Lefkoe Podcast By Chris Simms and Adam Lefkoe

    Description: Chris Simms and Adam Lefkoe are two sharp football minds providing great NFL analysis. It also helps that Simms is a former NFL quarterback. They secure some big time interviews, and Simms really raises the bar by providing story that only a former player could.

    5. We Da Best NBA Podcast By Shlomo Wiesen

    Description: The ESPN Radio’s Best of Mike and Mike is a sport podcast taken from a sports talk radio show, Mike and Mike in the Morning. It is hosted by Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg on ESPN Radio and simulcast on television, usually on ESPN2. They primarily focus on the day’s biggest sports topics and the humorous mockery between the Mikes.

    6. Effectively Wild: Daily Prospectus By Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

    Description: The guys over at Baseball Prospectus website are bringing us awesome MLB coverage in a big way. Grantland writer Ben Lindbergh joins up with Baseball Prospectus editor-in-chief Sam Miller to talk everything MLB-related, on every baseball topic imaginable. Whether macro level pennant races or a sleep summer July lineup change, these guys have the MLB covered.

    7. Mike and Mike By ESPN Radio

    Description: The ESPN Radio’s Best of Mike and Mike is a sport podcast taken from a sports talk radio show, Mike and Mike in the Morning. It is hosted by Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg on ESPN Radio and simulcast on television, usually on ESPN2. They primarily focus on the day’s biggest sports topics and the humorous mockery between the Mikes.

    8. Puck Podcast By Eddie and Doug

    Description: Weekly podcast from two of the most passionate and zealous NHL fans that the Internet has ever seen. Everything from previews, game analysis, mock drafts, news, and rumors, these guys have it covered.

    9. The Tennis Podcast By David Law

    Description: The Tennis Podcast is hosted by tennis commentator David Law, featuring co-host Catherine Whitaker. Law interviews some big guests, and breaks down games from all tournaments, including Wimbeldon, Davis Cup, and more.

    10. RotoWire Fantasy Baseball Podcast

    Description: Fantasy baseball is a year round sport – everything from previews, game by game analysis, sleepers, rookies, player values, draft prep, strategy and more. Hosted by Derek Van Riper, this MLB Fantasy baseball podcast is published 5 days a week!

    Up and Coming

    The following are Podcasts that haven’t established themselves enough to make the Top 10, but are hustling their way up there.

    1. The Duane Jackson Theory By Duane Jackson

    The Duane Jackson Theory podcast covers Hip-Hop, Mixed Martial Arts, Current Events and Theory. Originally inspired by the Joe Rogan Experience you’ll be subject to many guests from completely different walks of life, as well as the possibility of some more famous names. Expect episodes with other artists to include on-the-spot Music Cyphers, whether it be rap, singing, or instrumental. There will also be breakdowns of major UFC events, album reviews of upcoming artists, and future contests. What’s beginning as a non-live podcast will not only become live but also video capable in the next year. I want to thank everybody who’s been rocking with me from the very start, I’m going to try and make this as interactive as possible down the road.

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