CBS officials talked about an all-women sports show for more than a year, and now they’re set to make television history.
The network announced Tuesday that “We Need to Talk” will premiere Sept. 30 on CBS Sports Network. The weekly, hour-long, prime-time program on the cable channel will be the first of its kind.
The panel will feature a core of CBS Sports announcers: Lesley Visser, Amy Trask, Tracy Wolfson, Dana Jacobson and Allie LaForce. Other contributors include Andrea Kremer and former athletes Laila Ali, Lisa Leslie, Dara Torres, Swin Cash and Summer Sanders.
“I think it’s long overdue,” CBS Sports president David Berson said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. “We’re excited to be the home for it, and all these women have such meaningful roles already within CBS or in various other places. I know they’re all excited.”
“CBS This Morning” co-hosts Norah O’Donnell and Gayle King will appear as guests.
Visser, who started covering sports in 1974, considers the show “a cultural pivot point.”
“There are many shows that have a woman on, but not one that has a table filled with women,” Visser said in a release.
Trask was the first female chief executive officer in the NFL and worked for the Oakland Raiders for nearly 30 years.
She noted each woman brings her own perspective and experience, ranging from the former athletes on the show to Wolfson as a sideline reporter, Visser as a Hall of Fame reporter and Kremer as a reporter for HBO’s Real Sports.
“We each view things uniquely as well,” Trask told the AP. “I believe we will offer a different perspective than is currently available on television. We’ll approach issues with our own different perspectives and that will make the show even richer.”
Visser recalled sports media credentials often said, ‘No women or children in the press box.’
“Forty years later we are accepted as members of the media, assistant coaches (San Antonio Spurs’ Becky Hammon) college officials and executives,” she said. “We have learned to love sports the same way boys and men do — not all of them played the game either. I’m proud to play for CBS.”
The show will be led by Emmy Award-winning co-ordinating producers Emilie Deutsch and Suzanne Smith, the only woman currently producing or directing NFL games. Amy Salmanson and Julie Keryc will produce with Smith directing.
The show will air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EDT, although on a relatively new network that’s in just under half of U.S. homes with televisions.
“It also underscores our commitment to this that we’re putting it in such a marquee time slot,” Berson said.
Berson isn’t worried about sports fans finding the show, and he said hopefully people will ask for the network if they don’t have it.
Ali, the daughter of boxing great Muhammad Ali, said in the release she’s “honoured to have a seat at the table for meaningful conversation with so many accomplished women in the sports world.”
Trask sees the show as innovative and creative, despite the long wait.
“It’s exciting that this is happening now,” she said.