“Daily News Live” Has Been Fully Killed Off

Philly Sports Talk, the show formerly known as Daily News Live, is no more.

It’s been a longtime coming, and the show was effectively dead once NBC took over its branding, but the reasons seem mostly unrelated to any prior decisions.

Here’s the press release:

The Mike Missanelli Show is getting an expanded time slot on NBC Sports Philadelphia, starting on Monday, March 4th. The popular radio show will now simulcast on NBC Sports Philadelphia from 2 until 6 p.m. weekdays, effective Monday, March 4. Philly Sports Talk, which runs from 5-6 p.m. on weekdays, will air its last program on Friday, March 1.

“We’re pleased to extend The Mike Missanelli Show on NBC Sports Philadelphia, and it’s been a welcome addition to our line-up since joining last year,” said NBC Sports Philadelphia President Brian Monihan. “We remain committed to developing engaging content across multiple platforms, including NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com, the MyTeams App and across social media.”

Added Monihan on Philly Sports Talk’s historic run: “Daily News Live was the first show that launched on then Comcast SportsNet in 1997, and it changed the way Philly sports fans discussed their hometown sports. Not many shows can survive for 21 plus years, but as consumer habits have evolved, now is the right time to move in a new direction. We thank everyone who has been a part of Daily News Live and Philly Sports Talk over the years– the talent, the crew and the countless guests and contributors.”

Daily News Live was an essential, model show for regional sports TV. I was one of the people watching when accused pederast Bill Conlin asked Michael Barkann if he realized he’d be the answer to a trivia question – what was the first live voice on Comcast SportsNet? – during the show’s debut in 1997. The 90-minute(!) roundtable was the perfect after-work or after-school fare for sports TV. It was a gathering spot to talk about the games ahead and proved a reliable platform for many sports-related press tours. It caught you up on the news that was and the games that were yet to be. It was casual and free-flowing and worked despite its loose structure. Michael Barkann can inject manufactured energy into a bag of gently worn clothes, so a rotating cast of zany and unkempt sportswriters was easy work.

But this was a time before the web commanded our attention all day long. The show had become less relevant literally every day since the iPhone hit the market. It was cut to an hour at some point, turned into the very heavily NBC branded Philly Sports Talk, and has since ejected Barkann and his blue glasses in favor of Philly soup du jour Marc Farzetta, who is better on the radio than TV. Around a year ago, NBC tried to make the show younger with Farzetta and Amy Fadool by aping [insert hip ESPN show with Michelle Beadle] and having a quirky set. The problem is, nothing NBC does will ever be afforded the creative freedom to be truly hip. Everything they do on a local level is too corporate, too safe to appeal to a younger demo.

Replacing what was left of the brand with Missanelli’s show, which I’m guessing is a substantially cheaper solution that will get comparable if not better ratings, was likely a no-brainer. The show no longer had a place, regardless of any individual decisions along the way.

But it had quite the run, and we should pour one out for the brand.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

20 Responses

  1. Nailed DNL’s relevance back in the day. It was required viewing for me in college (’98-’02), filled that late afternoon 5-6:30 dead time with smart, sourced, largely informative sports talk that felt like the antidote to WIP’s shenanigans. Did an internship at then-Comcast SportsNet, worked almost exclusively on DNL. Other than the grossness of having worked with Conlin, was a great experience with great people (still miss Phil Jasner, what a class act). DNL lost it’s relevance due to both the advent of social media/smartphones and the gradual erosion of the original format as the Daily News all but merged newsrooms with the Inquirer and started laying off some of their best writers. Died completely for me the day it became NBC Sports Talk (don’t care what name they gave it), maybe watched it once or twice after that in passing. RIP, what a great run!

  2. I saw the first episode of that show and it was essential. So many of the great old school Philly writers. I miss that time of my life, sad that another piece of it is gone.

    Also, F Bill Conlin, I hope he’s enjoying his special place in hell. Piece of shit.

  3. The old Christmas Eve shows with Barkann, Jerardi, Mikey Kern and legendary Hall of Fame Temple University basketball coach John Chaney of Temple University (the Owls, members of The Big 5 who play in Philadelphia) was really good TV.

    All good things must come to an end. Big mistake was choosing Farzetta over The Cuz. You want ratings, you get The Cuz.

    1. Yes, the Chaney Christmas Eve shows were classics. Was great sports/tv because it was all real/legit/unscripted. I think Neil Hartman always hosted that show and Chaney would mercilessly go at Neil for 90 minutes while Jerardi and Kern just sat back and got paid to laugh at John Chaney being John Chaney. Bet he still has a never-ending supply of gift ties too.

      22 years ago, the idea of a semi-serious 90-minute Philly sports talk show was glorious. Now, we’re lucky if people have a 90 *second* attention span.

    1. I dunno. There’s a difference between “loved to hate” and boring. Hayes and Smallwood came off as pompous know-it-alls (because they are…), but it made for good tv. The most tedious DN writers were the ones who were great writers and seemed like really nice guys but were missing the look and/or personality for tv. (The great Elmer Smith comes to mind on that front.) Then you’d have the guys who seemed to resent being forced to do it at all (Paul Hagen and Ed Moran were prime examples). But there were also the gems like Jerardi and Bowen who somehow made it work through making fun of themselves (Jerardi) and extremely dry sarcasm (Bowen). Les’ DNL appearances during the Lindros saga were must-see tv.

  4. Didn’t know what Conlin was at the time but he was good on show. What I liked about the show is having actual sports writers. Then they started having guys like Eagles employee Spadaro on show. Spuds knows football but he was there to push the company line. Don’t need team employees or players giving me their opinion. When the Birds dogged it on the field do I really care what an offensive lineman who is an active player has to say. Do you think he is going to throw his teammates under the bus.

  5. According to NBC Sports Philadelphia President Brian Monihan, “We remain committed to developing engaging content…especially when all it involves is sticking 3 static cameras in a radio studio.” THAT’s “developing engaging content?!
    Of course, that’s not to say that the riveting stuff Farzetta and Fadool were dishing out was anything but “must-miss TV.” I wish DNL hadn’t been so good… it makes the alternative look even worse than it is on its own merits.

  6. What an absolute ****SHOW this became when they added that clown shoes wearing, smirk-goblin Farzetta. His raw un-likeability and vegetable shaped head were immediate indicators that with Barkan gone, there was absolutely nothing of value you would be getting if you watched this show now.

    Whatever the reason for Barkan leaving, THAT is why this has happened. Dumb executives in charge, making dumb decisions on top of dumber decisions. Poor Amy Fadool was forced to try and keep things afloat whenever she was on screen with real life Bert muppet, but it was never going to be enough.

    Just dumb, dumb decisions that will now result in that ego maniac Mikey Miss and his group of mental inferiors and WIP castoffs getting even more air time that nobody will watch. Seriously, most people had no idea his show was on TV until a few weeks ago.

    Just terrible.

    1. It’s ironic that Comcast always stayed away from Cataldi, Eskin and Missanelli as they never appeared on Daily News Live, and now the Missanelli Show is the last man standing for the Network. They truly became what they despised.

  7. Once I read that NBC Sports Philly/Comcast was going to target millenials a few years ago, I knew these shows were doomed. The great thing about the early days of Comcast was they separated themselves from Sports Talk Radio so each of them had their niche. Sports Talk Radio was dumbed down talk, where people could vent and there was very little substance to phony hosts like Missanelli, Angelo and Eskin. Daily News Live was all beat writers who actually had inside information on the teams from sources and they could give you the big picture of the Eagles, Flyers, Sixers and Phillies. Guys like Phil Jasner, Rich Hoffman, Jim Salisbury, Ray Didinger, Stan Hochman and even the creepy Bill Conlin all gave a perspective on the teams you didn’t get on Sports Talk Radio.

    Then the network decided to blur the lines (bringing in more ‘personalities’ thinking this would generate new viewers, instead they just alienated people like me who stopped watching. I don’t want to hear what John Boruk says about the Flyers as he’s not a real beat writer, nor do I care what Serena Winters thinks about the Sixers as she is a sideline reporter. Once they cut the good talent and transitioned to Annoying Amy Fadool, Unfunny Mark Farzetta, and that buffoon Barrett Brooks, I knew the network was not for me anymore. They still had some leftovers like Didinger and Salisbury so if you caught them on one of these shows, they were still informative, but the damage was done.

    Once NBC Sports bought Comcast, they changed the network and tried to ESPN’ize it not realizing that the World Wide Leader in Sports is losing millions of subscribers by the month because they dumbed down their shows too.

    1. Totally agree with everything you said. Correction though: Comcast and the Roberts family bought NBC/Universal, not the other way around. Some marketing “genius” sold them on leveraging the NBC Sports “brand name” at a time when they were already phasing out the Comcast name on the consumer side. That said, I would’ve taken “Xfinity Sportsnet” over the awkward, convoluted “NBC Sports Philadelphia” any day.

  8. I still remember during the 1998 Train wreck Eagles season after their second win (to improve to 2 & 7) Barkan asking to no one in particular with tremendous faux enthusiasm ‘OK everybody, can this team run the table now?’ Insert the crickets sounder here

  9. That was my favorite show – and it makes me sick to know, it is no more. Thank you Michael Barkann for so many times-making me and my nephew laugh so hard we almost p***ed our pants-and all thanks to all the other guests- Stan Hochman, Les Bowen, Ray Diddie, Joe Conklin, Rich Hoffman, Phil Jasner, The Gov, and even -ugh- Bill Conlin ! You will all be missed . There are no shows that could even come close to how great your’s was and it will always be remembered as the greatest of all time !

    I will try to find and watch re-runs of DNL to sooth the hurt and pain.

    For the record- I have never enjoyed Mike Messanelli- he is the most ignorant and arrogant person I’ve ever heard speak.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *