Gotta be honest, I didn’t catch this show very often. I think the 4 p.m. time slot was a killer, since most people are still at work, or they’re driving home, or picking up their kid from daycare, or whatever. The program, which was hosted by Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre, originally aired during the noon hour but was moved to the new slot in 2018.
Via the Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand, ESPN says “poor viewership” was the reason for the decision:
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) February 25, 2020
Jones and Torre will remain with ESPN, however, with Ourand sharing this ESPN statement in his story and tweet:
“Co-hosts Pablo Torre and Bomani Jones are extremely talented, and they helmed what we believed was a smart and nuanced show. Unfortunately, not enough people agreed with us. We look forward to discussing with them how to best utilize their talents across a variety of ESPN platforms.”
Awful Announcing and other sites pointed out that High Noon ratings weren’t terribly different from what other shows on other time slots were pulling.
Ourand’s piece notes that High Noon was averaging 330,000 viewers daily during Q1, which is down three percent from the same period last year and below the likes of Highly Questionable (380,000) and Mike Greenberg’s Morning Hot Take Parade (otherwise known as Get Up, it’s averaging 400,000 viewers these days). And the viewership may in fact be the reason here, especially if ESPN executives didn’t think there was potential for the show to draw more (and it’s notable that High Noon was shunted to ESPN2 in favor of NFL Live during football season, showing it wasn’t a key scheduling priority for ESPN).
This show touched on a lot of topics that were a little more… “poignant” I think is a good word. Some people thought it was too “woke,” or deviated from sports I guess. Comparisons were drawn to Jemele Hill and Michael Smith’s time together at ESPN.
Speaking of Hill, who I recently saw on my wife’s favorite Bravo Show, Below Deck, she decided to weigh in:
Fucked up on a lot of levels. Bo and Pablo didn’t deserve this. They have become, in many ways, the conscience of ESPN. There’s a trend going on there and if you think for a minute, you’ll see it. https://t.co/t1Vv2ikceo
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) February 25, 2020
And here was the inevitable Clay Travis take on the other side of spectrum:
What do Deadspin, Jemele, Kaepernick, Beadle, Bomani, Kerr, Popovich & Pablo all have in common? All failed at selling woke sports to American masses. Fact: there has never been a successful far left wing mixing of sports and politics. All of them fail as businesses.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) February 25, 2020