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New programming drives brand for NBC Sports
When Jon Miller, the president of programming of NBC Sports and Versus, took over his new post, he had a clear vision of the direction the network was headed. It already had a new long-term deal in place with the NHL and added a new package of MLS broadcasts and is working closely with the NBC Sports Group on a number of projects that will improve the Versus brand. Versus will change its name to NBC Sports Network on Jan. 2.

Jim Williams spoke with Miller, who is a D.C. native and graduate of Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda.

You have just rolled out a new group of programs. Tell me about the new block?

Miller: With "NBC Sports Talk," we wanted to establish a show that would be strong and compelling enough to anchor our weeknight programming. It is going to be a show that is talk and personality driven, and we felt that with our deep bench of analysts from the NBC Sports Group that includes the Golf Channel, plus all the regional sports networks like CSN Mid-Atlantic, Chicago, Philadelphia, the Bay Area, Boston and New York, that there is truly not a topic in sports that we can't cover in-depth and intelligently. Two other shows we have started and are proud of is the "SportsBiz: Game On" with Darren Rovell -- the show is produced by CNBC exclusively for airing on Versus Friday nights at 7 p.m. -- and our new football program that we are producing in cooperation with NFL Films called "NFL Turning Point," which airs Thursday nights at 10?p.m.

How about the live event programming on Versus?

Miller: Right now our goal is use the assets that are part of the NBC Sports Group. We have a brand new deal with the NHL that will bring more hockey to viewers than ever before. Our new MLS deal is going to give the network a strong soccer presence. The IndyCar package has been good for us, as has been our cycling coverage. We will be adding more pre-Olympic events as we get closer to the Summer Games in London. Plus, our college football is extensive with the addition of Notre Dame programming. We are very pleased with diversity of the programming we have on the network. As for adding the NFL, major league baseball or the NBA, we will simply evaluate how any new programming will help the network, and if it makes sense, then we will be aggressive. But as I just said, we are happy with what we have right now, and we feel that it is compelling programming. Washington Examiner

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