We can’t lie, we love papi! So we were delighted to learn that the Highly Questionable team of Dan & Gonzalo Le Batard and Bomani Jones are moving to ESPN at 4:30p starting today and leading into Around the Horn for some undetermined period that sounds like it will be at least a couple of months.
We’re trying to come up with the best recent comparisons to look at. Last week was a mess due to ESPN effectively waving the white flag against the NCAA tourney on Thursday and Friday and the week prior was fueled by the NFL free agent signings news cycle.
But the week prior to that (March 2-6) the hour-long NFL Live averaged 465,000 viewers in a range of 436,000-521,000 and that looks to us a fairly reasonable place to set the bar.
Some have asked why Highly Questionable is getting the nod ahead of shows like His & Hers and SportsNation which frequently fare better on ESPN2 than Highly Questionable. ESPN has been promoting a 3 hour block of First Take and His & Hers on ESPN2 from 10a-1p ET so there’s not much chance they’d fiddle around with that.
As for why not SportsNation instead…? We can only speculate that ESPN is doing a solid to Eric Rydholm, the wunderkind producer who created the successful and long-running tandem of Pardon the Interruption and Around the Horn. Rydholm is also responsible for Highly Questionable.
On the other hand, we think it’d be a great idea for ESPN to occasionally rotate some of the ESPN shows ( SportsNation/Olbermann, etc) to the mothership to shine a brighter spotlight on them and increase visibility even if/when they move back to ESPN2. It’s possible this is part of a broader strategy along those lines.
Come back Tuesday some time after 4pm ET to see how Highly Questionable fared on its first day on the mothership. Over/under 465K? For the love of papi, we’re taking the over.
Update: Highly Questionable made its ESPN debut with 577,000 viewers and a 0.3 adults 18-49 rating.