CBS will make history this fall when it debuts the first nationally televised all-female sports show, "We Need To Talk."
The network on Wednesday announced the launch of "We Need to Talk" on CBS Sports Network. The show will feature four primary panelists -- Lesley Visser, Tracy Wolfson (below), Allie LaForce and Amy Trask -- and an entirely female group of producers and directors.
"This is nothing less than a cultural pivot point," Visser said in a statement. "There are many shows that have a woman on, but not one that has a table filled with women.
"We Need To Talk," which premieres 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 30, will also feature an impressive lineup of contributors: Andrea Kremer, Lisa Leslie, Dara Torres, Swin Cash, Summer Sanders, Laila Ali and Katrina Adams.
But while the primary panelists and main contributors are women, CBS Sports president David Berson said the show will have a wide audience.
“This show is intended for all sports fans, men, women everyone,” Berson told Newsday. “The gist of this show, it’s really a sports talk show that features women. It's not intended to be a women’s sports TV show. And will we discuss social issues and women's issues? Certainly when warranted, but that’s not the sole focus on the show.”
While the show has been praised for its mission, some commentators aren't happy with the program's name, which gives the vibe that this is a sports version of The View. The phrase is also known as code for trouble in a relationship, as articulated in this Seinfeld exchange:
Jerry: She wants to talk.
George: She doesn't want to talk -- she needs to talk.
Jerry: Nobody needs to talk.
Here's some early feedback to the name on Twitter:
"We Need to Talk" has nothing but negative connotations, does it not? CBS is already alienating viewers of all-women sports show, it seems.
— Sarah Baicker (@sbaickerCSN) August 26, 2014
Before naming its female sports show "We Need to Talk" CBS strongly considered "High Maintenance" and "The View, except...like...for Sports"
— Craig Edwards (@craigjedwards) August 26, 2014
CBS is calling the all-female sports talk show "We Need to Talk" because "The Nag Hour" was too pejorative.
— Jack Kogod (@Unsilent) August 26, 2014
If this show can cultivate some compelling and insightful conversation, it would be a welcome addition to a sports TV lineup already heavy with chatter. But there is so much volume, bombast and outrage -- often contrived -- on these programs. Whatever issues its name might have, 'We Need To Talk' seems to be promising the opposite. As Visser put it to USA Today, "My dream of the show is the discussion of it."
The show's placement on CBS Sports Network should also give it a chance to grow without the threat of a quick cancellation if initial ratings or reviews aren't favorable. Although CBS Sports Network has bulked up its lineup in the past year with additions of Jim Rome, Doug Gottlieb and more college football game coverage, including this Saturday's Ohio State-Navy matchup, it is still in a building phase.