MLB Network set to launch New Year's Day

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Posted by on December 31, 2008 at 08:39:32:

In Reply to: MLB Network set to launch Jan. 1 posted by on November 28, 2008 at 12:21:58:

iDGi: MLB Network set to launch New Year's Day
Jeff Richgels December 30, 2008

The new MLB Network will launch at 5 p.m. on New Year's Day.

The network will launch with an edition of "Hot Stove," its offseason studio show. The original broadcast of Don Larsen's perfect game from the 1956 World Series will follow.

Sports Illustrated will have a major presence at MLB Network, as baseball writer Tom Verducci joins the magazine's reporter Jon Heyman as "insiders" on the rookie service, reported Tuesday.

It will air just 26 regular-season games in 2009, but will broadcast an eight-hour highlight show six nights a week, the Associated Press reported Monday. The lengthy time slot will require two shifts of commentators.

Matt Vasgersian and Victor Rojas will serve as hosts, with former players Harold Reynolds, Al Leiter, Joe Magrane and Dan Plesac as analysts. One of the reporters will be Trenni Kusnierek, who worked the Fox Sports Net Wisconsin Milwaukee Brewers broadcasts this year.

President and CEO Tony Petitti told AP that while the MLB Network is national, he likes to think of it as a conglomeration of regional interests. And with an eight-hour show even small markets and poor teams will receive plenty of highlights and coverage, he said.

"We want to complement the way fans watch their local team," Petitti said during a Dec. 17 tour of the network's studios.

MLB Network already has carriage deals with DirecTV and many cable companies, including Charter Communications, with an initial reach of about 50 million homes.

Charter announced Tuesday afternoon that it would add MLB Network at launch to the digital portion of its Expanded Basic lineup at channel 84.

"We feel MLB Network will add a significant amount of value to our lineup, and increase our customers' enjoyment of Charter's video service," Rich DiGeronimo, vice president of product management for Charter, said in a statement. "We listen to our customers, and access to MLB Network has been high on their list. Our ability to deliver America's national pastime in this way further elevates the value of Charter's home entertainment services."

AT&T apparently will not have MLB Network at launch on its U-verse TV lineup.

Spokesman Bryan Blaise said in an e-mail to The Capital Times that "We continually add channels and modify our lineup, however, we are not providing details on future programming at this time."

DISH Network could not be reached for comment.

(77 Square)

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