More than just The Score

ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:05 AM ET

For a lot of viewers, it has always been looked upon as the highlights network.

It's the place you go when you want all the scores in a hurry.

But The Score Television Network, which has added a wide range of live sports events to the mix in recent years, is about to enter the latest stage of its evolution.

Starting Nov. 15, in-depth analysis becomes more of a key word when two new shows -- To The Point and The Spin -- make their debut on the network. Both will air Monday to Friday, with Greg Sansone fronting To The Point and Steve Kouleas directing The Spin.

"It's a regeneration of the network," explained Anthony Cicione, The Score's VP of programming and production. "We want to add some more depth to what we're doing."

Cicione describes To The Point, which is slotted in at 6 p.m., as "more of a critical look at the issues in sports." It'll be spiced up with interviews and round-table discussions when they fit in.

"We'll take the relevant story of the day and expand on it," said Cicione. "Instead of five minutes, we'll take 20 minutes on a topic."

INTERACTIVE SHOW

At the other end of the evening schedule is The Spin, which gets an hour of airplay at 11 p.m. It has more of an interactive component, with viewers invited to offer feedback via phone or e-mail.

"We want to tap into Steve's personality a little bit more," said Cicione. "We'll take phone calls and e-mails. It's kind of a wrap."

To make room for The Spin, the network is cutting back Score Tonight to an hour, running 10-11 p.m. The show also gets a pair of new hosts, Score regulars Sid Sexeiro and Tim Micallef.

Former Score Tonight co-host Martine Gaillard is being moved out of the studio and into a reporting role.

Cicione said the plan is to have Gaillard file daily reports, some with an entertainment touch, others offering a look at the other side of sports stars' lives.

"We give you all the news and information about (the athletes)," said Cicione. "Now we want to tell you more about what they're like when they're not on the playing field or the ice."

While the new shows and schedule have meant splitting up popular combos such as Gaillard and Sansone, Cicione feels it's all part of the network taking the next logical step forward.

TALENT SHUFFLE

"We're taking our talent and shuffling it around a bit," he said. "We're looking for some more depth and analysis, and fun and entertainment."

The current NHL lockout has already supplied a test of The Score's ability to look at things differently.

"If anything, we've been busier than ever (without hockey)," said Cicione. "We're not relying on that 8-12 minutes of hockey highlights each night, so we've been working to find other material ... it's made us delve deeper into features or news that we wouldn't ordinarily have time to get to."

The Score has also jumped on the U.S. college football bandwagon, adding a Saturday night game from Fox Sports Net and the ESPN College Gameday preview show at 10:30 a.m. Both were added in response to viewer requests.

"(The Saturday night games) have been a response to not having hockey," said Cicione. "But it's also a product that was available to us, and we had a lot of requests from people wanting to watch it. We try to program for the viewer."

Now, they'll try to take things a little deeper for them.


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