Less than three weeks after its birth, the SEC Network has already secured its first chunk of programming. After taking a sabbatical from the airwaves, radio lightning rod Paul Finebaum will hop aboard ESPN for a multi-platform role with the network.
"It would be the understatement of my life to say I wasn't thrilled," Finebaum told the Wall Street Journal. "It is incredibly exciting to be part of a new adventure, particularly one that involves the premiere brand in sports along with the pre-eminent conference in sports."
Finebaum will continue to host his radio show, which will simulcast on SEC Network to help kill the mid-day programming wasteland that often beffudels 24-hour sports networks. He will also make 100 television appearances a year on ESPN's various college football channels. Finebaum and ESPN are shy on specifics at this point, but one would think that means College Football Live, ESPNU's The Experts and even College GameDay.
It will be interesting to see if Finebaum's "stir the pot and let callers handle the rest" format will migrate with him to the SEC Network studios in Charlotte. We'll get an answer starting Aug. 1, when Finebaum joins the ESPN roster.
"What is striking is he is such a great moderator-slash-provocateur of the emotion that lives within the fan base," said Justin Connolly, the senior vice president for programming who will oversee the SEC Network for ESPN. "To be able to bring him aboard onto the team here is significant."
Translation: college football, meet your very own official Worldwide Leader-branded Skip Bayless.