The success of Monday Night Football’s Manningcast led to some obvious efforts to copy the format, including from ESPN itself.
None of them have been able to capture the same formula that makes the original work, though, which isn’t surprising for a product designed specifically for star strengths. ESPN is trying again in a couple of weeks for the PGA Championship in Southern Hills, but this time there are a few things that could make it work.
First, it will be produced by Omaha Productions, the Manning-owned company behind the original release. The PGA Championship version, on the other hand, will feature the ESPN debut of Joe Buck.
That’s it according to this report from Andrew Marchand in the New York Post.
The Post has learned that Buck will lead “Manningcast” to the PGA Championship later this month. He will be joined by ESPN golf analyst Michael Collins, better known as “ESPN Caddy.”
ESPN has not commented. Buck gave this reaction:
– Joe Buck May 5 2022
But Marchand had more details, too, noting that this release will in fact serve as the first “major” hour of coverage, while it will begin traditional broadcasting on ESPN+:
The Buck-cast team will be on all four days of the PGA Championship, starting Thursday, May 19. Buck-cast shows will begin on round one and two on ESPN, while traditional live golf coverage begins on ESPN+.
The Buck-cast will be the main presentation when the line coverage begins. The show plans to book “A list” guests.
An hour later, Buck and Collins will move to ESPN2 when major golf coverage moves to ESPN.
For the final rounds on Saturday and Sunday, the Buck-cast will have an hour on ESPN to start the day, while traditional coverage is again on ESPN+. After the first hour, the Buck-cast team will move to ESPN+ with the main cast returning to ESPN.
The PGA Championship is the only major golf tournament over which ESPN exercises a significant amount of control over production; They have their first two days of coverage in the master’s program, of course, but that is CBS-driven. Giving Buck an hour of major coverage makes a lot of sense, and so does putting him back in golf. While Fox’s golf experience had a rough start, by the end of the sports race Buck had become one of the best in the business.
It should also thrive like this. Collins has a positive presence and has been covering golf forever now without taking things too seriously. Buck, on his Manningcast show, was pretty cool about this spot. Honestly, having this as a shoulder option for covering the PGA Championship sounds like one of the best extensions of the format. These are long days, especially Thursday and Friday, when there is no doubt about the outcome of the tournament, a different option to spend a few hours watching can be attractive to both casual and ardent fans.
Or maybe it will be a mess! Who knows! But that would be very interesting in and of itself and it’s good that ESPN is trying that regardless.
[New York Post]