We Need To Talk About CBS’ Awesome New All-Female Sports Show

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We recently heard a great saying: you can easily snap one twig, but when you have a bundle of twigs or sticks, they become much harder to break. For us, that is the foundation of female empowerment and modern day feminism; women standing shoulder to shoulder, respecting each other’s differences and experiences, and learning how to work together to create a more equal world for us to thrive.

So when CBS announced in August it would be launching an all-female sports talk show (the first of its kind on American television) it became clear this wasn’t just about one of America’s favorite pastimes. All of a sudden, half the sports-loving audience in America has gained representation in a massive way.

‘We Need To Talk’ is the name of the show, a take on the common phrase that is said in relationships when there is a problem. One which men stereotypically don’t like to hear. Instead of trying to appear macho and de-feminizing themselves for the sake of an audience, we love that these women have embraced their feminine attributes and were given license by CBS to create a space where women feel welcomed into the very macho world of sports.

The show premiered on Tuesday, September 30th and so far it has a lot of people talking. By the way, these aren’t just any ordinary TV hosts, this show probably has the most pedigree-filled line-up out of any sports show on TV right now, no joke!

Here’s the impressive line up: Andrea Kremer: 2-time Emmy Award winner and HBO sports correspondent, Dara Torres: 5x time Olympic Swimmer and with 12 medals (4 of those gold), Dana Jacobson: Award-winning sports anchor on CBS radio, Amy Trask: former Oakland Raiders CEO, Katrina Adams: President of the US Tennis Association, Lisa Leslie: 1st woman to dunk in a WNBA game and 4x Olympic gold medalist, Laila Ali: former pro boxer, undefeated super middleweight boxing champ and Muhammad Ali’s daughter, Lesley Visser: only female in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the first female NFL TV analyst, Swin Cash: 5x WNBA all star and 2x Olympic gold medalist, Summer Sanders: 4x Olympic medalist in swimming, two of those being gold, and Allie LaForce and Tracey Wolfson who are both CBS lead reporters.

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A 2011 Neilson report found that the nearly half of the football audience in America is today made up of women. So it’s not exactly brain surgery why CBS decided to be ahead of the game and offer something to what is considered a largely untapped market.

It’s not secret that women’s sports do not get the same coverage or media attention that men’s events do. Heck, there are some Olympic sports where women aren’t even allowed to compete, and still many sports where female athletes do not get the same pay as men.

This show not only gives an increased visibility to women in sports, but also a different angle to existing conversations. Most recently the discussion off the sidelines has been about domestic violence in the NFL. Now when you scan quickly through most articles about the Ray Rice incident or others similar, you will notice a trend: that the woman’s perspective is not included, even though what Roger Goodell is trying to do is include them in the conversation more.

‘We Need To Talk’ tackled this issue and spoke about it from their point of view, saying it was wrong for news media to continually play the leaked tape of Ray Rice dragging his unconscious then-fiance Janay Palmer through a hotel elevator. They also said victims deserve to be heard just as much as the criminal details of the case, because perhaps then there will be more understanding into the complexities of domestic violence instead of (for example) judging Jenay for choosing to stay with her abusive husband.

Host Andrea Kremer wrote an article a couple of weeks after the show aired to share why it is a significant show, saying she is glad for the opportunity to show audiences on a larger scale why men aren’t the only ones with the ability to talk about sports in-depth.

“It’s not just that women can love, appreciate and talk about sports just like the men can. It’s that we bring a different sensibility to it. Since the show began airing on September 30, the focus has been on the content of our pieces, not the gender of our hosts and production team. This gives me hope that this shift I’ve sensed in the sports journalism landscape away from male domination will continue.”

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She says when Tyler Hale, CBS’s vice president for studio production approached her about doing this show, she asked who the target audience was. His answer was anyone who loves sports, male and female. And then she accepted. What this shows is that while women watch men, men too can respect the value and voice women bring to the sports conversation.

Andrea slams a recent story published by Men’s Health Magazine titled ‘The Secret To Talking Sports With Any Woman‘ (since been removed) which basically said women don’t like statistics (read: math) they just like stories. It couldn’t have been a more sexist piece of journalism (well actually it could, but let’s not go there) but Andrea had a good perspective about it.

“The article Men’s Health should really publish? ‘How Not to Be Intimidated If A Woman Knows More About Sports Than You Do’.”

She also shares some feedback from a male producer who was surprised in a good way at how good the first episode was.

The male producer said he found himself thinking during one of the segments: “these women really know sports — there’s nothing superficial about this, there’s a real depth of knowledge and thinking amongst these four. And a tremendous ability to articulate it.”

“It’s definitely not a show about women’s sports,” host Amy Trask said to Sports Illustrated.“It is a show about sports and the overlap of sports and society, hosted by women, produced by women and directed by a woman.”

“I want this show to succeed for all these little girls across the country who sit and watch baseball games with their Dads and Moms and want to get into this business and have been — and I choose these words carefully — relegated to three minutes during a football game,” said Emilie Deutsch, one of the show’s coordinating producers along with Suzanne Smith.

“It’s time. It’s time for women to have a real platform. It’s time for women to have more of an opportunity than to be relegated to three minutes during a three-hour game. When you are a little girl looking for role models in television, this show will now hopefully provide that.”

Taking things back to our original point of sisterhood being a powerful weapon on any front, the women on this show hope they can use their space to also promote this notion.

“Women don’t always root for women in this business,” added Visser, “but I believe everyone here is rooting for each other for this to succeed.”

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2 Comments

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