Just a few weeks after the Ray Rice video plainly illustrated that women’s issues (and a humane sense of right and wrong) are sorely lacking in both professional sports and its commentariat, the CBS Sports Network has announced the launch of an all-female sports talk show.
Debuting on September 30, We Need to Talk is being billed by its network as “the first-ever, nationally televised, all-female, weekly hour-long sports show.” Its hosts will be Lesley Visser, Tracy Wolfson, Amy Trask, Dana Jacobson and Allie LaForce. Encouragingly, with the exception of the 25-year-old LaForce, the women in front of the camera range from their late thirties to early sixties.
Announced contributors include Andrea Kremer, Lisa Leslie, Dara Torres, Swin Cash, Summer Sanders, Laila Ali and Katrina Adams.
We Need to Talk could certainly take a page from The View and add some more racial and sexual diversity to its main lineup. But it’s heartening to see the sports world hit this particular milestone, especially since it took years on Visser’s part to make the show happen.
“Television needs an all-woman panel show to bring our perspective about all the changes on the sports scene,” she said several years ago.
CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus agreed in a press release: “A sports show featuring all women is long overdue, and we are thrilled to be able to make television history this fall with the national launch of We Need to Talk.”
The show will also boast women behind the camera. Suzanne Smith, the NFL’s sole female game director, will helm the series. Smith will also serve as coordinating producer alongside Emilie Deutsch, while Amy Salmanson and Julie Keryc will produce.
“When I started covering sports in 1974,” recalled Visser, “the credentials often said, ‘No Women or Children in the Press Box.’ Forty years later we are accepted as members of the media, assistant coaches, college officials and executives. We have learned to love sports the same way boys and men do. Not all of them played the game either. I’m proud to play for CBS.”