ESPN's 'High Noon' Didn't Fit in the Hot-Take World: TRAINA THOUGHTS


1. When High Noon host Bomani Jones appeared on the SI Media Podcast in October, I asked him early on in the interview, "What's your goal for the show? What do you want the show to be?"

"I just want it to be the best show that it can be, whatever form that happens to take. In some ways, in our most grandest, most ambitions sorts of outlooks—oh man we want this to be the smartest show that is on TV. I said very early, if the first thing they say about our show is how smart it is, we are going to be failures. That's not gonna be the thing."

Jones continued, "People are not coming to be wowed by our collective intellect. What they would like is for the intellect to power a certain level of analysis that then serves people in very simple forms. I don't want you coming away just being like, 'Wow, those guys are smart.' I'd rather you come away, like, 'Wow that is good.'"

The reality, though, is that in this day and age of 240 characters, intellect and sports don't mix well. It's a hot-take world, especially when it comes to daytime programming on sports cable networks.

Who is better: Jordan or LeBron? Where will Tom Brady play next season? Should the Cowboys pay Dak Prescott $40 million? And round and round we go. That's what the typical sports fan wants. That's what ESPN gives them—minus High Noon

However, that will be no more come the end of March. Sports Business Journal reported Monday night that ESPN was canceling the afternoon show hosted by Jones and Pablo Torre.

The network blamed the cancellation on low ratings, although in the landscape of cable sports networks, the ratings were certainly passable.

Via SBJ, High Noon has averaged 330,000 viewers so far in 2020. ESPN's daily morning show Get Up is averaging 380,000. 

And every single FS1 daytime hot-take parade show would absolutely kill for High Noon's ratings. 

Just for some context, FS1's top show is Undisputed, which last week drew 150,000 viewers on Friday; 164,000 viewers on Thursday; and 139,000 viewers on Wednesday.

The only other FS1 daytime show that ranks in the top-150 cable shows is The Herd. That's it.

So the narrative that High Noon's ratings were abysmal just isn't true.

No matter what the spin is, I believe the cancellation was more about fit than numbers.

2. In a bittersweet twist on the above item, Torre's Tuesday started with his becoming a father before learning his show was axed by ESPN.

3. After a 35% dip in viewership from Week 1 to Week 2, the XFL saw ratings drop again for all windows in Week 3

4. I'm not a doctor, but this does not seem like a good thing.

5. Brooks Koepka is featured in the latest issue of GQ, and, as usual, the golfer pulls no punches, even when it comes to describing his relationship with fellow tour members.

“This might come across the wrong way," he said, "but I already have enough friends. I don't need any more. Just 'cause we work together doesn't mean we have to be friends. I've got enough friends. You know, I have my friends that aren't really into golf that much, and the only reason they're into golf is because they follow me. I like to be able to get away from the game.”

More importantly, Koepka reiterated his claim that he's never had a hot beverage, once again saying he's never even tried hot chocolate in his life. Just astounding.

6. The latest SI Media Podcast features two segments. First up is Mitchell Schwartz of the Kansas City Chiefs. The offensive lineman takes us through the Chiefs' Super Bowl win and all the playoff comebacks, discusses Travis Kelce's personality, shares his opinion on a proposed 17-game regular season, and talks about being a serious foodie while giving us his most controversial food opinion.

At the 45-minute mark of the podcast, my colleagues Chris Chavez and Jessica Smetana join me for a roundtable discussion on the wild Netflix documentary series Don't F--k With Cats

You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play.

7. RANDOM YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE DAY: Happy 71st birthday to the iconic Ric Flair.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on iTunes, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.