World of Sport

First all-woman TV sports show’s controversial title slammed

World of Sport

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"This is nothing less than a cultural pivot point. There are many shows that have a woman on, but not one that has a table filled with women." That was the part of the statement released by sports expert Lesley Visser.

She was speaking to mark a historic launch of the first ever all-female sports show, called 'We Need To Talk', which will be aired on American network CBS.

It's a huge development for the role and prominence of women in sports broadcasting and posts intriguing questions as to how it will be followed in the UK and worldwide.

While the show has been praised for its mission, it has been widely criticised on social media with many finding even the title in itself demeaning and unnecessary.

The idea is that the show will reach a wide and mixed audience with the primary panellists and main contributors all being women.

"This show is intended for all sports fans, men, women everyone,” CBS sports president David Berson told Newsday.

"The gist of this show, it’s really a sports talk show that features women. It's not intended to be a women’s sports TV show.

"And will we discuss social issues and women's issues? Certainly when warranted, but that’s not the sole focus on the show.”

The show in question, which debuts on September 30, will feature four primary panelists -- Lesley Visser, Tracy Wolfson, Allie LaForce and Amy Trask - plus an entirely female group of producers and directors.

Whatever issues its name might have in terms of negative initial feedback, 'We Need To Talk' must provide more than just idle chatter for it to be a success, as the presenters themselves recognise.

It will now be intriguing to see if the show is a success in America and, more generally, if a similar concept will be attempted in the UK and beyond.

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An uphill challenge would appear to await with the head of football at the BBC, Mark Cole, having said as recently as this summer regarding flagship show Match of the Day that there were limits to having women featured.

"Anyone on that panel of punditry should have played top-flight football and that's our position," explained Cole.

There is a long way to go, but the hope is that the presence of the excellent Gabby Logan, Hazel Irvine and Clare Balding on British TV screens will help pave the way for the next generation of female sports presenters and experts.

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