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Couch slouch: From pub darts to Keith Olbermann, some new ideas for ESPN programming

UPDATED: Sun., March 29, 2020

Keith Olbermann poses at the Ronald Reagan Library on May 3, 2007, in Simi Valley, Calif. (Mark J. Terrill / AP)
Keith Olbermann poses at the Ronald Reagan Library on May 3, 2007, in Simi Valley, Calif. (Mark J. Terrill / AP)

ESPN without sports is like NASA without space. But ESPN is smarter than NASA – it can still thrive even if its world explodes into the atmosphere. Here is a look at the new ESPN 24-hour coronavirus programming schedule:

5 a.m.: “Don’t Get Up!”

7:00: “Stephen A. Smith: Unfettered.” The real Stephen A. lets loose – unvarnished, unbridled and uninhibited – at a Brooklyn barbershop.

8:00: “Greatest NFL Coaches’ Challenges (Season 1).”

8:30: Stephen A. Smith talks smack to first responders on their coffee break.

9:00: Chris Berman runs down his all-time 250 favorite nicknames, alphabetically.

10:30: 1998 French Open women’s bracket draw.

11:00: “Burning Bridges with Keith Olbermann.” The once-popular “SportsCenter” anchor documents his seven tours of duty with the worldwide leader in sports.

12:15 p.m.: “Best NASCAR Pit Stops, Volume 3 (2010).”

12:30: “Kiper and Lunardi: The Art of Coaxing.” The two iconic ESPN savants discuss how they persuaded the network to turn one-day events into year-round pursuits.

1:30: Stephen A. Smith yells at gate agents at O’Hare Airport.

2:00: “Around the Shoehorn.” Nike, Adidas, Puma and Under Armour reps examine best self-quarantine footwear.

2:30: “Pardon the Interruption, Undercover.” A hidden camera documents Tony Kornheiser complaining about Michael Wilbon and every single guest co-host with whom he’s ever worked.

3:00: 2001 Mid-American Conference men’s basketball tournament third-place game.

3:30: “Backstory with Don Van Natta Jr.” An investigative look at Adam Schefter’s cellphone log.

4:00: “Outside the Lines: The Sunset.” The award-winning OTL team chronicles the sun setting in Bristol, Conn. Live.

4:30: World Series of Poker 2003.

5:30: World Series of Poker 2004.

6:30: “Outside the Lines: The Sunset (Pacific Time Zone).” The award-winning OTL team chronicles the sun setting in Pahrump, Nevada. Live.

7:00: Stephen A. Smith moonlights as a toll-booth worker who will not give out change.

7:30: “Cricket Tonight.” Adnan Virk returns as host.

8:00: World Series of Poker 2005.

9:00: World Series of Poker 2006.

10:00: “Stephen A. Smith: After Dark.” The very eligible sweet talker tries his best hot takes in several New York City singles bars.

11:00: World Series of Poker 2007.

Midnight: World Series of Poker 2008.

1 a.m.: “The Sports Reporters 2.0.” Veteran correspondents from Bleacher Report, The Big Lead, Deadspin and Barstool Sports debate the hot issues of the day.

1:30: “The Making of ‘Cold Pizza’ (2003-2004).”

2:00: Jeremy Schaap reads select passages from Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged.”

2:30: Shuttle run highlights from 2012 NFL Scouting Combine.

2:45: Charley Steiner is “Macbeth.”

3:00: 2014 Pub Darts Challenge (Ireland vs. Wales).

3:30: “BodyShaping” (any year).

4:00: “Kraft Mac & Cheese Presents The Craig Kilborn Show.” With sidekick Downtown Julie Brown. Why not?

Meanwhile, Fox Sports 1 has a simpler, adjusted schedule:

6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.: “Skip and Shannon: Undisputed.”

10 p.m. to 6:15 a.m.: “Skip All Night.” Skip Bayless at home!

6:15 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.: Off air for routine maintenance.

Ask The Slouch

Q. After several days of all major sports sidelined, I watched the PBA and saw statistics of MPHs and RPMs on the screen. As a bowler, can you tell me if I am withdrawing from baseball and NASCAR, or is it real and I need some help? (Steve Hintyesz; Spokane)

A. It is real – we all need help. I have begged the powers that be to wipe the screen clean; alas, they will not listen to a 140 bowler.

Q. Being the wise man you are, can your readers assume that you anticipated this pandemic-related sports hiatus and have a mitigating stockpile of columns to get us through these rough times? (Kim Hemphill; South Riding, Va.)

A. I am currently watching dozens of old Dick Vitale broadcasts that will provide me column content through Labor Day.

Q. Is it true the only reason your marriage to Toni has lasted 12 1/2 years is ever since your wedding night, she has strictly enforced the six-foot social distancing rule? (J.B. Koch; Macomb, Mich.)

A. Thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt on our wedding night.

Q. After you’ve written, edited and submitted your column, do you then “take no responsibility” for it? (JC Hodgson; Spokane)

A. Many of my columns write themselves; thus, indeed I take no responsibility.

Q. I see Sean Payton has the coronavirus – can’t he challenge that? (Kirk Long; Spokane Valley)

A. Not reviewable – NFL competition committee will take a look at this during the 18-month offseason.

Q. Is it true that Robert Kraft is suing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for entrapment? (Terry Golden; Vienna, Va.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!

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