It was real. It was fun. It was real fun.
After a very brief stint on the 1 AM time slot of ESPN2 last Tuesday evening, the television airing of the popular satirical sports blog Barstool Sports property Barstool Van Talk has been canceled by ESPN after just one half-hour episode.
Fans of the company were excited to see hosts Dan “Big Cat” Katz and PFT Commenter take the Barstool brand into the television world, which has seen an exponential rise in popularity following the creation of their hit podcast Pardon My Take roughly two years ago. Popular segments such as Football Guy of the Week, Who’s Back, Larry the Goldfish Picks and the always hilarious “Fastest Two Minutes in Football” have become revered by millennial sports and comedy followers across the nation, quickly becoming the most popular downloaded sports podcast in the world, as well as spawning several other original podcasts from Barstool.
ESPN president John Skipper said during a statement on Monday morning that “while we had approval on the content of the show, I erred in assuming we could distance our efforts from the Barstool site and its content.” A direct shot at the company itself, it comes as no surprise that the commonly unfiltered and edgy material produced by the Barstool brand would not mesh with the idealistic standards that ESPN holds. On top of the lack of mesh between the two, mired circumstances involving comments from Barstool President Dave Portnoy regarding NFL Sunday host Samantha Ponder and other personalities with the network have sprung up in recent weeks, leading to obvious internal pressure from displeased staffers to cancel the program. This isn’t the first time ESPN has backed away from programming that wasn’t created within their own confines, and it certainly won’t be the last
Barstool Sports is one of the hottest commodities in the sports and entertainment world at the moment, so it will be interesting to see the direction the company takes in their attempts to bring their brand to an even larger audience. I would love to see them end up on another television network and produce more original programming, but after failing to pick up a contract with Comedy Central after their weeklong Barstool Rundown showcase during Super Bowl week last February, and the cancellation with ESPN- it seems as though it will be a while before we see the team back on television anytime soon.
For now, I guess fans of the show will have to fondly remember the single glorious moment in which they saw their favorite podcast members on their screens. All of the award winning listeners out there, say a quick prayer, maybe shed a tear or two, and as PFT said in a tweet on Tuesday morning “in lieu of flowers, pls leave a 5 star review”.