Fox NFL Kickoff
|Fox NFL Kickoff|
Alternate horizontal version of program logo used since September 2015
|Genre||NFL pre-game show|
(for past hosts and analysts, see article)
|Theme music composer||Scott Schreer|
|Opening theme||"NFL on Fox theme music"|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
Fox Network Center|
Los Angeles, California
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Fox Sports|
Fox Sports 1 (2013–2015)|
|Original release||September 8, 2013 – present|
|Related shows||Fox NFL Sunday|
Fox NFL Kickoff is an American sports television program that originally debuted on Fox Sports 1 on September 8, 2013, and moved to Fox Broadcasting Company on September 13, 2015, and serves as the secondary pre-game show for the network's National Football League game telecasts under the NFL on Fox brand.
The hour-long program – which airs Sunday mornings at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time – focuses on news and analysis of the week's upcoming NFL games as well as interviews with NFL coaches and players, and live reports from sites for the network's game telecasts, serving as an extension of Fox's primary NFL pre-game show, Fox NFL Sunday, whose own analysts appear on certain segments seen on the program. An audio simulcast of the program airs on sister radio network Fox Sports Radio, which is distributed by Premiere Radio Networks.
Early history on Fox Sports 1
On August 12, 2013, Fox Sports announced that it would launch Fox NFL Kickoff as a supplementary pre-game show to the Fox broadcast network's NFL coverage on Sundays; the program premiered on September 8, 2013 – the inaugural Sunday of that year's NFL season – on Fox Sports 1, the division's national sports network that launched three weeks earlier on August 17.
For its first two seasons, the program was originally hosted by Joel Klatt; former NFL players Randy Moss, Brian Urlacher and Donovan McNabb served as analysts, providing previews and prognostications for the day's game slate and reviewing any games held earlier that week. Urlacher left the program shortly after it began its second season on September 16, 2014, following his decision to resign from his analyst role at Fox Sports; Former Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins head coach Dave Wannstedt became an analyst shortly beforehand at the start of the second season. McNabb was placed on an indefinite suspension by the sports division on July 12, 2015, following his arrest on a DUI complaint. During years when Fox holds the broadcast rights to the Super Bowl, the program is retitled Fox Super Bowl Kickoff, running as a four-hour broadcast.
The program struggled in the ratings throughout its run on FS1, averaging under 100,000 viewers during the 2014 season, with its lowest viewership being recorded on the November 30 edition, which registered a paltry 28,000 viewers (far behind competing NFL pre-game shows, Sunday NFL Countdown on ESPN and NFL GameDay Morning on NFL Network).
Move to Fox
On July 20, 2015, Fox Sports announced that Fox NFL Kickoff would move to the main Fox network, beginning in the 2015 NFL season. Fox asked its owned-and-operated stations and affiliates to clear the 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time hour on Sundays to run the program (displacing infomercials, religious programming or the network's political discussion show Fox News Sunday that were carried in that timeslot on most Fox stations, and local weekend morning newscasts on select stations located in the Pacific and Mountain Time Zones, where Fox's NFL coverage begins earlier). Executives with the sports division cited the preference to provide a stronger lead-in for Fox NFL Sunday (despite its position as the highest-rated NFL pre-game show for its entire 21-year history to that point, with the show averaging 4.9 million viewers during the 2014 season, an increase of 2% from 2013) and by effect, result in higher initial ratings for the network’s early afternoon game telecasts. Fox executives stated that the show would continue to utilize talent separate from that used by the network's longer established pre-game program, Fox NFL Sunday, although personalities from that program would act as contributors. In some cases it also allows the network full control of up to twelve hours of programming on gameday Sunday (including primetime for doubleheader days), if an affiliate leads in Fox NFL Kickoff with the network's Sunday morning talk show, Fox News Sunday.
On August 12, the division announced that former ESPN personality Colin Cowherd would join Fox Sports; in addition to his radio show moving to Fox Sports Radio and Fox Sports 1, Cowherd serves as a studio analyst for Fox NFL Kickoff. On September 11, 2015, Charissa Thompson (who also acts as a moderator and segment host of Fox Sports 1's sports news program Fox Sports Live, and was an NFL sideline reporter for Fox in 2008 and 2014) was named as the new host of the program, replacing Klatt; the appointment reunited Thompson with Cowherd, with whom she previously co-hosted ESPN2's SportsNation from 2012 to 2013. Former NFL player Champ Bailey was added as an analyst, with Cooper Manning added as a special contributor, conducting interviews and contributing to other special segments.
In part because of the relative lateness of the announcement, Fox stations in markets totaling about 10% of the U.S. (such as WFLD in Chicago, KTVU in San Francisco, KCPQ in Seattle, WVUE-DT in New Orleans, and WBFF in Baltimore) have declined to air Fox NFL Kickoff since due to existing programming commitments, specifically those to locally produced pre-game shows for local NFL franchises (either "official" team-produced or unofficial productions) that have led into Fox NFL Sunday prior to the move of Kickoff to Fox or to fulfill educational and informational programming requirements, or moved it to a secondary subchannel, as WITI in Milwaukee did, moving it to their Antenna TV subchannel. Similar to such agreements involving the network's former children's programming blocks, Fox contracted the local rights to the program to air on an affiliate of The CW or MyNetworkTV – typically one co-owned or co-operated with the local Fox station – in areas where a Fox owned-and-operated station or affiliate chose not to carry it. However, in some markets, Fox NFL Kickoff does not air at all.
Fox stations not airing Fox NFL Kickoff (as of the 2016 season)
Current on-air staff
- Charissa Thompson – studio host (2015–present)
- Charles Tillman – analyst (2016–present)
- Dave Wannstedt – analyst (2013–present)
- Colin Cowherd – commentator (2015–present)
- Cooper Manning – contributor (2015–present)
- Josh Norman – contributor (2016–present)
Former on-air staff
- Champ Bailey – analyst (2015)
- Joel Klatt – studio host (2013–2014)
- Donovan McNabb – analyst (2013–2014)
- Randy Moss – analyst (2013–2015)
- Brian Urlacher – analyst (2013–2014; resigned on September 16, 2014)
- Sara Bibel (July 21, 2015). "FOX Doubles NFL Pregame Block in 2015". TV by the Numbers (Press release). Zap2it (Tribune Digital Ventures). Retrieved October 5, 2015.
- "Fox expands NFL coverage with "Fox Football Daily" and "Fox NFL Kickoff"" (PDF). Fox Sports (Press release). Fox Sports Media Group. August 12, 2012.
- David Just (September 16, 2014). "Brian Urlacher resigns from analyst role with FOX Sports". Chicago Sun-Times. Sun-Times Media Group. Retrieved September 17, 2014.
- Brian Stelter (July 12, 2015). "Donovan McNabb off the air at Fox and NBC after arrest". CNN Money. Time Warner. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
- Joseph Zucker (July 12, 2015). "Donovan McNabb Suspended by Fox Sports Indefinitely Following DUI Arrest". Bleacher Report. Turner Broadcasting System. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
- John Ourand (July 20, 2015). "'NFL Kickoff' moving from FS1 to Fox". Sports Business Daily. Advance Publications. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
- Cindy Boren (July 20, 2015). "Fox adds to NFL Sunday talk, sparks Colin Cowherd speculation". The Washington Post. Nash Holdings LLC. Retrieved October 4, 2015.
- Richard Deitsch (August 12, 2015). "Colin Cowherd officially signs with Fox; how the network will use him". Sports Illustrated. Time Inc. Retrieved August 13, 2015.
- Erik Pedersen (August 12, 2015). "Colin Cowherd Officially Joins Fox Sports; Will Host 'The Herd' & Do NFL TV Pregame". Deadline.com. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
- "Star-Studded Lineup Set for FOX NFL KICKOFF". Fox Sports PressPass (Press release). Fox Sports Media Group. September 11, 2015. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
- Ken Fang (September 13, 2015). "Fox NFL Kickoff set to debut with new cast including Colin Cowherd and Cooper Manning". Awful Announcing. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
- Ken Fang (September 13, 2015). "Fox NFL Kickoff Debuts In Most, But Not All of the Country on Fox". Awful Announcing. Retrieved September 14, 2015.