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Russ Thaler Leaving CSN For Versus

By Dave Hughes

Comcast SportsNet's Russ Thaler will be hosting a new weeknight show on Versus, beginning Sept. 8.

Thaler announced in late August that he's leaving CSN after 10 years at the Bethesda-based regional sports network.

Thaler will be hosting a 6 p.m. show called "NBC SportsTalk" on Versus, which is being renamed the NBC Sports Network in January. Versus owner Comcast merged with NBC earlier this year.

Comcast-NBC is in the process of putting the NBC logo on many of its cable sports networks. There have been rumblings that the various regional Comcast SportsNet outlets will eventually sport the NBC name.

Thaler's new Versus show will feature talent from Comcast-NBC's other sports networks, including the Golf Channel, as well as ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio.

"The partnership of NBC Sports and Comcast will, I hope, create opportunities for a lot of peopl e within the Comcast SportsNet family to spread their wings a little bit," Thaler told the Washington Post. "I think this is just the beginning for NBC Sports Network. That really excites me; to be in on the ground floor, to get it going and just see where it goes from here."


Comcast SportsNet moves its daily Ravens programs into the 5 p.m. time slot, starting Sept. 6, with encore showings at midnight.

CSN's Ravens lineup includes "1 Winning Drive" on Mondays, "Game Plan" on Wednesdays, "Ravens Report" on Thursdays, and "Purple Passion" on Fridays, with a new interview show, "Ravens One On One" on Tuesdays.

"Redskins Nation" will remain at 5:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. The Ravens move bumps "Washington Post Live" to the 10:30 p.m. slot. Currently, a rerun of the 5 p.m. "WPL" airs at 10:30.


The Boston Globe is reporting that Jen Royle, a reporter and Orioles/Ravens pregame host for Baltimore's 105.7 The Fan, WJZ-FM, is a serious candidate for one of the vacancies at the New England Sports Network.

A Boston native, Royle has also covered the Yankees for the YES Network and the Orioles for the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network.

"Bringing her back to her hometown would be a savvy move for NESN," writes the Globe's Chad Finn.

There are also several Boston sports talk radio stations interested in Royle, we're told.
Also, Royle has dropped her $800,000 defamation lawsuit against Nestor Aparicio, owner of and host at Towson sports talker WNST, 1570 AM.


Comcast SportsNet acquired the long-term television rights to Atlantic Coast Conference football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and lacrosse.

The package begins this season with a weekly schedule of live ACC football for the first time on CSN since 2004.

In addition to 14 ACC football games this season, CSN will carry up to 59 basketball games.

The Bethesda-based network will also be home to "ACC All Access," a weekly half-hour program.


More Comcast SportsNet news. It has unveiled its fall NCAA football schedule, which begins this week and includes 73 live games.

The network's overall college football coverage totals more than 100 games and features a new weekly package of live ACC games, along with full schedules from the CAA, C-USA, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC.

The Labor Day weekend lineup includes Morgan State at Towson at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3.

Games will be carried on CSN and CSN Plus, which is available regionally on the Comcast Network.

Posted Sept. 1, 2011