Former ESPN sportscaster Doug Gottlieb moves into late night television on Monday with a sports show that he hopes will be entertaining and informative. Gottlieb will co-host “Lead Off,” 11 p.m. to midnight weeknights on the CBS Sports Network, which primarily plans to look ahead to hot sports topics instead of recapping sports events like “SportsCenter.”
The show should get a big boost from co-host Allie LaForce, 23, who has shown solid sports knowledge as a sportscaster for Cleveland, Ohio, station WJW-TV.
“She definitely has a cool, hip, young vibe,” Gottlieb said of LaForce. “She is completely and totally unafraid to say whatever comes to her mind.”
LaForce, a former Ohio University basketball player, was named Miss Teen USA in 2005 as a 16-year old. She also served as an analyst, sideline reporter and studio host at regional sports network SportsTime Ohio.
Gottlieb, 36, a former OSU point guard who worked 10 years at ESPN, said the show will be a mix of a morning show, a sports radio show and bits of other shows, including ESPN's “Sports Nation” and “First Take” and CBS' “Jim Rome Show.” He said “Lead Off” will be repeated several times throughout the night and morning on the CBS Sports Network (Cox channels 249 and 717).
“We want to distinguish ourselves almost in a sports radio sense, what's the conversation like in the sports world going forward? What's next? You will definitely get both of our opinions on storylines in the world of sports.”
Gottlieb has worked in TV as a studio and game analyst with ESPN, but this program also will require some acting ability. In one segment, he plays a patient of “Dr. LaForce.” The show is being produced by Dick Clark Productions at a studio in Orange County, Calif., where Gottlieb grew up. He said it is a 20-minute drive from his new home in Irvine.
Gottlieb said producers plan to take “Lead Off” to many of CBS' major sports events, including the Super Bowl in New Orleans, the Final Four in Atlanta and the Masters in Augusta, Ga.
Gottlieb's daily radio show will debut Jan. 2 with the launch of the CBS Sports Radio Network, and will air 2 to 5 p.m. weekdays. He also will be an analyst on about 20 college basketball games this season for the CBS Sports Network and CBS — including calling two rounds of the NCAA men's tournament — and also handle weekend studio work for CBS.
After living in a small, quaint Connecticut town near ESPN studios, the move to Southern California has been a major adjustment for Gottlieb, his wife, Angie, and their children, 6-year-old twin daughters Harper and Grace and 3-year-old son Hayes.
“This is a complete 180 from everything our life was over the last nine years,” Gottlieb said. “Even in the schools, our kids went from traditional to year-round schools. We really grew attached to our hometown. It hasn't been easy, but it's made easier that it's been 80 degrees everyday.”