Saturday, July 29, 2017

On The Air: Outside The Lines (1990)

It is ESPN's sports-centric answer to 60 Minutes, albeit in a more compact form.

Outside The Lines launched in 1990 as a series of monthly investigative specials, anchored by long time SportsCenter anchor Bob Ley. Ratings success led to the specials graduating into a half-hour series, which first aired on Sundays, then added a daily berth. The Sunday edition was discontinued earlier this year when ESPN decided that another, similar series of specials, E:60, was ready to become a weekly series, supplanting Lines and The Sports Reporters (previously reviewed) from the Sunday morning lineup. Befitting its title, Outside The Lines looks past the headlines and digs deeper into the reality behind the stories. The daily version continues on to this day, at least for now.

In 1999, Outside The Lines took a look at professional wrestling, and its impact on sports.

Ten years later, Vince McMahon would famously tell Jeremy Schaap that he'd never retire, though the ratings today suggest that maybe he should ignore his own boasts. Maybe it requires a fresh Outside The Lines to make him understand that.

Rating: A.

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