by mike in boston / @mikeinboston / email
This is a quick post. We will have more details and analysis in the coming days.
A year and a half after having drive time to themselves, the Tim & Sid show is ending.
— Tim and Sid (@timandsid) January 22, 2021
This concludes an uncomfortable era for Sportsnet in the afternoons. After bringing in Tim & Sid to lead in to McCown and PTS, Scott Moore made the decision to put the two shows head to head. This famously led to the loss of Stephen Brunt as a PTS co-host. As David Shoalts wrote for the Globe at the time:
“McCown, with a well-earned reputation as a curmudgeon, has not hesitated to make it clear he did not like the company’s decision to move Tim & Sid from the afternoon radio slot that led into his own show to directly opposite him on television. Management’s rationale was that Tim & Sid appealed to a younger audience than Prime Time, and boosted television ratings in the supper hour.”
A few years later, McCown would be fired and Tim & Sid would eventually be simulcast on TV and radio. With Sid leaving, Tim will continue with guest hosts, but plans for the long term have not been announced. Here are some further details from the press release:
“I’ve always been curious to explore other areas of the business and this was a unique opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.” – Sid Seixeiro
Question: is this a unique opportunity? I guess if you want to talk about the Bachelor at 6am, then yes? If you are unfamiliar with Breakfast Television, “BT airs live each weekday from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. ET on Citytv and Citytv.com in Ontario, featuring a national hour available in all Citytv markets starting at 9 a.m.”
“As Sid begins his next chapter within the Rogers Sports & Media family, we truly thank him for his dedication as a driving force behind Tim & Sid and his commitment to helping Sportsnet grow to Canada’s #1 sports network.” – Bart Yabsley
Tim & Sid were indeed a big part of helping Sportsnet compete with TSN. They brought a different audience to the radio station, and some of them carried over to the television show. However, we have been hearing that the show was too expensive for the ratings for many years now. Their production staff was slashed in recent years. The show will be cheaper still going forward.
“While it is one door closing, it is also the opening of a new window of opportunity for myself and the show. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a book overflowing with ideas and I can’t wait to use this fresh start to work on some of them with a bunch of my talented colleagues at Sportsnet.” – Tim Micallef
This quote speaks for itself. A fresh start implies that some ideas weren’t going to work with the old show. It will be interesting to see how the new show differentiates itself from the Tim & Sid that many came to love. In terms of current colleagues, the obvious replacements would be Donnovan Bennett and Arash Madani. Both have guest-hosted in the past and would fit right in.
The main question is whether the show itself has a future. Is Tim & Donnovan the show you want to drive home to on FAN590? Is that show going to do any better in the TV and radio ratings than Tim & Sid?
We had this discussion so many times with the end of PTS: how do you replace that kind of show without inviting unflattering comparisons? The obvious answer is you go in another direction. That is what Jordan Banks & Co will be thinking about over the next month. If you want to cut the cord with the legacy of Tim&Sid, what’s a new idea?
One possibility that is already on the table is bringing McCown back. There is little reason to think he would return for what they would pay him in these austere times. That said, these are unusual circumstances and a slimmed down PTS could certainly bring a ratings bump to FAN590.
Another option is to elevate Writers Bloc, without Jeff Blair, to the traditional 4-7 slot on radio. Tim would make a great host when paired with more serious co-hosts like Brunt or Deitsch, and this would go a long way toward moving his personal brand away from the comedic set-up role he often occupied on Tim&Sid. Blair could focus more on Blue Jays and soccer, and possibly fill the Wilner gap before and after Jays games.
The question I cannot shake is why SN/590 never managed to give Tim&Sid in the morning a try. Their style is best suited to that time slot, and, as evidenced by Sid’s decision to go to BT, he was willing to move. Compared to the many morning shows FAN590 has trotted out over the last decade, Tim & Sid AM would have been a relatively strong option.
Whatever happens over the next few weeks there will undoubtedly be more changes leading in to Fall 2021. Sportsnet will want to have their best line-ups forward when life and sports are expected to return to normal.
So, Tim and Sid are no more. At one time over the last couple of years as rumors of McCown getting the boot were swirling there were loud drumbeats that the two were going to be split. Word was then, and maybe it’s not true that the two were great on air together but that was about it. Not much admiration beyond that and the worse rumor was that one felt he was pulling more weight than the other. 18 years together and tongues will wag. Tom and Jerry worked well together but away from the both the led different lives.
I’m the first to admit I was never a fan. I didn’t dislike the show and I respected what they did, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. However, I was in the minority as they were very popular. What led to TV? Who pulled them from the McCown lead in??? Well that’s open to debate. I’ll say that was the beginning of the end. The show never made sense to me after that and neither PTS nor T&S ever recovered.
Putting them on vs Overdrive was the final straw. For the first time ever the timeslot lost and their show slipped into irrelevancy. The end.
So, as was rumored before Sid wanted out, wanted to do more, show that he could do more and now he gets his wish. Early morning news tv is not sport radio /tv. Will women who typically make up the am news tv connect with a 40 something guy named Sid? Time will tell. Careful what you wish for. On the flip side Tim will get the newly common “rotating” co-host until we figure something out.
As I wrote on Twitter they have a few options. One: swallow pride, write a big cheque and bring McCown back. That does nothing for a younger demo but at least it brings back an audience. Two: create the baseball equivalent of OverDrive. The Jays are now favoured to be in contention, and the one thing Rogers has on Bell is Blue Jays. Well, own it then. Become the de facto place for Blue Jays commentary. Third: blow it up. Literally take a blow torch to the lineup and start again. Finally: the could spin wheels and move pieces around and add a name here or there. Yawn.
Management has pledged to be data driven and customer obsessed. I’ve lived that after working for Amazon, the owner of those words. It’s hard and takes a lot of discipline. Which of the above sounds like those two things?
It’s notable that pitchers and catchers report in 28 days. What’s the Jays broadcast going to look like? Who goes where ? When will more changes come? Soon I suspect, very soon.
Congrats to the boys, 18 years is something. I don’t know who said or wished you were fired but that’s not cool. Here’s hoping whatever you want to find apart is as successful as what you had together and you are both happy doing whatever the future holds for both of you.
thanks for reading and commenting,
until next time …
mike (not really in boston)