After 13 years of unpredictable sportswriters and assorted Gasbags delivering the word and their insights on the fly every afternoon at 5 p.m., SportsNet New York is cancelling "Daily News Live" and replacing it with "The Thread" a fast-paced show covering the hottest sports news of the day.
The "DNL" grand finale will air March 15 and "The Thread" will debut on March 28. SNY reporter/anchor Justine Ward will host the show with the versatile Dan Graca playing a prominent role. The half-hour program will also feature personalities from the social media world, including Julie Stewart-Binks who has worked at Barstool Sports, ESPN and Fox Sports.
"('The Thread') is going to setup the (sports) news of the day and talk about it in a fun way," said Brad Como, SNY's Senior VP/Content Development. "We will also have a bit of social media influence with the best items of the day. We want this to be a fast paced, informative look at what's going on that will feature 'insiders' who specialize in different areas as well."
Como said the decision to make the change was made late in 2018. SNY's contract with the Daily News was set to expire this month. "It wasn't an easy decision to make," Como said. "We built tremendous relationships and had a tremendous run."
The relationship will continue.
"Our writers will continue to appear on SNY's air, and we're excited to expand our partnership across other media," said Daily News Sports editor Kyle Wagner. "We're already collaborating on multiple projects this summer."
The original one-hour version of "DNL" got off to an inauspicious start. It was the first show to ever air on SNY in March 2006. The show (the guest star was Curtis Martin) experienced an immediate audio malfunction, leaving the host Garry (Apple's Way) Apple speechless.
The rough start provided for another unusual circumstance with the loquacious then-Daily News Knicks beatman Frank Isola in an unusually silent mode.
There was talent that got exposure, leading to other gigs in DNL's early days. Names like Kevin Burkhardt, Chris Carlin, Mr. C, Kay Adams, Scott Ferrall, and Adam Schein.
And behind the scenes, where nobody (well maybe a few Gasbags) took themselves seriously, there was likely to be off-camera debate in the tiny Green Room at the old SNY across the street from Radio City Music Hall. Isola was a catalyst, arguing over producers news judgement and the order of stories the panel would discuss.
In the studio, some of the "debate" got heated. None more than when then-Daily News football columnist Gary Myers got into it with then-FAN overnight Gasbag, Marc Malusis. Myers challenged Malusis' football acumen (that's being kind) until host Jonas Schwartz controlled the studio and was able to stop Myers and Malusis from coming to blows.
Schwartz, who can riff and regulate simultaneously, now moves on to anchor "SportsNight" and returns to his role as host of the Jets pre- and post-game show.
Thirteen years is a good run. And great writers, who were not exactly TV guys, came together and mostly had fun. We were on the DNL ride from the beginning. Along the way there were good people, the producers (including The Icon), directors, the technical cats and Magic Angela on makeup, who transformed us into presentable (yeah, that's a reach) guys.
The suits (Steve Raab, Curt Gowdy Jr., a fellow known as Mr. Warmth) basically left us alone.
And in this crazy business, that's all you can ask for.