ESPN was playing a dangerous game when it partnered with Barstool Sports for a new early morning show on ESPN 2, Barstool Van Talk.
And, well, to say things did not go smoothly is a bit of an understatement.
Just before Barstool Van Talk was set to make its ESPN debut, NFL Sunday Countdown host Sam Ponder called out the show’s co-hosts for a previous post written for Barstool Sports that featured derogatory language directed at Ponder and her child.
That led to a firestorm on social media, but the show’s debut went on as planned.
On Monday afternoon, however, just over 24 hours until the second episode of the show was set to air, ESPN president John Skipper issued a statement saying ESPN has decided to cancel the show.
The statement read:
Effective immediately, I am canceling Barstool Van Talk.
While we had approval on the content of the show, I erred in assuming we could distance our efforts from the Barstool site and its content.
Apart from this decision, we appreciate the efforts of Big Cat and PFT Commenter. They delivered the show they promised.
Barstool Sports has also issued a statement on the cancellation of the show.
According to Richard Deitsch of SI.com, Barstool Van Talk on ESPN 2 averaged just 88,000 viewers for the premiere episode, with just 13,000 viewers coming from women in the 18-49 demographic.
If you’re going to be a controversial brand associated to a company like Disney and the Worldwide Leader while causing drama with your co-workers, the recipe for success is generally a tough one. Barstool Van Talk found that out the hard way.