Sports Tonight (CNN)

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Sports Tonight was a show that aired on CNN from 1980 to 2001, and on CNN/SI from December 12, 1996 to the station's demise on May 15, 2002. It normally aired at 11 p.m. ET.

History[edit]

The early years[edit]

When CNN went on the air on June 1, 1980 one of the first newscasts was a sports bulletin where baseball and North American Soccer League highlights were shown. Later, a nightly show called Sports Tonight went on the air in late night. During this time, Nick Charles and Fred Hickman became established as the show's co-hosts. In addition, CNN aired a weekend show called Sports Saturday and Sports Sunday.

One of the show's most popular features was called "Play of the Day" (later known as the "Replay of the Day"), which showed a highlight (i.e., a spectacular play) from that day's action. This remains a feature of Headline News' sportscasts.

The 1990s and the end[edit]

In 1996, CNN launched a new station called CNN/SI. Sports Tonight was renamed CNN/Sports Illustrated, and was replayed many times throughout the night on CNN/SI, like ESPN was doing (and still does now) with SportsCenter.

The show was renamed Sports Tonight shortly afterwards, and when CNN pre-empted the show in late 2000[1] due to the coverage of the disputed 2000 presidential election, producers decided to differentiate the format from SportsCenter's highlights. Sports Tonight was relaunched in 2001 with a sports talk format, where viewers interacted with the hosts via the Internet and toll-free phone lines about their favorite teams and players. By then, Charles and Hickman were no longer the show's hosts.

Sports Tonight continued on both CNN and CNN/SI until September 2001. When the terrorist attacks occurred on September 11, 2001,[2] CNN went to all-news programming.[3] Three days later, CNN announced that the show would no longer air on CNN,[4] but remain on CNN/SI. In May 2002, CNN/SI shut down operations,[5] and Sports Tonight ended after a 21-year run.

Aftermath[edit]

Since the cancellation of Sports Tonight, CNN has aired various programming at 11 p.m. ET, including Connie Chung Tonight, Lou Dobbs Tonight, Anderson Cooper 360 and (currently) Erin Burnett OutFront

List of Sports Tonight hosts[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]