Highly Questionable

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Highly Questionable
Highly Questionable logo.jpg
Starring Gonzalo Le Batard
Dan Le Batard
Bomani Jones (2013–2017)
Country of origin United States
Production
Location(s) Miami Beach, Florida
Running time 30 minutes
Release
Original network ESPN2 (2011–15)
ESPN (2015–present)
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
HDTV 720p
Original release September 12, 2011 (2011-09-12) – present
Chronology
Related shows Pardon the Interruption

Highly Questionable (abbreviated HQ) is a daily sports talk television program that airs on weekdays on ESPN at 4:30 PM Eastern and then repeats later at 5:30 on ESPN2 as well as throughout the night on ESPNews. Created as a vehicle for Miami Herald sportswriter and ESPN contributor Dan Le Batard, who also hosts his own radio show for the network, the show premiered on September 12, 2011. From its premiere until May 2013, the show bore Le Batard's name and was called Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable (DLHQ), and from its premiere until March 23, 2015 the show aired on ESPN2.The program is based in Le Batard's hometown of Miami, Florida and was created by the same people behind Pardon the Interruption (PTI), which Le Batard has appeared on multiple times as a substitute host. The show is hosted by Le Batard and his father Gonzalo "Papi" Le Batard and as of September 2014 emanates from a studio at the Clevelander Hotel in South Beach.


Since September 2014, Highly Questionable is recorded on location at The Clevelander Hotel in South Beach, Miami Beach. Le Batard's radio show and Jones' Around the Horn segments are also broadcast from here. Previously it was recorded on a studio set designed to resemble a stereotypical Miami kitchen.[1][2] As a nod to the previous set, a bowl filled with plastic fruit is placed on the table all three men sit at to do the show. The show is produced out of Washington, D.C.[3][4]

History[edit]

The show was announced in August 19, 2011, as a creative project between Dan Le Batard and the producers of Pardon the Interruption. The show, and the introduction of Le Batard's father Gonzalo to the project, was part of an effort by ESPN to attract more Latino viewers.[5][6][7][8] DLHQ premiered on Monday September 12, 2011.[5][9][10] Beginning in 2012, other ESPN personalities including Bomani Jones, Michael Wilbon, and Bill Simmons appeared as contributors to the show.[6][11][12]

On May 13, 2013, Le Batard got a second co-host when frequent guest Bomani Jones, who had been based out of North Carolina, joined the now-renamed Highly Questionable..[13][14] In June 2017, Le Batard said that was the moment the show found its footing, as Jones' addition helped it gain enough viewers to avoid what was considered to be a near certain cancellation.

On March 23, 2015, Highly Questionable was moved from ESPN2 to ESPN weekdays at 4:30 PM Eastern, leading into sister shows Around the Horn and PTI.[15][16]

In May 2017, ESPN announced that Jones would be leaving HQ in June 2017 while a new show featuring him and Pablo S. Torre is developed.[17] His last show was on Thursday, June 22, 2017, and he received an emotional send off from both of his colleagues. The show will employ a series of guest hosts for the time being, with no word on whether a permanent replacement for Jones will be named.

Guest hosts[edit]

Whenever necessary, Highly Questionable has had substitute hosts for when Le Batard (or Jones, until his departure) is unavailable. Among those to fill the role of substitute are Le Batard's radio co-host Jon "Stugotz" Weiner, former NFL player and current ESPN writer Domonique Foxworth, Le Batard's Miami Herald colleague Israel Gutierrez, and rapper Lil Wayne.

The set[edit]

The original set for the show was located in Hialeah, Florida just outside of Miami.[8] The set was designed to resemble a 1950s-era Miami/Cuban kitchen, in the spirit of a television sitcom. The set also featured old Le Batard family photos.[1][2][3][4][6]

In late summer, 2014, the show moved to a new set on the second floor of the Clevelander Hotel in Miami's South Beach. The new studio is designed as a more conventional set, while retaining Miami-themed colors, and featuring a window looking out to South Beach. The new set premiered on September 8, 2014.[1][2][18] As a nod to the previous set, a bowl filled with plastic fruit is placed on the table all three men sit at to do the show. The Clevelander studios are also used for Le Batard and Jones' radio shows, and the appearances of Jones, Israel Gutierrez, and other Miami-based panelists on Around the Horn.[1][2]

Segments[edit]

The show is broken into 4 segments.[3][5][14] Each segment utilizes a question-answer format, with questions for the non-guest segments coming from fans. Each show begins with Le Batard introducing the panel, Jones offering a pithy commentary on one of the discussion topics, and Le Batard telling his father "vamos, Papi," (or more recently "dale, Papi") which kicks off the show.

Opening questions[edit]

A series of viewer submitted questions begin the proceedings. Papi reads each of them from an Apple iPad in front of him, and Le Batard and Jones each take turns addressing the audience with their takes while Papi chimes in with a random non sequitur. Occasionally, Dan and Papi sometimes find questions humorous or ignorant enough in nature to the point where they are not worth answering, and just simply laugh instead.[14][19] Once in awhile, Papi will say something completely ridiculous and potentially damaging; when he does this, a technical difficulty bumper will play for several seconds and Le Batard will prompt Papi to apologize.

On certain Mondays, particularly during the National Football League regular season, the "Questions" segment will continue into the second segment.

Guest interview[edit]

During the second segment, a pretaped interview with a guest airs. The questions are usually related to a current issue or event in sports, and Dan and Bomani often ask about the guest's life outside of sports. Papi asks the final question, usually about topics unrelated to sports.[14]

On days when no guest is available, one of several things will happen. One of "Papi's famous interview medleys", with highlights from past interviews shown, might play or a second set of questions might be asked. "Do You Question" (see below) may also serve as the second segment, and more and more frequently does serve that purpose.

During the commercial break, there is often a brief interlude where Papi recites lyrics to a rap or hip-hop song.

"Do You Question"[edit]

The third segment is essentially a repeat of the first segment, and is introduced by Jones by saying, "you give us topics and events, we question 'em." The only difference is that they begin with "Do you question..." and often feature humorous video clips that do not necessarily have anything to do with sports.[14]

"¿Sí o No?"[edit]

The final segment of the show relates to television programming. The three hosts are given the name of a program airing that evening and offer their opinions on whether or not they are intrigued. Each responds with "Sí" or "No" while holding up a placard with his response. Most of the programs are sports related but at least one is a general interest program such as a documentary or reality program.[14] Papi has the on-show reputation for responding "Sí" to just about everything and often comes up with odd reasons for doing so, such as a team with a "Latino player" (sometimes an actual Latino player, but other times one with a Spanish-sounding name or even one he completely makes up, like "Miguel Verde" or "Bernardo Bishopo") who is going to have a "helluva game" or who will be a "name you'll never forget" (which he promptly forgets), or humorous misunderstandings of the shows in question.

The Banana Phone[edit]

One of the show's most frequently used running gags is the Banana Phone, where Papi imitates a ringing telephone and picks up the banana out of the plastic fruit bowl to (pretend to) speak to someone on the other end. To further the gag a cord is attached to the banana.

Usually, Papi calls his bookie "Juanito" and tells him to "put everything" on the team he thinks will win. Juanito takes bets on virtually any sporting event known to man, from the America's Cup to middle school basketball. Papi is also known to thank Juanito for a tip he allegedly gave him or implying that he had a role in a certain event's outcome, including horses crashing at the finish line of a race, or other bloopers.

In more recent episodes the gag has expanded to having Papi pretend to speak to other people besides Juanito. During the 2017 NBA playoffs, Papi frequently received "calls" from Fred Hoiberg, the head coach of the Chicago Bulls who complained frequently about traveling calls not being made against Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics; to this effect, Hoiberg always phones in when he believes a traveling call was missed.

The number to call Papi from the Banana Phone is 1-80-BANANA.

End of the show[edit]

After "Sí o No", the show comes to an end with Papi thanking the viewers for watching. Le Batard follows with his own goodbye, reminding the viewers when to catch the show again and occasionally promoting either his or Jones' radio show. Jones has the last word, saying "Gracias, see ya mañana" or "see ya el lunes" depending on the day of the week (lunes being Spanish for Monday; this is usually said to close the Friday show). After this, there is a brief interlude where something from the previous segment or from earlier in the show is revisited humorously before the show cuts out.

On-set guests[edit]

Occasionally during the commercial interlude, a special guest would appear on the set. During the use of the kitchen-themed set, the guest could be seen utilizing the kitchen, supposedly without Dan or Gonzalo noticing. On the Clevelander set, the guests have appeared in studio, sometimes joining the panel for the "¿Sí o No?" segment.[20] Special guests have included Lil Wayne,[20] Pat Riley, Jason Taylor, Kimbo Slice, Sebastian the Ibis, Isiah Thomas, Ron Magill, Steven Bauer, Pedro Martínez, Micky Arison, Mike Lowell, Lil Dicky, Robert Smith, and Pat Sajak among others.

"Papi Awards"[edit]

Since 2014, Highly Questionable presents the "Papi Awards", an end of the year special which consists of a series of awards based on video clips that were usually visited in Do You Question. Papi dresses in a tuxedo while Le Batard and Jones served as his co-hosts, and each category has a winner and two runners-up. Each "winner" receives the "Golden Banana", a trophy made for the occasion. A constant running gag for the awards is that the winners are not able to receive the award in person for various reasons, so the trophy is held over for each subsequent award.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Hall, Andy (September 8, 2014). "Highly Questionable debuts new look from South Beach’s Clevelander Hotel". espnfrontrow.com. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d Hall, Andy (September 5, 2014). "ESPN’s Highly Questionable, ESPN Radio’s The Dan Le Batard Show Getting New Studio Homes at Clevelander South Beach". ESPN MediaZone. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c Hall, Andy (December 4, 2013). "How teams in D.C. and Miami work together to assemble daily doses of Highly Questionable". ESPN Front Row. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Hall, Andy (September 8, 2014). "Long-distance collaboration and "kitchen" chemistry produce successful recipe for Highly Questionable". ESPN Front Row. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c Press Release (August 19, 2011). "ESPN to Debut Two New Studio Shows: Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable and Numbers Never Lie". ESPN MediaZone. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c Rojas, Ingrid (October 4, 2012). "ESPN's 'Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable' Is Putting the Accent on Sports Talk Show". ABC News. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  7. ^ Glasspiegel, Ryan (May 18, 2015). "Dan Le Batard Talks to Us About His Shows, Papi, and Bill Simmons [PODCAST]". The Big Lead. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  8. ^ a b Le Batard, Dan (September 28, 2011). "Small repayments of Dad's giant love". ESPN.com. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  9. ^ Nesheim, Jay Jay (September 8, 2011). "Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable to Premiere September 12 on ESPN2". ESPN MediaZone. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  10. ^ Cote, Greg (September 14, 2011). "On Dan Le Batard's new TV show (with poll); plus Sarah Palin/Glen Rice, why Marlins cut Cameron, Tweeting, semi-nude rugby & more". Miami Herald. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  11. ^ "Bomani Jones signs new deal with ESPN". SBNation.com. Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  12. ^ Cain, Brooke (May 25, 2013). "Local sports talk personality makes the move to ESPN". The News & Observer. Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  13. ^ Hall, Andy (January 24, 2014). "Bomani Jones and the Le Batards put everything on the kitchen table as Highly Questionable returns today". espnfrontrow.com. ESPNFrontRow.com. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f Wyatt, Timothy (July 26, 2013). "GOT SUMMER SPORTS DEPRESSION? WE’VE GOT YOUR CURE: ESPN2′S HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE". Glide Magazine. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  15. ^ Michelis, Belen (March 16, 2015). "ESPN ThisWeek – March 16, 2015". ESPN MediaZone. Retrieved 8 June 2016. 
  16. ^ Glasspiegel, Ryan (March 20, 2015). "Mark Schlereth Leaving ESPN Radio Program; Jorge Sedano and Bomani Jones Getting Solo Shows". The Big Lead. Retrieved 8 June 2016. 
  17. ^ http://espnmediazone.com/us/press-releases/2017/05/bomani-jones-pablo-torre-host-new-show-espn/
  18. ^ "THE ULTIMATE DESTINATION FOR SPORTS + ENTERTAINMENT IN MIAMI". Clevelander South Beach Hotel and Bar. Retrieved 8 June 2016. 
  19. ^ "Dan Le Batard and Dad rip Dan Gilbert". 2011-12-15. Retrieved 2013-03-28. 
  20. ^ a b Tardio, Andres (April 29, 2015). "Watch Lil Wayne Do a Hilarious Version of 'HYFR': Weezy and Papi Connect". MTV News. Retrieved 19 June 2016. 
  21. ^ ESPN's Highly Questionable - The 2015 Papi Awards December 25, 2015. Retrieved January 23, 2016.