The Fantasy Show
|The Fantasy Show|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original release||August 31 – November 9, 2006|
The Fantasy Show is a fantasy football talk and debate show on ESPN2. The show was supposed to air for 18 weeks a year during the National Football League season every Thursday at 6:30pm ET on ESPN2. However, the debut season of the show only had 11 episodes (see the Cancellation or Termination debate below).
The thirty-minute program consisted of stats, charts, recommended benchings, trash talking, trade debates and updates on the personalities of The Fantasy Show's own fantasy football league. The Fantasy Draft Special aired at a special time at 5:30pm ET on Thursday, August 31, 2006. An odd thing about The Fantasy Show from other shows is that it was broadcast in a living room type set and Stone, Berry and Jaworski were dressed in casual apparel. It was produced by ESPN Original Entertainment.
Hosts and contributors
The show was hosted by ESPN veteran Rob Stone, who has covered the MLS and World Cup the majority of his time at ESPN. Joining Stone was fantasy expert Matthew Berry from TalentedMrRoto.com and seventeen-year NFL veteran Ron Jaworski. Others contributing to the show were: Will Carroll, who served as the Injury Insider, Antonio Freeman, hosting the segment called Free's Flex, where he would inform fantasy players of the second and third wide receivers they needed to acquire and start and Danni Boatwright, who also contributed to the show.
While Freeman's Free's Flex included information about unnoticed and under-the-radar players, the advice of main commentator Matthew Berry was often extreme and over-the-top.
The October 19, 2006 episode
On the October 19, 2006 episode of The Fantasy Show, Berry advised fantasy owners of LaDainian Tomlinson to trade him away claiming that Tomlinson would never have another game that season with four touchdowns as he had done the previous Sunday when the San Diego Chargers beat the San Francisco 49ers, claiming Tomlinson's fantasy value was as high as it would ever get and that fantasy owners should cash in on Tomlinson's currently over-inflated value. Tomlinson since Berry's statement went on to have two more games where he scored four touchdowns for the Chargers in NFL weeks 10 and 11. Berry also stated that he did not believe St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson would rush for 1,000 yards as he had done in the 2005 NFL season. Jackson crossed the 1,000 yard mark in week 13 of the 2006 NFL season, with 4 games still remaining on the Rams schedule. Such bold and incorrect predictions would have proved unpopular amongst the audience members who followed Berry's advice.
Cancellation or termination
On November 16, ESPN failed to air The Fantasy Show, broadcasting the 2006 World Series of Poker instead. Fans of The Fantasy Show appeared on various Internet web sites asking about the sudden disappearance and apparent cancellation of the show by ESPN. Confusing the matter, Internet TV listing web sites including Yahoo! continued to list The Fantasy Show as airing at 5:30 pm ET on ESPN2 on November 23, one week after the first missed episode. Meanwhile, ESPN seemed to indicate that the show was over by its lack of any further mention of the show. ESPN's own TV listing web site, espntv.com, showed 2006 World Series of Poker as airing during that time. Further, the links to The Fantasy Show on ESPN's web site pointed to a web page that no longer existed.
On November 22, a post at Berry's official website (http://www.talentedmrroto.com/forum/Topic281455-38-1.aspx#bm281579) inquired if the show was cancelled. The response from one of the website's other employees was as follows:
No, fear not, Legion of TMR fans. There was no cancellation. In fact, the Fantasy Show was definitely well received by all. This is merely the end of the first season's run. Look for bigger and better things coming down the pike... but I'll let the TMR announce such things when and how he sees fit.
While no official announcement from ESPN has been made, all indications would be that The Fantasy Show was at least terminated prematurely in its debut season if not canceled completely, despite the above comment by "Pete" on Barry's website. If this information is ultimately substantiated, the number of episodes of the program per season would then be 11 instead of 18 as originally listed. It would seem that at best this is an effort to put a positive spin on the situation, however, since if indeed only 11 shows were to be made it seems unlikely then that ESPN would not have originally provided TV lineup data listing The Fantasy Show as continuing to air for more than a month after its final show for the 2006 season (some TV listing guides were showing The Fantasy Show as airing as late as Thursday, December 21). Given the lack of an announcement on the November 9 (Week 10) episode from the show's host or commentators that they were done for the season and the original TV lineup data provided by ESPN, it would seem that the show's 2006 season was terminated prematurely. Given the above comment on Barry's website, it would seem that The Fantasy Show will at least be reformatted and changed from its 2006 format if it re-appears for the 2007 NFL season.