First impressions of Jim Rome’s new show

Because of classes, the ESPN shows I watch and the inability to switch channels with no one home, I wasn’t able to see the first episode of Jim Rome’s new show on the CBS Sports Network, Rome. I did, however, watch the second episode on Wednesday, so what’s my verdict after what I said about his ESPN show, Jim Rome is Burning, a while back?

While the show’s structure is fundamentally the same as JRIB, it seems to have embraced the rushed nature of Rome’s takes and has condensed them considerably. JRIB normally saw four takes in the first segment, maybe five. That Wednesday, I saw seven different takes in the first segment, and that only lasted about six minutes. During the last segment, I saw a total of nine takes, almost tweet-length, or short enough for PTI‘s Big Finish, during the last segment; on its predecessor, rarely was there even three “Final Burns”.

This simple change turns out to produce two segments good enough for me to watch on a regular basis. Back in December, I threw out a whole swath of potential changes to the opening segment, from no longer reusing takes from his radio show to ditching the music in the background to getting a cohost to introduce each topic. Several other changes have been introduced – for example, Rome is now sitting down in the first segment, though it’s harder to notice than you might think – but as it turns out, all it took to improve Rome’s show considerably is one simple change with ripple effects on other aspects, as the topics now seem to flow better.

However, it only produces two segments like this. The fact is that the show completely grinds to a halt in the middle two segments. “Goin’ In” seems to come closer to restoring the original intent of the Forum, but it’s a jarring contrast to the fast-paced “Rome Wants” segment that follows it. Considering the pace the rest of the show goes at, it’s worth wondering whether the bookend segments have been made too fast. Ultimately, speeding up Rome’s takes only serves as a band-aid to the larger problem, to the extent that the show really feels like a series of disconnected segments than a cohesive whole.

One thing Friday’s and Monday’s shows, which ditched “The Newsmaker” interview segment in favor of a second “Goin’ In” segment, put into focus for me is that “The Newsmaker” grinds the show to a halt more than “Goin’ In”; the latter segment actually makes sense as a way to go more in-depth on some of the topics covered in brief in the opening segment. Perhaps that should be made the case full-time, but there’d be even more of a contrast if “The Newsmaker” was placed in the penultimate spot and immediately followed by “Rome Wants” (though two “Goin’ In” segments full-time is probably overkill).

At least when the show was on ESPN there was limited space in the schedule for it to air; on CBS Sports Network, there is no excuse for the show not to be a full hour. Do you know what airs on CBS Sports Network in the 6:30 ET timeslot immediately following Rome? A re-air of the episode of Rome that just aired! The only conclusion I can come to is that CBS is anticipating adding another sports talk/debate show in the following time slot at some unspecified point in the future. If the show doesn’t expand, though, and “The Newsmaker” is going to be kept, I would suggest at least trying moving it to the penultimate segment.

Also, Rome really needs a better phrase to start the show with than “Let’s do this”.

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