Posted by: marcmwm | April 16, 2009

BTN exec producer Leon Schweir on the new football shows

Big Ten Network executives know what you want. They know you want football.

Next fall, the BTN is dishing it out in buckets.

“They’re is pretty much an unsated appetite when it comes to football,” said Leon Schweir, BTN executive producer. “We’ve had a fair amount of football programming and our thought was to have more and to give people hints about certain things.”

That led to four shows that will debut next fall.

Big Ten Breakdown (Tuesdays, 9 PM CT):

From the BTN release: “Every week, Big Ten coaches and players review the previous week’s game film, looking for the positives and the negatives. Our analysts will give fans a look at the subtle nuances of the game and what affected the teams’ success.”

Schweir said the network hasn’t been huge in Xs and Os, but has the studio talent to go a little farther in this direction. Of course, he’s talking about Gerry DiNardo and Glen Mason, former Big Ten coaches who’ve been associated with the network from the beginning.

“We think we can do more (X and O),” he said. “Earlier in the week, I think fans are more open and reception to some analysis and that type of look at a game. You have an emotional attachment either side of the game, but if you’re talking about the coming weekend, I think Tuesday night is a good night to breakdown what did and didn’t work for each team from the previous weekend.”

Big Ten Media Blitz (Wednesdays, 9 PM CT):

From the BTN release: “The show includes segments from press conferences, media interviews and the games, as well as other behind-the-scenes footage, and is hosted from our Chicago studios.”

Last fall, the BTN had a show that focused on all the teams’ press conferences during the week (most have them Monday or Tuesday). This will also be a “go behind the scenes” day. The BTN is hoping to develop an “access” piece, with either a player or coach at practice that will have a mic or players off the field doing what players do (video games, eat, sleep, study).

“We’re looking for the ‘in their own words,’ ” Schweir said.

Big Ten Game Plan (Thursdays, 9 PM CT):

From the BTN release, “Our resident head coaches go head-to-head each week, breaking down film and putting together game plans for the upcoming week’s games.”

The schedules need to be worked out, but this will likely pit DiNardo against Mason in a football coach version of “Around the Horn,” the ESPN show with the sportswriters and the points.

The premise is the two coaches would gameplan against each other given two or three key conference matchups that week. Each will preface that they’re either an offensive or defensive coach for the opposite teams. It’ll be point, counter-point. The BTN is working on the judge and scoring concept. It’ll probably include studio host Dave Revsine, but that hasn’t been finalized.

“They’re coaches and they’re doing coaches’ plans, so they’ve got to have a win-loss record somewhere there,” Schweir said. “We’re crafting that.” 

Big Ten Football and Beyond (Fridays, 9 PM CT):

From the BTN release, “Our team previews the weekend’s games with reports from each Big Ten stadium. The show also takes a look at key national matchups that could impact Big Ten postseason plans.”

The BTN is stressing fan access and a look outside the conference into prominent national games with the Friday night show this year.

The BTN will hit as many Big Ten venues as it had before with check-ins from sideline reporters. But the fan/viewer access will have a spot. E-mails and texts will be answered on air.

The national look will be focused on teams that might end up going head-to-head with Big Ten schools in the postseason. So, that’d probably include some talk on the Pac-10 and USC, with the Big Ten and the Rose Bowl in play. There might be a look at the SEC, which has two bowl matchups with the Big Ten. And, because it’s a neighbor, the Big 12 would likely get some play.

The BTN would probably have someone designated as a national reporter/commentator.

“Our thought is it opens discussion with our own guys, after we’ve done the presentation,” Schweir said. “We’d probably follow that up with a look at that game (national) and what it meant on our Sunday night show (which will still be Big Ten Tonight).

“Friday night is probably our most local show, but we’re going to have a national look too.”

All four shows are scheduled to begin the week of Sept. 1. All Big Ten teams open Sept. 5, except Indiana, which plays host to Eastern Kentucky on Thursday night, Sept. 3.

The BTN announced Wednesday that it will televise eight primetime football games next fall, including the Hawkeyes’ Oct. 24 game at Michigan State.

This is Kinnick Stadium at night, before the kickoff against Ohio State in 2006. (Gazette file)

This is Kinnick Stadium at night, before the kickoff against Ohio State in 2006. (Gazette file)



  1. Does this mean we have to wait another year for the BTN to debut it’s weekly “Beer O’Clock” show?

  2. Aw man, I never made it past the pitch meeting.

    I feel one coming on going into the weekend. I’ve tried so many beers since the last one, including a trip into the Three Floyds’ brew pub. Got a line on a bottle of Dark Lord, too. A couple of friends are going to the Dark Lord Day. I begged them.

    Thanks for the suggestion on the Torpedo. I need to snap up some more of that. Sierra Nevada is underrated.

    Tried Dogfish Head’s 120 IPA. With all due respect, it was an abomination. Took three sips and dumped it, a $9 12-ounce bottle of beer. I like DHead’s other IPAs, but will never try the 120 again.

    Got a bonus from Wisconsin last weekend, a Ballistic IPA by Ale Asylum.

  3. I was in Cedar Rapids last night checking out drivers at Dicks. I almost made a detour to Benz but, since I’d never been there, decided not to go exploring in the dark.

  4. I picked up Torpedo at Benz and a 12 pack of Big Foot. Didn’t see anymore Big Foot last time I was there.

    Benz keeps a lot of great bombers around. Since the flood, I haven’t seen Grain Belt.

    Bought an Oban 14-year-old last time I was there.

  5. I’ve been drinking Boulevard Single Wide IPA lately. It’s a decent IPA. Kind of a little brother to the Double Wide from the Smokestack Series.

  6. I bought a bottle of the Double Wide the last time out. Haven’t cracked it yet. Maybe tomorrow night after the scrimmage.

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