Comcast SportsNet talk show lives on without Tribune

It's official: Chicago Tribune and Comcast SportsNet Chicago are splitsville.

As tipped here Thursday, the Tribune has pulled the plug on its title sponsorship of Chicago Tribune Live, the flagship weeknight talk show that's been airing on the regional sports network since October 2004.

Starting next week, the roundtable discussion program featuring guests from the media, sports and entertainment worlds will be retitled SportsTalk Live. It will continue to air from 5:30 to 6:30pm Monday through Friday, with veteran sportscaster Dave Kaplan as host.

Kaplan, who has hosted Chicago Tribune Live since January 2008, said of the new show: “I look forward to bringing the greatest sports fans in the world an engaging and lively sports debate show that will include the biggest guests and the hottest topics on a nightly basis.”

In addition to drawing from a wider range of guests outside of the Tribune, new to the format will be enhanced "fan engagement" through social media. Kaplan will invite viewers to contribute to the show by posting their comments on Twitter and Facebook.

“Our goal for SportsTalk Live is to provide Chicago sports fans with a voice on this show, making them a part of the panel discussion each and every night,” Phil Bedella, vice president and general manager of Comcast SportsNet, said in a statement.  “Through a wider range of guests, topics and high-energy debates, not to mention our host David Kaplan leading the charge, we’re looking forward to SportsTalk Live being a very entertaining and informative experience for our viewers.”

No reason was cited for the Tribune's withdrawal. Kaplan continues his association with the company as host of WGN Sports Night from 7 to 10pm Monday through Friday on Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN-AM (720).


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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)