Fusion’s Dan Le Batard’s Brutal Honesty Shines in 5 Questions

By Brian Flood 

The hit ESPN Radio program The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz will be simulcasted on Fusion starting Tuesday at 4pmET. We caught up with Le Batard for 5 Questions and he didn’t pull any punches while discussing his show, co-host and even ABC’s World News Tonight anchor David Muir.

TVNewser: What elements of the radio show will change now that people will actually be able to see you and Stugotz on Fusion?

Le Batard: The amount I’m sweating? The invitation of profound discomfort because it isn’t natural if you aren’t a Kardashian to have 50 cameras whirling about? We’ll turn that sweat into a pool we all swim in. I’ve told everyone involved that I don’t want the radio show changing at all, and I haven’t met any resistance on that. We want a TV show that frames and accents what the radio show does.

TVNewser: Highly Questionable on ESPN2 isn’t going away… how did you finagle having two shows, on two different networks, at basically the same time?

Le Batard: I honestly didn’t go looking for either of them. I just told people who like and care about me, and people I like and care about, that it’d be nice to work with family and friends in this point in my career. Writing is lonely. I wanted to laugh, with a community. And people who are a lot more ambitious than me put it together around the contagious fun that we have.

That said, ESPN’s higher ups have been trying to help Fusion since the beginning and this seemed like an easy fit given that the radio show isn’t already on television and that ESPN doesn’t really have a place to put it on TV at the moment. Not a lot of easy fits for a 3-hour TV show, no matter how many networks you have.

TVNewser: Stugotz has the on-air persona of a phlegm-filled, wing-eating average Joe but he’s actually a smart guy who once managed an entire station, right?

Le Batard: Ummmm….Stugotz falls somewhere between primate and caveman on the evolutionary chart. But he is smart enough to laugh at himself and smart enough to be in on the joke and smart enough to not be sensitive and smart enough to play a really, really difficult role very, very well. The show couldn’t be what it is without him, and there’s no one quite like him at ESPN except for maybe my father. I imagine Stugotz is the oldest son my father wishes he had.

Yes, Stugotz built and managed the entire station. It was like watching a gorilla in a computer store, but it somehow worked.

TVNewser: OK, but how many episodes until he’s on TV covered in blue cheese or tries to read a promo with phlegm clogging his throat?

Le Batard: We did a trial run of practice shows last week. He was awful and smelled bad and super phlegmy. This promises to be unpleasant.

TVNewser: The Fusion audience is about to discover your game in which you identify what athletes and sports figures look like. But we’re a TV news blog… so what does David Muir look like?

Le Batard: David Muir looks like the cartoon depiction of a TV-newsman superhero who accidentally emerges from the TV truck with a brush, instead of a microphone, in a cartoon series built around the villains working in tandem to try to get a single hair out of place.

Dan LeBatard