Today, the Cubs’ upcoming cable channel, Marquee Sports Network, announced a new hire: Michael Santini has been hired away from MLB Network to be Marquee’s new Senior VP of Programming and Production.
From the official release:
In his role at Marquee Sports Network, Santini will be responsible for managing the network’s live programming, pregame and postgame shows, and all original content. Santini also will oversee all on-air talent, production staff and network crew members.
“To be selected to lead programming and production for Marquee Sports Network is beyond exciting,” said Santini. “MLB Network was a challenging, fluid and fast-paced environment. I am honored and grateful to have that same opportunity this time in Chicago for one of the most iconic sports franchises with the best fan base in the game.”
Best of luck to Santini, as the programming needs for a channel built primarily around about 150 three-hour baseball games will leave a whoooooole lot of airspace to try to fill with compelling content. I very much look forward to what they can put together, though I understand it might take a year or two for the non-baseball-game content to hit its stride.
Meanwhile, Patrick Mooney today released a must-read piece on the coming network, getting into a host of peripheral topics (including reiterations from Marquee that yes, yes, yes, Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies will be in the booth at the new place):
Inside the Marquee launch and the Cubs' big bet on a new TV network: Details on Len and JD, David Ross, new hires, carriage deals, programming plans, a gambling element and the politics question. https://t.co/5vmMdYbTn5
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) November 5, 2019
That’s a good read all around to give you a sense of things, but the main “news” thing that stands out is that, although Marquee isn’t commenting on any other carriage negotiations, they see the DIRECTV/AT&T deal as a very good sign, and there is reportedly progress toward a deal with YouTube TV (a reminder that, in addition to the traditional cable/satellite networks, the Cubs also have to lock down deals with the major streaming services to provide the channel locally).