Tennis Channel to unveil new set, new live show

October 31, 2013

LOS ANGELES — Tennis Channel will unveil a new studio set this November in conjunction with its coverage of the men’s year-end championships Nov. 4-11 and Davis Cup Finals Nov. 15-17. Based in the network’s Culver City, Calif., production-and-operations facility, the new set will serve as the base for the introduction of studio-based, live-coverage lead-in and wrap-up shows – Tennis Channel Live – much like what the network has done on the grounds of the US Open and other tournaments in recent years. In 2014 it also will be the new home of Court Report, the network’s series of nightly tennis news updates.

Built with the latest design sensibilities, Tennis Channel’s new studio set includes four premium rear-projection screens and a state-of-the-art lighting system (artist’s renderings are below). Center stage rests on a raised platform 12 feet in diameter with a wraparound sofa that encloses the space in a semicircle and enables large groups as well as one-on-one interviews. Two 55-inch monitors flank the right and left sides, and the entire set is anchored by a back wall of painted brick and bamboo with wood-grain trim. The set was designed by Las Vegas-based Scenic Technologies, which also created Tennis Channel’s Wimbledon stage at the All England Lawn Tennis Association – the largest in that tournament’s history – and recently the set of blockbuster network series American Idol.

“Viewers have reacted extremely positively to the on-site studio shows at the Slams and other competitions, and we’ve always planned to expand this concept to more events throughout the year,” said Bob Whyley, senior vice president, production, and executive producer, Tennis Channel. “We cover more than 100 tournaments every year, and envision a point where Tennis Channel Live is used to enhance virtually all of them. It was important to us that the new set reflected our signature conversational environment, as opposed to a straight news desk. Tennis has never had this type of studio show on television, and this is a natural progression in our network’s evolution as the sport’s on-air home.”

The introduction of a 24-hour-capable set and studio show marks a major advance in Tennis Channel’s ongoing development. During events like the US Open, French Open and Wimbledon, the network enhances its coverage with tournament-based sets that have become central gathering places where top players, agents, coaches, reporters and other industry leaders congregate around the clock. Tennis Channel Live gives the network the ability to do this from Southern California at any of the other tournaments it carries throughout the year, with essentially a “Grand Slam in a Box” whenever it wants. This capability and central studio presence is even more vital given tennis’ global schedule, daily play, wide variety of time zones, and simultaneous tournaments and matches.

The new set will first appear on air next Monday, Nov. 4, during Tennis Channel’s live, weeklong coverage of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. Hosted by sportscaster Brett Haber, Hall of Famer Tracy Austin and longtime Tennis Channel analyst Jimmy Arias, the first edition of Tennis Channel Live will air from 12:30 p.m.-1 p.m. ET, with a post-match wrap from 5 p.m.-5:15 p.m. Among guests set to appear in studio during the first week are Hall of Famer Michael Chang, renowned coach Paul Annacone, and current players Sam Querrey and Sloane Stephens.

Following November’s men’s year-end championships and Davis Cup Finals, Tennis Channel Live will roll out at select tournaments in early 2014, and appear with increasing frequency as the year progresses.

Tennis Channel’s Court Report news series currently airs from a smaller stage in the Culver City facility, but will move to the new studio set in January.