Tennis Channel adds two new shows

May 18, 2015

LOS ANGELES – In its ninth year of French Open coverage, Tennis Channel is launching two new preview shows that dive into the many variables of match ups and outcomes that could happen at the Paris-based major this year. The network will dedicate more than 13 total hours to Racquet Bracket: French Open and Tennis Channel Live at the French Open, premiering Friday, May 22, 8 p.m. ET and Saturday, May 23, 12 p.m. ET, respectively. Starting on Opening Day Sunday, May 24, through the men’s semifinals Friday, June 5, Tennis Channel will take viewers through 12 days of live coverage at the 2015 French Open, followed by same-day encore matches during the championship weekend. During the two-week event in the City of Light, the network will deliver more than 260 total hours of day-to-night coverage of the tournament, with more than 85 hours of live or first-run matches, nearly 45 hours of encore replays, and 122 hours of three-hour nightly primetime show French Open Tonight (37-and-a-half first-run) hosted by Bill Macatee.

“Tennis Channel has consistently added to its French Open coverage both on-air and digitally over the years,” said Jeremy Langer, vice president of programming, Tennis Channel. “We are continuing this with Racquet Bracket: French Open and Tennis Channel Live at the French Open, both of which will provide excellent context for viewers as we go into the tournament.”

Hall of Famer Tracy Austin (@thetracyaustin), 2007 French Open doubles champion Mark Knowles (@knowlzee10s) and award-winning sportscaster Steve Weissman (@Steve_Weissman) begin the network’s coverage, on the eve of the tournament, as hosts of the new one-hour French Open-draw show Racquet Bracket: French Open. The show breaks down the French Open draw, analyzing possible match ups that could take place in each round. Additionally, the show serves as an added boon for fans who partake in the network’s free annual online “Racquet Bracket” French Open prediction game.

Former World No. 1 Lindsay Davenport (@LDavenport76) along with 1998 French Open mixed doubles champion Justin Gimelstob (@justingimelstob) and renowned commentators Brett Haber (@BrettHaber) and Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim) will host the network’s new Tennis Channel Live at the French Open, a one-hour preview show, which takes place from the Tennis Channel set on tournament grounds in Paris. They will take the audience through the pageantry and prestige of the French Open as tennis’ top talent prepare to make history in one of the oldest stadiums in the sport – Stade Roland Garros.

“Tennis Channel has done a terrific job expanding the amount of tennis on TV. It is great to be part of the effort to bring not just more matches to fans, but to also broaden the dialogue surrounding them,” said Austin.

The network’s usual daily schedule at the French Open is made up of nine-hour match blocks, which begin at 10 a.m. ET. Within each block, live coverage goes from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. ET most days, with encore replays from 3:30 p.m.-7 p.m. ET. Directly following is the nightly recap show French Open Tonight at 7 p.m. ET. After its initial run, the show then re-airs throughout the evening until the following morning. A complete schedule is available below.

French Open Tonight typically premieres from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. ET. It then airs two more times until 4 a.m. ET. Bill Macatee (@Bmacatee) – one of America’s most respected sportscasters – has hosted every season of the show, now in its ninth year. The program provides a nightly discussion of that day’s tournament action, and viewers can see interviews with top players, the day’s best highlights, feature pieces, and full-set and game replays when needed. Macatee talks with many guests on the show, from players fresh from the court to top coaches and tennis officials, as well as Hall of Famers, celebrities, reporters, network analysts and more. Macatee’s conversational approach sets players at ease while making viewers feel as if they are sitting beside him on the elevated Tennis Channel set overlooking the tournament’s historic Musketeer Plaza.

Following early morning encore editions of French Open Tonight, the network will air daily highlights, from 4 a.m.-5 a.m. ET, produced by the French Open’s governing body, the French Tennis Federation. Directly following the highlights, ESPN2 begins its coverage at the start of each day’s play at 5 a.m. ET. As they have done since 2007, Tennis Channel and ESPN2 are offering viewers virtually non-stop, 24-hour coverage of the French Open. Tennis Channel produces all telecasts for both networks, with each cross-promoting the other’s telecast.

The week prior to the start of the French Open, Tennis Channel has a full slate of programming geared toward the tournament. In addition to the two new preview shows, viewers will be able to watch some of the best classic matches from recent French Open history. Starting May 19 through May 21, Tennis Channel will unveil a new classic match each day, ending with last year’s men’s final battle between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on May 23. Other matches include: Rafael Nadal versus Roger Federer (2005 semifinal); Serena Williams versus Maria Sharapova (2013 final); and Garbine Muguruza versus Serena Williams (2014 second round).