Epic Poker League – a new professional poker league launching in August in Las Vegas – announced a deal to have matches televised on the CBS Television Network and Discovery Communications’ upcoming Velocity Network. The TV deal will include and 20 hours of original programming in Epic’s inaugural season, mostly on Velocity.
“Epic Poker is proud to partner with CBS Television and Discovery Communications in our inaugural season,” said Jeffrey Pollack, executive chairman of the Epic Poker League and its parent company, Federated Sports + Gaming. “Both companies share our commitment to providing a world-class stage and significant new exposure for poker’s most talented live tournament players.”
CBS Sports will air seven hours of original Epic Poker League programs and Velocity by Discovery will air 13 additional original hours along with re-airs of each CBS episode. Specific airdates and times will be announced later. Velocity is a fully HD, upscale men’s cable network that will replace Discovery’s HD Theater network on October 4, 2011.
“We are pleased to welcome Epic Poker to CBS,” said Rob Correa, executive vice president of programming for CBS Sports.
Each episode of Epic Poker will be hosted by legendary, Emmy award-winning sports anchor and reporter Pat O’Brien. This announcement marks the return of O’Brien to network television. He left “The Insider” in 2008, but returned to broadcasting in 2010 on Fox Sports Radio. Poker personality Ali Nejad will be joining O’Brien as co-host and expert analyst.
David Neal and 441 Productions will produce Epic Poker on CBS and Velocity.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, Federated Sports + Gaming will be paying CBS to air the poker matches, while the deal with Velocity is promotional barter.