Tennis Channel, the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and tennis lifestyle, will offer close to 60 hours of live matches and more than 140 match hours overall during its sixth year of French Open coverage, from Sunday, May 27, to Sunday, June 10. The network will air almost two dozen hours of encore men’s and women’s singles semifinal and championship telecasts as part of a programming format that will see the channel’s 24-hour schedule almost entirely dedicated to the world’s most prestigious clay-court competition for two weeks.
A typical day’s French Open schedule on Tennis Channel this year will feature live matches from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. ET, followed by four hours of encore coverage of the tournament’s best competitions, regardless of whether they first ran on Tennis Channel or broadcast partners NBC or ESPN2 (a complete schedule follows, below). At 7 p.m. ET French Open Tonight, hosted by Bill Macatee, will showcase three hours of interviews, analysis, highlights, encore match segments and special reports, set on a stage above the tournament’s central Musketeer Plaza. In all, Tennis Channel will air 36 first-run hours of the nightly prime-time show (with 114 hours overall). Following two consecutive French Open Tonight encores, at 4 a.m. ET daily tournament highlights of the French Tennis Federation (the governing body of the event) will run for an hour before a new day of coverage runs on ESPN2 from 5 a.m.-10 a.m.
Tennis Channel and ESPN2 have worked together since 2007 to bring viewers virtually non-stop, 24-hour coverage of the French Open. Each network cross-promotes the other’s schedule while using its own on-air talent, with Tennis Channel producing all telecasts for both channels.
As it has done since its first year of French Open coverage in 2007, Tennis Channel will field an all-star team of on-air talent this year in Paris, with Hall of Famers John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova taking the helm as lead analysts for the sixth consecutive year. The lineup also features Grand Slam-champion Lindsay Davenport and sportscaster Mary Carillo who, through her heartfelt special reports for numerous networks and refreshingly candid demeanor, is one of America’s most popular television sports presences today.
“It’s always great to get back to Paris with John, Mary, Bill, Lindsay and the rest of the Tennis Channel team,” said Navratilova. “It will be interesting to see if the two thirty-somethings – Roger Federer and Serena Williams – will be able to stay the in-form players and win on what is their least favorite and favorable surface.”
Household television-sports names Ted Robinson, Ian Eagle and Brett Haber will handle play-by-play responsibilities during Tennis Channel’s 2012 French Open coverage, with assists from analysts and former players Justin Gimelstob and Rennae Stubbs. Sports Illustrated’s voice of tennis Jon Wertheim will add his expert opinion throughout the two-week event, while Tennis Channel Court Report host Cari Champion will maintain increasingly expanding social media duties. Macatee, as host of French Open Tonight, will once again interview the players, coaches, industry executives and others who will write the storylines at this year’s tournament.
This year during the French Open more than 300 hours of live matches will be available for free on Tennis Channel’s Web site, www.tennischannel.com, an increase of more than 100 hours over 2011. Also new, online streaming will run from 5 a.m. ET through the end of the day’s play, marking the first time broadband matches will be available live regardless of whether or not Tennis Channel’s television-coverage window is taking place. Viewers can access up to five courts at the same time during live windows the first week of the tournament and then view on-demand archived matches after play has stopped each evening. The site will also feature daily highlights, interviews, features and segments from French Open Tonight, along with real-time scoring, interactive tournament draws, sweepstakes information, photos and the network’s “Racquet Bracket” tournament prediction game. Digital offerings also include regular updates from veteran tennis reporters Steve Flink, Joel Drucker and Matt Cronin, in addition to posts from tennis blogger Erwin Ong.
Tennis Channel’s Live 2012 French Open Match Schedule
(Men’s/Women’s Singles Unless Otherwise Specified)
Date Time (ET) Event
Sunday, May 27 10 a.m.-3 p.m. First-Round Action
Monday, May 28 10 a.m.-3 p.m. First-Round Action
Tuesday, May 29 10 a.m.-3 p.m. First-Round Action
Wednesday, May 30 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Second-Round Action
Thursday, May 31 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Second-Round Action
Friday, June 1 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Third-Round Action
Saturday, June 2 5 a.m.-Noon Third-Round Action
Sunday, June 3 5 a.m.-1 p.m. Round-of-16 Action
Monday, June 4 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Round-of-16 Action
Tuesday, June 5 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Quarterfinals
Friday, June 8 7 a.m.-11 a.m. Men’s Semifinal
Tennis Channel will also offer same-day replays of singles quarterfinal and semifinal matches, and encore coverage of the men’s and women’s championships after the close of play on the final Sunday (ET):
Wednesday, June 6 – 1 p.m.-7 p.m.: men’s and women’s singles quarterfinals
Thursday, June 7 – 1 p.m.-7 p.m.: women’s singles semifinals
Friday, June 8 – 5 p.m.-midnight: men’s semifinals
Sunday, June 10 – 2 p.m.-6 p.m. and 8 p.m.-midnight: men’s final; 6 p.m.-8 p.m.: women’s final
Tennis Channel’s French Open Tonight Schedule
French Open Tonight airs Sunday, May 27-Thursday, June 7. Most nights the program airs from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. (all times ET), and is repeated twice upon conclusion, from 10 p.m.-1 a.m. and 1 a.m.-4 a.m. There are two exceptions during the tournament’s middle weekend. Saturday, June 2, French Open Tonight will first run from 3 p.m.-6 p.m., followed by three-straight encores: 6 p.m.-9 p.m., 9 p.m.-midnight, 12 a.m.-3 a.m. The schedule on Sunday, June 3, is similar but begins one hour later, with a 4 p.m.-7 p.m. premiere, and 7 p.m.-10 p.m., 10 p.m.-1 a.m. and 1 a.m.-4 a.m. repeats.
Tennis Channel (www.tennischannel.com) is the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and tennis lifestyle. A hybrid of comprehensive sports, health, fitness, pop culture, entertainment, lifestyle and travel programming, the network is home to every aspect of the wide-ranging, worldwide tennis community. It also has the most concentrated single-sport coverage in television, with telecast rights to the US Open, Wimbledon, Roland Garros (French Open), Australian Open, Olympus US Open Series, ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events, top-tier WTA competitions, Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, and Hyundai Hopman Cup. Tennis Channel is carried by nine of the top 10 video providers.
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