Marquee to launch talk show with Ryan Dempster

A flyer for a live show of “Off The Mound”.

But here’s the rub: it’s only going to air monthly

Hulu becomes latest operator to sign deal with Marquee

In an odd move, the Cubs’ new Marquee network is planning to launch a new talk show featuring former Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster.

Speaking to reporters at Sloan Park in Mesa, Ariz. on Saturday, Dempster said his new show would not only feature baseball guests but from others professions as well.

“Typically, we’re going to run it like a late-night talk show,” Dempster said. “More of our guests will be sports related, baseball related, but we’re not going to just limit it to baseball. There will be celebrities, entertainers, musicians, comedians, actors … We’ll talk to them about their experiences, from Cubs baseball and Chicago, to basically anything.”

Titled Off The Mound With Ryan Dempster, a few live house shows were produced. In an infamous appearance with Cubs slugger Kris Bryant during the 2019’s Cubs’ convention, he called St. Louis – home of the rival Cardinals – “boring”, creating a firestorm in the nation’s 23rd-ranked television market (though area residents got the last laugh when the Blues won the Stanley Cup last spring.)

Described as “MLB Tonight meets Late Night” on the show’s official website, On The Mound appeared at Sloan a year ago at the Innings Festival and featured Roger Clemens, Jim Thome, and a surprise by Pearl Jam frontman and longtime Cubs fan Eddie Vedder.

The next Off The Mound takes place in Boston April 3 with special guests Pedro Martinez, Bronson Arroyo, and Yes Dear’s Mike O’ Malley (Dempster also pitched for the Red Sox.)

Details are scant on where the show would be taped in Chicago, but one thing is clear: in an unusual move, the show plans to air new episodes on a monthly basis instead of being a strip or a weekly. But this is attuned to his busy schedule; Dempster serves as a assistant to Theo Epstein and also an analyst for MLB Network. Dempster also plans to be an analyst for a few Cubs games on the network.

Chicago has been a successful base for several daytime talkers (Oprah Winfrey, Steve Harvey, Windy City Live, etc.) but not-so-much in late-night as two efforts came and went quickly with Jonathan Brandmeier’s Johnny B. On The Loose in 1991 and 2012’s Seven On Ridge with Michael Essany each lasting all of three months – the latter airing on signal-deficient religious station WJYS and taped in Gary, Ind.

Marquee debuts on Saturday with an exhibition spring training game between the Cubs and Oakland A’s. So far, Marquee has struck deals with RCN and AT&T (DirecTV and U-Verse) and several smaller cable companies but so far no deals with Comcast/Xfinity, Dish, or WOW (Wide Open West.)  Marquee is a partnership between the Chicago Cubs and Sinclair Broadcasting.

On Monday, Marquee announced it signed a deal with Hulu’s Live TV service , the largest OTT streamer to strike a deal with the new channel thus far.

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