Marquee Sports Network will air ‘The Reporters’ live after segment critical of Cubs doesn’t air

Marquee Sports Network’s new Sunday show “The Reporters” didn’t air a recorded segment in which the panel questioned Cubs president Jed Hoyer’s transparency regarding the team’s roster rebuild.

In response to questions about the incident, Marquee general manager Mike McCarthy said the show will now air live.

“A judgment was made on the fly that in retrospect was overly sensitive,” McCarthy said. “Going forward, the show will be live, and the reporters on it are completely unedited, as the intention really has been all along. Because the luxury of taping the show was in place, some people decided to get a little careful and avoid, among other things, repetition from other shows.

“It’ll be pretty hard to censor somebody that’s on live television. We’re going to remove that element to it because people make decisions that other people wouldn’t make. But this is not like a Cubs management-Marquee upper management swath across the bow that no one’s ever critical of the Cubs because that’s not the case in this show’s brief history. And it won’t be going forward.”

On Sunday, the panel — which consisted of host Bob Sirott of WGN radio, David Haugh of The Score, Peggy Kusinski of ESPN 1000 and Maddie Lee of the Sun-Times — had begun to discuss the different approaches between former Cubs president Theo Epstein and Hoyer, who has been reticent to describe his plan as rebuilding.

After Kusinski and Haugh spoke, Lee said she was about to speak when a producer said they needed to restart the segment because of technical difficulties. But before they began, the panel was told to steer clear of talk about transparency.

“We all looked at each other very confused, like, is this happening?” Lee said. “I said it’s peak irony that they’re going to blame technical issues in restarting a segment about transparency.”

Sun-Times sports editor Chris De Luca told the staff Tuesday that the Sun-Times would no longer participate in the show.

In partnership with Sinclair Broadcast Group, Marquee launched in 2020 as the exclusive home of Cubs local game broadcasts. The network created “The Reporters” in the same vein as “The Sports Writers on TV,” which aired from 1985 to 2001. A panel of sports reporters sits around a card table beneath a pool-hall light and discusses the topics of the day

“The conversation wasn’t anything that I thought in the moment was controversial,” Lee said. “Transparency has been a common topic of conversation. I don’t blame the people working on it, they’re in a weird spot. They have that in the backs of their heads. This is the problem with team-owned stations. They were probably trying to avoid the specific criticism of how Jed was handling the messaging.”

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