Epic Poker League signs deal with CBS and Velocity

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Jul 27, 2011 Posted in Tournament News, TV Poker | No Comments »

In a press release on Wednesday the Annie Duke and Jeffrey Pollack led Epic Poker League added the final piece of the puzzle as the long awaited debut of the exclusive poker league is just days away, announcing that they have signed a television deal with CBS and Discovery Communications’ Velocity Network.

In all, the two networks will air 20 hours of the inaugural season of the Epic Poker League, with Velocity handling the bulk of the load (13 hours of original programming compared to CBS’ 7 hours) as well as reruns of the CBS broadcasts. If you are unfamiliar with the Velocity Network there is a good reason, as Velocity will begin life on October 4th, 2011 taking the place of Discovery’s HD Theater Network.

Handling the production side of things will be 441 Productions, a company with 23 Emmy awards and a long history of creating the highest quality televised poker shows, having worked on ESPN’s World Series of Poker coverage from 2003 until 2010.

Here are a few quotes from the main players involved on the new television deal:

“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.”

“The Epic Poker League is set to take the game of poker to a new level, and we’re excited to air these competitions featuring many of the world’s best live tournament poker players,” said Bob Scanlon, senior vice president of Velocity Network. “All of the impressive play on the tables and the high-end production of the Epic Poker League will surely register with our viewers who enjoy programming that showcases thrills and non-stop action.”

Epic will provide a rich storytelling environment for our television production,” said Neal. “We’ll capture the rivalries, the personalities, and the strategies brought to each event by an elite roster of player. It’s high stakes competition, with prestige and prize money on the line, and that makes an ideal setting for compelling entertainment.”

Farther down in the press release, an interesting duo was announced in the broadcast booth, as veteran anchor and sports commentator Pat O’Brien will team up with a more familiar face in the world of televised poker Ali Nejad.

What at first seemed like a rehashing of the failed Professional Poker League has morphed into one of the most anticipated poker leagues of all-time –especially after Black Friday decimated the televised poker landscape. With TV time at a premium, which is where the sponsorship dollars are to be found, it’s quite likely that the Epic Poker League could draw poker’s biggest names and be a success right from the outset.

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