MLB Network Planning New Daily Show Called 'Off Base'

    • Hosted by Lauren Gardner, new show will air weekdays at 3 pm ET.
    • MLBN has been on hiring spree for ex-players like Jake Peavy.

With Opening Day right around the corner, MLB Network is planning a new studio show called “Off Base,” sources tell Front Office Sports.

Hosted by Lauren Gardner, the weekday show will air at 3 p.m. ET during the regular season, said sources. “Off Base” will mark MLB Network’s first new daily studio show since the debut of “MLB Central” in 2015.

The 13-year-old network is currently casting the rest of the show from both in-house and outside talent, said sources. 

MLBN’s current talent roster includes TV veterans like Bob Costas, Peter Gammons, Jim Kaat, Al Leiter, and Harold Reynolds. 

MLBN has been on a hiring spree in recent weeks, tapping ex-players such as Jake Peavy, Hunter Pence, Alex Avila, Cameron Maybin, Ruben Amaro, Jr., A.J. Andrews, Keiana Martin, Bo Porter, and Siera Santos.

The 36-year-old Gardner has hosted many of MLB Network’s studio shows, including “Quick Pitch,” “Hot Stove,” and “MLB Tonight.” She was also part of the network’s first all-female MLB telecast on YouTube in 2021. Gardner joined the network in 2019.

A spokesperson for MLBN declined to comment. But the new show is described as a panel-focused program aimed at a younger generation of baseball fans. It will replace “The Rundown,” MLBN’s longtime afternoon preview show. It’s expected to debut after Opening Day.

Studio shows such as “MLB Central,” NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football,” and ESPN’s “Get Up” have become feel-good watches for many TV viewers. They typically feature young, appealing talent, highlights, and breezy conversations about league news. They avoid the bombast of “embrace debate” shows such as ESPN’s “First Take.”

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is said to be a particular fan of “GMF,” which airs live from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. ET Monday-Friday. 

The NFL Network program has become a launchpad and a showcase for young sports media talents like Nate Burleson (40 years old), Kay Adams (35), Peter Schrager (39), Kyle Brandt (43), and Andrew Hawkins (36).

Meanwhile, MLBN’s “MLB Central” will shift to weekdays at 9 am ET instead of 10 am. The network’s other studio shows such as “High Heat,” “MLB Now,” “Intentional Talk,” “MLB Tonight,” and “Quick Pitch” will return for the 2022 season.

MLB Network debuted in 50 million homes in 2009. The network’s key draws include the morning show “Hot Stove” and “MLB Tonight.”

Despite the 2022 season nearly being canceled due to labor strife, Opening Day is set for April 7, with the New York Yankees taking on the Boston Red Sox. That game will air on MLBN as the network’s showcase telecast.

MLBN will debut “Donnie Baseball,” a documentary about Yankees legend Don Mattingly, on Sunday, April 3 (7:30 p.m. ET).