For every beloved sports broadcaster like Vin Scully or Walt "Clyde" Frazier, there's an abrasive loudmouth like Colin Cowherd or a former player whose greatness on the field doesn't translate to competence in the broadcast booth, like Joe Morgan.
It's the latter two types who get sent up in streaming network go90's Now We're Talking, a hilarious comedy series from from Uninterrupted and Warner Bros. digital studio Blue Ribbon Content and created by, written by and starring Tommy Dewey and Tug Coker. Dewey (who also stars on Hulu's comedy series Casual) and Coker (who has appeared on NCIS and Bones, among many other shows) play Tommy Arondall and Tug Tanner, retired NFL quarterbacks and bitter rivals who are trying to become play-by-play announcers as a way to stay in the spotlight now that their playing days are over.
Tommy was a star Pro Bowler, while Tug was his longtime backup. Tug never reached his potential as a player but feels the need to have a legacy, so he's determined to become the greatest broadcaster who ever lived. Tommy, on the other hand, is driven more by an insatiable competitive instinct that's missing from his life now that he's not playing, as well as some dire financial straits. So they both enroll in sports broadcasting school, where they're forced together again in their now decade-long struggle for primacy.
The idea for Now We're Talking is rooted in both dramatic and comedic inspirations, including the idea of mid-career anxiety.
"I was intrigued by what happens to athletes when they retire," says Coker. "I found their journey after their careers to be as compelling as when they were current athletes."
Adds Dewey: "As two guys that were hitting our mid-30s, which is the time a lot of these guys retire from professional sports, it felt like a good time to consider that kind of big life transition. What if we had to quit what we had loved doing for so long?"
Coker and Dewey also just find sports broadcasting really funny.
"There are so many tropes of broadcasting that are ripe for satire," says Dewey, citing the awkward segues, sideline-earpiece-checking, hot takes and, of course, the bloopers. "Outtakes from sports broadcasting shows are some of the best things on the internet," Dewey notes.
And putting overconfident egomaniacs like Tug and Tommy in unfamiliar situations leads to character-based comedy, too. "We knew that there was humor inherent to these big egos trying something they might not be cut out for," says Dewey. Sports-world satire and character come together in clever exchanges like this exchange between Tug and Tommy about their futures:
"I wanna work at ESPN, too."
"You wanna work at ESPN2? God, you love being a backup."
Several current and former professional athletes appear in the series, including former San Diego Chargers Pro Bowl linebacker Shawne Merriman, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant and Super Bowl champion/infamous knucklehead Plaxico Burress.
New episodes of Now We're Talking premiere Wednesdays on go90.com and the go90 app. Episode 3 is out today, with four more set to roll out after that.