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The BackPage Live, better?

Fox Sports has just begun to air its revamped version of The Backpage. The new and flashy version, Backpage Live, has new hosts and has failed to maintain the success of the old show.

Originally, the back page was run by Mike Gibson and Billy Birmingham, who were joined by two journalists from around the country as panellists each week.

This panel would debate the happenings in sports from around the world in a way that was both insightful and humorous. Birmingham, known

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for his role as the 12th man, was the main source of humour on the old version.

The new show has kept this basic format, however Gibson has retired and Birmingham has been removed, the duo replaced by Tony Squires and Matt Shirvington.

What remains is a more mainstream sports debate show.

While the panel discuss the sports issues of the week, the humour seems forced, the comments more scripted and the content has lost its knowledgeable edge.

The use of the journalist panel of the previous show was effective, as journalist should lack in bias. The player’s perspective seems more a case of “well they would say that wouldn’t they.”

The larger panel size also means less comment from everyone, and the debate is now limited to comment from only one panellist per issue. As a result, differing opinions and ideas have been removed from the show.

Upon leaving the show, Mike Gibson said people had approached him over his time as presenter saying The BackPage was a regular part of their week. With the changes made to the show, these people will be looking elsewhere to fill that regular timeslot.

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