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Outside the Lines, or also referred to as OTL, is an Emmy Award-winning television program on ESPN that looks "outside the lines" and examines critical issues in Americanmarker sports on and off the field of play.

The primary host of the show, since it began, is long-time sportscasting veteran Bob Ley along with contributors and fill-in hosts to the show which include Jeremy Schaap, Mark Schwarz, Bonnie Bernstein, and Kelly Naqi. The program airs for 30 minutes Monday through Friday at 3:00 PM ET and on Sunday at 9:30 AM ET, all on ESPN.


The show premiered in 1990 as a monthly one-hour program with Bob Ley as host. After a noticeable increase in television ratings, ESPN decided to expand the program for thirty minutes to their Sunday morning lineup at 9:30 am ET, where the show covered one or two of the more notable sporting news stories of the week.

After the ratings continued to grow, on May 12, 2003, ESPN premiered Outside the Lines Nightly. The Sunday morning program was still seen at 9:30 am ET, along with the nightly show that was seen during The Trifecta at midnight and noon on ESPN. On June 12, 2006, ESPN announced that Outside the Lines Nightly (now Outside the Lines First Report) would be moved to 3:30 pm ET as part of the afternoon lineup on ESPN.

Outside the Lines debuted its new 3D opening sequence and its current program logo in May 2008.


All of the different versions of the show, whether OTL Sunday, OTL Nightly or OTL First Report, share the same basic design. Like the program's title, the show looks "outside the lines" at some of the most controversial and even inspirational stories in the sports world today. The program also often interviews story makers, such as members of Pat Tillman's platoon after he was killed in Afghanistanmarker. The program also is joined by former players and sports writers to get all different opinions of the subject at hand.


Listed below are the numerous segments that appear throughout OTL First Report. They include:
  • At This Hour: This segment appears at the beginning of the program when the host goes over the latest information on some of the hottest stories from around the sports world.
  • Center Piece: During this segment a correspondent, such as Jeremy Schaap, Mark Schwarz or Kelly Naqi, delivers either an inspirational or controversial story.
  • Outside Opinion: At the end of the show, the host reads e-mails from viewers about their opinions on some of the stories covered throughout the program.
  • SportsNation Question of the Day: After going over some of the biggest stories of the day, the host poses a question related to one of the stories.

Stories covered

Over the past few years, Outside the Lines has covered several Sports Emmy Award winning pieces such as Finding Bobby Fischer, Ben Comen, and Rainbow Man.

Some of the other memorable pieces the show has covered include: Two Man Band (about Patrick Hughes, a blind member of the University of Louisvillemarker band and his dad), The Jason McElwain Story (about the autistic high school basketball manager who came into a game and scored 20 points), Athletes Carrying Guns (about whether it is appropriate for athletes to carry guns), Katrina's Impact on New Orleans (prior to the Saints' first game back in New Orleansmarker) and Steroids Impact on the Little Leagues (and how much they affect them).

The program has also featured exclusive interviews with newsmakers such as: President George W. Bush, Senator John McCain, Pete Rose, Phil Jackson (after leaving the Lakers the first time) and the Army Rangers of Pat Tillman's platoon about what really happened. More recently, former NBA player John Amaechi appeared on the February 11, 2007 edition to publicly come out as gay, and the May 11, 2008 edition reported that former USC basketball star O. J. Mayo had allegedly received thousands of dollars in cash and merchandise from a runner for a sports agent dating back to his high school career.


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