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Dennis Miller to talk sports on Versus

Comic will host weekly show for cable network

Dennis Miller is teaming with “Hell’s Kitchen” producer Arthur Smith to launch a weekly sports-themed gabber for cabler Versus.

Former “Saturday Night Live” star and “Monday Night Football” color commentator will host “Sports Unfiltered With Dennis Miller,” a one-hour show focusing on the latest developments from the wide world of sports. Skein is slated to air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET starting Nov. 6.

Miller skein promises to be a signature series for Versus (formerly Outdoor Life Network), which is now available in 74 million homes and airs a heavy dose of live sporting events, such as NHL and college football games.

Show reps another expansion beyond reality skeins for Smith’s A. Smith & Co., which also produces the new Fox skein “Kitchen Nightmares.” Smith, the former programming chief for Fox Sports Net, has recently done deals with the Harlem Globetrotters and the IFL mixed martial arts league.

Miller skein stemmed from conversations Smith had with Versus programming/production topper Marc Fein, who once worked for Smith at FSN. The two men were discussing ideas for possible sports talkers when Smith suggested going after Miller.

“If you’re going to do a studio-based show, it all starts with talent,” Smith said.

Fein immediately sparked to the idea of landing Miller but wasn’t sure if he’d be willing to do the show.

Miller was amenable, however, and agreed to commit. One concession: Skein will tape in Miller’s home of Santa Barbara — “the sports capital of the world,” Smith joked.

Fein said Miller’s penchant for being plainspoken is a major asset. “Whether people love him or hate him, hopefully they’ll watch him,” exec said.

While “Sports Unfiltered” will tackle tough issues in sports, “it’s also going to be comedic and sarcastic,” Smith said. “It won’t be as out there as ‘The Daily Show,’ but we’re going to have fun.”

Segs will include Miller’s rant, a “Weekend Update”-style review of the week’s headlines and interviews with newsmakers.

“I’ll call ’em as I see ’em, and hopefully, I’ll see ’em better than the home plate ump in the San Diego Padres-Colorado Rockies tiebreaker game,” Miller said.

Episodes will tape in front of a studio audience the same day they air.

Miller is a veteran of the talkshow circuit, having toplined skeins on HBO and CNBC as well as in syndication.

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