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Fox Sports 1 Sets Opening Day Schedule

NASCAR, UFC among initial key offerings

With exactly 100 days to go before launch, Fox Sports 1 has set its opening day schedule and announced more hires for the national network.

Fox Sports 1 will begin its on-air transition from Speed at 8 a.m. Eastern on Aug. 17, a Saturday that will feature 16 1/2 hours of live programming for its built-in initial audience of 90 million homes. The first offering will be an edition of “NASCAR Live” from Michigan International Speedway, followed by seven hours of NASCAR programming.

At 5 p.m. Eastern, the spotlight will shift to UFC, with three hours of preliminary programming leading up to primetime’s “UFC on FS1 Saturday.”

“We’ve been working for months now, but a lot has come together in the time since we officially unveiled our plans for the launch of Fox Sports 1 in March,” FOX Sports co-prexy and COO Eric Shanks said. “The programming schedule has been solidified, and we really come out of the gate incredibly strong from Day 1.”

The inaugural edition of national news, opinion and highlights program “Fox Sports Live” will follow at 11 p.m. Eastern, with Scott Ackerson exec producing. Fox has hired ESPNNews vet Don Bell to be one of the anchors, with Molly McGrath and Julie Stewart-Binks serving as update desk and breaking news correspondents.

“Obviously, we knew from the start that finding highly skilled and talented senior production executives and talent to fill key roles would be essential to our success,” FOX Sports co-prexy and COO Randy Freer said. “It’s fun to see the team take shape, and there’s an incredible energy and enthusiasm present that people share when they’re working on something they’re passionate about.”

Monday will bring more premieres, including the Regis Philbin-hosted “Crowd Goes Wild” (formerly “Rush Hour”) at 5 p.m., followed by “Fox Football Daily” and “Fox’s Monday Night Fights.” Live coverage of the 2013-14 UEFA Champions League season will begin the next day.

Fox Sports 1 will begin its college football season with a live broadcast Aug. 29, followed by another game Aug. 30 and a tripleheader Aug. 31 that will be preceded by a two-hour “Fox College Saturday” pregame show.

Overseeing the operation is Fox Sports Media Group chairman and CEO David Hill. In addition to Freer and Shanks, key executives are senior veep of original Michael Bloom, exec programming veep Bill Wanger and exec producer of studio and event programming John Entz.

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