NEW YORK — In a move to shake up the format and increase viewership of a failing show, MLB Network will re-brand their program “High Heat with Christopher Russo” to “Christopher Russo Argues with a House Plant.”
The NotGraphs Investigative Reporting Investigation Team, in speaking with sources inside MLB Network, has learned that the new format being launched was just one of several possibilities for a new direction to the show. Sources say pilots were filmed for shows with names that included “Christopher Russo Watches Reruns of Top Chef,” “Christopher Russo Reminisces with Your Dad,” and “A Still Image of Christopher Russo but with Top 40 Music — Please Watch.”
“It was a two-bird-one-stone situation,” one executive said. “We needed to try and boost ratings, and we needed to find somebody that could tolerate being screeched at for a half hour.”
Russo, known for his cantankerous persona and a voice that could strip a sizable room of its paint, has had a revolving door of guests on the show including players, managers, and MLB Network personalities alike. Initial testing has concluded that the house plant has the best chance to stay long-term.
“It seems silly to do a remote with a plant,” a producer said. “But if we kept it in the same room, it would start wilting at a rapid pace.”
The roll out of the new format should happen near the beginning of June, as soon as the network finishes cutting new commercials and the studio goes through another round of soundproofing.
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