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USA TODAY

In the 1990s in New York City, Lesley Visser, Billie Jean King, CBS Sports director Suzanne Smith and Mary Carillo would be at a party, and the same refrain inevitably came up: The four of them should have a television show together.

At the time, it seemed unrealistic.

"(We'd) say, 'Wouldn't that be the greatest thing? Wouldn't that be the coolest thing?'" Visser tells USA TODAY Sports. "Well yeah, it is."

Tuesday, CBS Sports confirmed the news that had been leaking out for the last couple of months: An all-female show featuring Visser, Tracy Wolfson, Allie LaForce and Amy Trask will premiere this fall on CBS Sports Network.

We Need To Talk will be an hour-long roundtable discussion among a rotating cast of contributors and the four featured women. The long list of contributors mentioned in the CBS announcement includes swimmer Dara Torres, former WNBA player Lisa Leslie, Laila Ali, Andrea Kremer and more.

The CBS personalities on the show and behind the scenes will continue in their other roles for the network's NFL coverage, CBS Sports President David Berson tells USA TODAY Sports.

"This show is intended for all sports fans, men, women everyone," Berson says. "The gist of this show, it's really a sports talk show that features women. It's not intended to be a women's sports TV show. And will we discuss social issues and women's issues? Certainly when warranted, but that's not the sole focus on the show."

Visser says she personally envisioned it being a place where the women could discuss an issue such as Mo'ne Davis -- the pitcher from Philadelphia who captured the nation's attention in the Little League World Series -- and whether she was being exploited or celebrated.

"My dream -- I'm not interested in are the Jets going to make the playoffs," Visser says. "For me personally, I don't own the show. Yes, I want to do that ... let's talk about Mo'ne Davis."

"My dream of the show is the discussion of it," she adds.

Berson says the show is something CBS Sports is very committed to making work, and he brushed off negative reaction on social media to the name.

"There's been talk about doing this in the wall of CBS for quite some time," he says. "We focused a lot more on it over the last few months, and we just feel that it's long overdue and the time is right. We genuinely believe CBS Sports is the place where this fits and makes sense with our highly experienced and well-recognized female on-air talent and production personnel. ... We just think this is the right spot and right time."

Visser says she appreciated having a chance to try.

"I've lived quite a bit of firsts in my career, so I know when someone is taking a chance," Visser says. "And CBS is doing that."

 

August 27, 2014

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