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ESPN cancels more Longhorn Network programming

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The Texas-specific network is switching its focus and laying off contractors.

Longhorn Network

Faced with low ratings, the nightly Longhorn Network studio show “Longhorn Extra” is no more, an ESPN spokesperson told the Austin American-Statesman this week.

Following the cancellation of “Texas All Access”, the network is choosing to focus more on live events and less on studio shows, though the shows featuring Texas coaches will continue.

According to the spokesperson, ESPN is committed to the 20-year relationship between the school and the network, but Kirk Bohls doesn’t see the changes as a positive development:

The decisions to cancel the Longhorn Network’s “Longhorn Extra” show and not renewing the contract of almost two dozen independently contracted cameramen and technicians can’t be a good sign. The American-Statesman has learned that up to four current LHN employees are impacted by the programming decision and five new positions will be created.

With widespread changes in consumer behavior, ESPN has been losing subscribers overall in addition to taking on big losses with the Longhorn Network, prompting the company to downsize 300 employees last year. Production costs are estimated at $26 million per year for LHN and the network has reportedly lost ESPN nearly $50 million since its creation in 2011.

In 2016, the Longhorn Network is expected to be profitable for the first time, despite the continued on-field struggles across multiple Longhorns sports. The personnel costs and decreased production costs associated with the cancellations of the two shows could further increase that margin.

Aside from the personnel changes, the network will continue to provide similar content that the cancelled shows used to feature, just in a weekly format instead of a daily format in the case of “Longhorn Extra” and with the former “Texas All Access” features housed in other programming.

The network will also continue to televise former Texas baseball coach Augie Garrido’s cooking show, which has been a hit with fans. Garrido now occupies a position as a special assistant to athletic director Mike Perrin.