Producers of the sports talk show “Undeniable with Joe Buck” have had no problem attracting guests. In the first season, Derek Jeter, Wayne Gretzky and Michael Phelps stopped by to chat. The second season has just launched and guests will include Joe Theismann, Lynn Swann and Nick Faldo.
“I think the guests really enjoy the format of the show because it’s a chance for them, in their own words, to walk through their lives and talk about what they felt,” Vaughn says. “Nowadays, especially in sports, there are a lot of answers that are pat – especially if they are still playing with the team.”
Vaughn says the show also serves as a forum for athletes to respond to rumors, criticism or complaints fired at them during their careers. The format of “Undeniable” is to let the sports figure talk about anything from his or her childhood to today.
Vaughn says Buck was his first choice as host – someone with the kind of broad sports knowledge needed to deal with a wide array of athletes, and more. “He also has a real warmth and there’s something about him that seems very relatable,” Vaughn says. “He’s also very funny.
“He works very hard and takes it seriously. Joe is such a good listener. He does a nice job of really being curious about people.”
Buck has been broadcasting since 1989 while he was an undergraduate at Indiana University and has been nominated for 14 Emmy Awards, winning seven for most outstanding sports personality. He’s best known for play-by-play for Major League Baseball (17 World Series), the NFL (four Super Bowls) and most recently professional golf.
“Undeniable” gives Buck a chance to showcase his abilities as an interviewer. Buck says that when he’s interviewing the sports icons, he’s just as excited as the viewer to get to know them as people and learn what shaped them.
This talk show format works, says Vaughn, because the average viewer can relate to the athletes’ stories of their early lives and then also get a first-hand glimpse into the moments that made them sports superstars.
“Joe Buck’s ability to deeply connect with these icons lets viewers get an unfiltered and exclusive experience,” Vaughn says. “I think many of the athletes have found it cathartic.”
Vaughn, of course, is no stranger to talk shows. As an actor best known for films like “Anchorman” and the TV series “True Detective” has spent a lot of time chatting about his latest projects. But most of his talk-show experiences have been very short and never long enough to get to deep emotional moment as is the case with “Undeniable.”
He says he’s not certain how much he would reveal if allowed a longer time to talk as athletes on “Undeniable” get to do.
And he says he didn’t get his production company involved with the sports talk show because of some deep desire to be a sportscaster. “I was just interested in hearing what these athletes had to say in this long format that is not so condensed,” Vaughn says. “I really enjoy the long format where people can take their time, pontificate and express their feelings on stuff.”
Undeniable with Joe Buck
- 8 p.m. Wednesdays, DirecTV and AT&T U-verse
This season’s lineup
- Kelly Slater – Aug. 17
- Nick Faldo – Aug. 24
- Joe Torre – Aug. 31
- Mike Singletary – Sept. 7
- Kerri Walsh Jennings – Sept. 14
- “Sugar” Ray Leonard – Sept. 21
- Joe Theismann – Sept. 28
- Tony La Russa – Oct. 5
- Lynn Swann – Oct. 12