Epic Poker League to Air on CBS, Velocity

Annie Duke, Daniel Negreanu

With its inaugural season about to begin, the Epic Poker League has now revealed where you’ll be able to watch it: CBS and Velocity.

All told, 20 hours of Epic Poker League programming will air with 7 hours scheduled for weekends on CBS and 13 hours on Velocity, a new network aimed at high-income males to be launched by Discovery.

Velocity will also re-air the CBS episodes. Air dates for the shows are expected to be released later in the summer.

Long-time sports anchor Pat O’Brien, of CBS Sports and Access Hollywood fame, will host with Ali Nejad of Poker After Dark as the primary analyst.

441 Productions, the company behind ESPN’s World Series of Poker telecasts from 2003-2010 (they were replaced by Poker PROductions this year), will produce the shows.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Epic Poker League is footing the bill for the airtime as well:

“Epic is paying CBS to air the show on weekends as part of a ‘time buy,’ the WSJ article says, "a deal similar to an infomercial in which the company pays the network to air the show.

"On Velocity the program will air as a 'promotional barter,' in which the poker company supplies the show without payment from the channel."

Headed by Commissioner Annie Duke, the new league features only the top 218 tournament poker players in the world based on the newly created Global Poker Index.

Among the pros who have qualified for the top 200 include Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Jason Mercier, Erik Seidel, John Juanda, Daniel Negreanu, Matt Marafioti and Phil Hellmuth.

Five exclusive tournaments in total will be played with the first set for August 9-12 at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas.

The first four events each have a $20,000 buy-in with $400,000 added to the prize pool.

The season is capped off with a $1 million Championship freeroll for the top 27 players in February.

According to FS+G chief exec Jeffrey Pollack, who spoke with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the shows will dig into the players' personalities and background along with the action at the table and will introduce the audience to players they may not already be familiar with.

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