TV: Clare Balding to front her own sports chat show on BT Sport

Award-winning sports broadcaster Clare Balding has signed up to present a unique programme for BT Sport.

The presenter, who was highly praised for her work fronting the BBC London 2012 Olympics and Channel 4’s Paralympics coverage, will present and co-produce a weekly sports magazine show that will feature interviews with major sporting names and discussion of big sporting issues.

It will also shine a spotlight on women’s sport, giving the next generation the chance to fully embrace a variety of sports and sporting stars.

BT, which this summer launches two sports channels this summer as it begins its live Premier League coverage, intends to launch the new show with the working title of Clare Balding Presents.

She is in high demand after taking over as the main presenter of Channel 4’s horse racing coverage at the beginning of January, and also has two other shows on air, a BBC One prime-time gameshow Britain’s Brightest and Radio 2’s Good Morning Sunday.

Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: “We are thrilled to have signed a broadcaster of Clare’s calibre for BT Sport. She excels at presenting a variety of different sports and she showed last summer what an accomplished live performer she is.

“We wanted to give Clare an opportunity to anchor her own weekly show, which we see as a flagship programme for BT Sport. Clare shares our desire to highlight more women’s sports on our channels, so she will be a perfect choice.”

Clare will continue to present racing for Channel 4, as well as other radio and television work for the BBC. She currently also fronts the Saturday primetime show Britain’s Brightest for BBC1.

She said: “I’d like to thank BT for giving me the opportunity to present my own magazine style programme in which I can interview iconic sports stars and discuss newsworthy and stimulating topics.

“I’m enthused by BT’s vision for sports coverage in the future and particularly their support of women’s sport, an issue about which I feel very strongly. This is an exciting new venture for me and I can’t wait to get started.”

BT Sport has the rights to show 38 live games a season from the Barclays Premier League, including 18 of the top clashes, for three years from August 2013.

The games will be hosted by another high profile presenter Jake Humphrey. The channels will also exclusively show 69 live rugby union games a season from the Aviva Premiership.

BT has also signed a deal with the WTA to show up to 800 hours of live tennis, including the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships.

The channels will be based at the iCITY development at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford.

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