The CFL on TSN panel is an evening staple during the season in living rooms across the country, but the cheery banter that comes through your TV screen may not be the reality behind the scenes.
In an appearance on TSN 690’s Melnick in the Afternoon, long-time panellist and Hall of Fame receiver Milt Stegall was asked if the group gets along as well off-camera as they do on it and couldn’t help but laugh.
“I’ll plead the fifth on that one,” Stegall said after a long chuckle. “I don’t want to put anything out there. I’m friendly with everybody. I love everybody. I’m gonna leave it at that.”
A fixture of TSN broadcasts since the late 1990s, the current panel is anchored by Kate Beirness and features analysis from Stegall, Hall of Fame quarterback Matt Dunigan, and former defensive back Davis Sanchez. TSN insiders Farhan Lalji and Dave Naylor occasionally substitute in as required.
“We have a good working relationship. We hang out sometimes and everything is good, but it’s like a marriage, like a family. You’re gonna have some spats sometimes and those things happen,” Stegall continued, attempting to downplay his initial response. “The crew I work with, oh man, it’s amazing. It’s amazing individuals. We do our thing, as I just alluded to, on and off the camera, but as I alluded to before, every now and then there’s a brush-up but nothing serious. Nothing serious at all.”
Stegall has been part of the panel since 2009, making him the second longest-serving member after Dunigan — who joined in 1999. Sanchez was hired in 2018, while Beirness became the full-time host when Rod Smith moved to the booth in 2021.
While the two veteran analysts provide consistency, the panel has entered a period of transition following the departures of the late Chris Schultz in 2017 and Jock Climie in 2018. Henry Burris, Mike Benevides and Jim Barker have all spent time on the desk in the intervening years, before each left to return to the coaching or front office ranks.
Stegall, who secured his position at TSN thanks to the recommendation of legendary broadcaster Brian Williams, credits the old guard for making him a TV fixture. In particular, Schultz — who passed away suddenly last year — was a massive influence.
“If not for Chris Schultz, I’m still not doing this. He took me under his wing and allowed me to do this, may he rest in peace,” Stegall said. “He taught me so much and he helped me along the way so much. Like I alluded to, without him, I’m not sitting here working for CFL on TSN.”
While the panel may not be the best of friends away from the studio, they are all unified in missing the big man.