posted by Andy Hall on December 5, 2013 8:00 AM
The stars of Highly Questionable (l-r): Bomani Jones, Gonzalo “Papi” Le Batard and Dan Le Batard.
Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part feature that takes Front Row readers behind the scenes of the daily ESPN2 program Highly Questionable. Part One was published Wednesday.
When taping begins for an episode of ESPN2’s Highly Questionable, the chances are good that a lot of laughter will emanate from the studio in Miami and the control room in Washington, D.C.
“There’s no show which I’ve ever worked where we laugh more,” said Erik Rydholm, executive producer. “And I don’t know that it always translates because some of it is we’re laughing at mistakes and laughing at people getting things wrong and so eventually that stuff doesn’t even make air.” continue reading…
posted by Andy Hall on December 4, 2013 8:00 AM
Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part feature that takes Front Row readers behind the scenes of the daily ESPN2 program, Highly Questionable. Part Two will appear on Front Row tomorrow.
ESPN2’s Highly Questionable, a half-hour program in which ESPN Radio host Dan Le Batard, his father, Gonzalo “Papi” Le Batard and sports commentator Bomani Jones sit in Papi’s Miami “kitchen” and humorously answer questions about sports, presents a unique challenge for executive producer Erik Rydholm and his team.
Highly Questionable, which airs at 4 p.m. ET daily and has seen a 38 percent jump in ratings since Jones joined full time in May, is actually created in two places that are more than 1,000 miles apart. The set for Papi’s kitchen is located in a TV production facility in Miami, while Rydholm and the show’s other producers and editors are based in Washington, D.C. continue reading…
posted by Andy Hall on November 19, 2013 9:44 AM
As a NASCAR driver, Jimmie Johnson works in a profession that is not for the fainthearted. By definition, the six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion is as brave as they come. Still, when the red light goes on in the SportsCenter studio tonight (6 p.m. ET, ESPN; re-air, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2) and he is introduced as the first-ever athlete to be a guest host on the show, Johnson might need a bucket for the flop sweat.
“I am scared to death,” Johnson said. “I have a hard enough time at the podium reading a simple acceptance speech. To be on a live show trying to read a teleprompter is one of the most nerve-racking things I’ll do.” continue reading…
posted by Andy Hall on November 14, 2013 10:00 AM
ESPN NASCAR production trucks. (Phil Cavali)
ESPN’s traveling production for NASCAR is one of the largest in all of televised sports, with a dozen or more tractor-trailer rigs carrying equipment track-to-track every week from February to November. Everything needed to televise races must be set up, torn down and moved each week.
This week, the convoy of rigs traveled from Phoenix to Homestead, Fla., site of the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season on Sunday. ESPN’s live telecast begins at 1 p.m. ET.
Not even the best announcers, producers and directors can make good television if their equipment isn’t there and ESPN’s Remote Operations team carries the responsibility of setup, teardown and transportation. continue reading…
posted by Andy Hall on November 13, 2013 8:00 AM
Ronica Hardway (Andy Hall/ESPN)
Ronica Hardway had no intention of making television her career. But like many who work in the industry, her involvement happened by chance.
Hardway is a senior operations producer for ESPN Remote Operations, working on ESPN’s NASCAR and IndyCar coverage. But 13 years ago, she had a different path mapped out.
“I had just graduated law school and was waiting for my bar results,” Hardway said. “My brother was working for ABC on Monday Night Football. They were coming to Foxboro and he asked if I wanted to work a few days.” continue reading…
posted by Andy Hall on October 29, 2013 8:00 AM
For Kenny Mayne, the weekend of October 5-6 was like going back in time. Specifically, to 1995. Mayne was at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas, to shoot a feature that will air on ESPN’s telecast of the Nov. 3 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (see brief excerpt above). But the trip also represented a return for the SportsCenter anchor to a sport he once covered regularly as the original host of the former ESPN2 program rpm2night.
“It was really easy getting back with [NASCAR],” said Mayne while at the speedway. “Not that going around to other sports is that foreign to me, but coming back and knowing a lot of people, and just being able to walk right up to [NASCAR drivers] Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton, it was just like old home week.” continue reading…
posted by Andy Hall on October 24, 2013 4:08 PM
E:60 Presents: Rush Propst promo from ESPNFrontRow on Vimeo.
Controversial high school football coach Rush Propst will be the subject of tonight’s debut episode of E:60 Presents (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU), a spinoff series from ESPN’s award-winning newsmagazine, E:60.
The first installment, “Friday Night Lies,” originally aired on E:60 in September and tells the story of Propst, a once revered coach at Hoover (Alabama) High School, one of the top football programs in the nation. Propst’s career – and life – reached the tipping point when it was discovered he was leading a double life – with two wives and two families in the same town. The new version will include previously unseen video and scenes of Propst. continue reading…
posted by Andy Hall on October 23, 2013 8:00 AM
Jerry Punch (center) joined two Honor Air veterans for the trip to Washington, D.C.: Frank Sharp (left), 80, a Korean War veteran, and Kenneth Denton, 89, a WWII veteran. (Photo courtesy of Honor Air Knoxville)
Dr. Jerry Punch in his NASCAR on ESPN firesuit (ESPN Images)
In his 35-year broadcasting career, ESPN’s Dr. Jerry Punch has interviewed stars of sport, stage and screen, as well as presidents and generals. But a recent event topped all of that for Punch, who now works as a pit reporter on ESPN NASCAR telecasts.
On Oct. 9, Punch served as a volunteer guardian on an Honor Air trip from Knoxville, Tenn., to Washington, D.C., with 127 veterans of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam conflict. continue reading…
posted by Andy Hall on October 15, 2013 3:00 PM
ABC News reporter Bob Woodruff continues his collaboration with ESPN’s newsmagazine program E:60 with a report airing tonight (ESPN, 7 p.m. ET) on “Peace Girl,” a child from a war-torn African country who played a role in ending the conflict more than 10 years ago.
“Peace Girl” was an orphaned toddler from Sierra Leone with a sweet smile and an amputated arm. Dignitaries, including Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and President Bill Clinton, flocked to her side. She became the poster child for putting an end to the atrocities committed by the militia in her homeland’s civil war. Woodruff’s report provides an update on Memuna McShane, now 17 and a high school athlete in Washington, D.C. continue reading…
posted by Andy Hall on October 15, 2013 8:00 AM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Ten ESPN anchors and producers spent three days here last week for the fourth annual “ESPN NASCAR Immersion” at – and around – Charlotte Motor Speedway in what is generally regarded as the “home” of NASCAR. The immersion, a cooperative effort between NASCAR and ESPN, is designed to help the on-air personalities and behind-the-scenes producers learn more about the intricacies of the sport through a hands-on experience.
Participating in the immersion were SportsCenter anchors Linda Cohn, Jade McCarthy, Kevin Negandhi and Bram Weinstein and First Take host Cari Champion. Joining them were SportsCenter senior coordinating producer Mark Summer, highlights producer Jeff McGuire, news editor Ken Fratus, ESPN International producer Ivania Lorenzo and Tim Scanlon, vice president, Talent. continue reading…