I joined ESPN in April of 2011 as the Director of Communications for Content Development & ESPN Films. I grew up in the big apple and graduated from Siena College in Albany, NY. I came to ESPN by way of the bunny-head having worked for years at Playboy Enterprises as VP of Communications for the Playboy Entertainment Group. I have also held senior communications positions at MTV and AOL. I have always been a huge sports fan so I’m thrilled to be part of the ESPN family, and I will always remain a passionate Jets/Yankees fan.
Jay Jay Nesheim
posted by Jay Jay Nesheim on November 5, 2013 8:00 AM
In the mid-1970’s, Bernard King and Ernie Grunfeld were two of the biggest names in college basketball. Known as “The Bernie and Ernie Show,” the University of Tennessee’s dynamic duo averaged 50 points a game on their way to the cover of Sports Illustrated. But behind closed doors, their experiences were vastly different.
Bernie and Ernie, directed by Jason Hehir (The Fab Five) and narrated by Public Enemy rapper Chuck D, tells the story behind one of basketball’s most unforgettable tandems, and an unbreakable bond that remains to this day. Bernie and Ernie premieres tonight (8 p.m. ET, ESPN) and will be the final documentary of the fall slate of 30 for 30 films. Hehir tells Front Row why he was moved to make this film.
You also directed the popular documentary The Fab Five for ESPN Films. Did you notice any similarities between their friendships and the bond between King and Grunfeld? continue reading…
posted by Jay Jay Nesheim on October 22, 2013 8:00 AM
“You don’t have to be a hockey fan to appreciate the ‘you know whats’ of John Spano as he almost pulled off the biggest heist in pro sports history. Fabulous story told and directed by lifelong NY Islanders fan [actor] Kevin Connolly where we learned in the case of Spano, ‘If you say it, it must be true.’” – Linda Cohn, “SC” anchor. For more from Cohn and Connolly on “Big Shot,” download the latest “Listen Closely” podcast
“The NHL just couldn’t catch a break in those days, no matter how hard they tried to be like their big brothers the NFL, MLB and NBA. This was a real punch in the mouth for a league used to taking shots in the jaw, a real embarrassment especially when you consider it was a team in the NY media market, some 30 miles from NHL headquarters, and a franchise that enjoyed one of the sport’s richest histories. I can’t imagine the NFL falling for the old banana in the tailpipe trick. The cherry on top is that it is directed and narrated by “E” from “Entourage” fame (don’t call him E, he hates that), the real Kevin Connolly who is a real-life, die-hard NY Islanders fan still to this day. He must’ve choked on some of the words. But you don’t have to be a hockey fan to be amazed by what took place behind the scenes of a major sports organization. After watching “Big Shot,” you’ll be amazed that this happened in real life.” – Steve Levy, “SC” anchor
In 1996, the once-dominant New York Islanders were in serious trouble. Poor performance and management issues were driving away their once loyal fan base. Then along came a Dallas businessman named John Spano, who agreed to buy the NHL team for $165 million dollars.
Things began to turn around for the Islanders, but the apparent improvements were all smoke and mirrors. “Big Shot” the new 30 for 30 film premiering tonight (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET), features the first interview Spano has ever given about the Islanders’ deal. It tells an unforgettable tale of a dream that became a lie – and how a scam of such epic proportions initially went undetected.
Front Row spoke recently with Spano regarding this thoughts about the film:
Understandably, this isn’t your favorite topic to talk about it but you agreed to participate in the film. Why? continue reading…
posted by Jay Jay Nesheim on September 26, 2013 6:23 PM
Keith Olbermann will be taking a temporary leave from his show to host the MLB postseason show on TBS, so television icon Larry King, ESPN”s Jeremy Schaap and Colin Cowherd will serve as guest hosts of ESPN’s late night show, Olbermann.
King will host from October 1-3, Schaap will host from October 8-10, followed by Cowherd who will host from October 15-17. Olbermann airs live at 11 p.m. (time subject to shift depending on live events) from the show’s Times Square studios in New York City.
Olbermann returns from baseball duties on October 21.
Front Row asked King why he wanted to host the program:
“Sports have always been a huge part of my life,” King said. “I used to have a sports talk radio show down in Florida and did color commentary for the Dolphins. I’ve taught my children about sports – they’re really part of my fabric. Getting the chance to host for Keith, whom I greatly admire, is really a terrific joy for me and I’m looking forward to being back in my hometown for a while.”
VP of Programming and Production Jamie Horowitz touched on why Schaap and Cowherd were chosen:
“Olbermann is designed around Keith because what he really brings is a sharp, unique perspective and point of view,” Horowitz said. “We wanted guest hosts that would connect to viewers and be able to discuss the day’s sports topics in a fresh and engaging way and we’re confident both Jeremy and Colin will bring that to the program.”
posted by Jay Jay Nesheim on August 26, 2013 8:00 AM
Editor’s note: I Follow is all about ESPN employees on Twitter: what they tweet, whom they follow and how you can interact socially with anyone and everyone.
Keith Olbermann returns to ESPN tonight with his new late-night show Olbermann. The show will generally be presented live from its Times Square studio in New York City at 11 p.m. ET, Monday-Friday on ESPN2. Olbermann will showcase his unique personality as he focuses on the day’s relevant sports topics. The show will feature a mix of perspective and commentary, interviews, contributors, panel discussions and highlights.
Twitter handle: @KeithOlbermann
Followers: 460,342 (as of 8/26/13)
When did you join Twitter and why? continue reading…
posted by Jay Jay Nesheim on August 20, 2013 4:30 PM
ESPN Films producer Erin Leyden and ESPN soccer analyst and reporter Julie Foudy teamed to create the new Nine for IX film on the 1999 Women’s World Cup Team, The 99ers (ESPN, tonight, 8 ET).
Leyden took the director’s chair for this effort. The 99ers features “home movies” from Foudy, a star of Team USA and a U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee. Foudy also was one of the producers of The 99ers, which chronicles the U.S. soccer team’s march to the 1999 Women’s World Cup. Front Row asked them about the film-making experience.
How is producing your first film different from your normal role across ESPN platforms serving as an analyst? continue reading…
posted by Jay Jay Nesheim on August 13, 2013 8:00 AM
It’s been almost 30 years since U.S. track star Mary Decker’s fateful collision with Zola Budd — a South African running for Great Britain — during the 3,000 meter run at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. The next Nine for IX film, Runner, looks at Decker’s legendary running career, including how that one race changed her life forever.
The film, directed by Shola Lynch (see video below), debuts tonight (8 p.m. ET, ESPN). Decker, a 2003 inductee into the National Track and Field Hall Of Fame, answered some questions for Front Row.
What were you thinking as you watched Runner, which shows your fall after the collision several times? continue reading…
posted by Jay Jay Nesheim on July 29, 2013 4:46 PM
Latest 30 for 30 Short focuses on former MLB pitching great Tommy John, the surgery bearing his name, and his favorite surgeon
Back in 1974, Dr. Frank Jobe performed what, at the time, was a revolutionary elbow surgery on then-Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Tommy John. It was John’s best chance to stay in baseball, so he took it.
The latest 30 for 30 Short, “Tommy and Frank,” published on Grantland, provides an intimate and funny take on the unique relationship. John, a chatty Indiana lefty who won 288 games, credits the unassuming orthopedist with saving the pitcher’s career.
Front Row had a chance to chat about the film with John, who stood by Jobe as on Sunday he was honored by the National Baseball Hall Of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
What was your response when you were approached about participating in Tommy and Frank? continue reading…
posted by Jay Jay Nesheim on July 25, 2013 4:40 PM
LOS ANGELES — Actor Kevin Connolly is counting down the days to the premiere of his labor of love as a film director, Big Shot.
“October 22 is the date,” Connolly said regarding the slated debut of his ESPN 30 for 30 documentary. “I’m very excited to know when I can tell all my friends and family when to tune in.”
One of the stars of HBO’s Entourage and a lifelong hockey fan, Connolly also narrates the film, which details the 1996 purchase of his beloved New York Islanders by a businessman named John Spano. The $165 million deal eventually fell apart, and Big Shot provides not only the inside details but the first interview Spano has given on the subject. continue reading…
posted by Jay Jay Nesheim on July 15, 2013 4:00 PM
The 2013 ESPYS Presented by Capital One air this Wednesday and Maria Sharapova will be joining fellow celebrities such as Ben Affleck, LeBron James, Paula Patton and Kevin Bacon as an award presenter. A frequent nominee herself, this year she’s up for “Best Female Tennis Player.”
Sharapova took a quick break from practice to chat about why she enjoys attending the ESPYS.
This is your fifth time attending the ESPYS. What do you like best about coming out for the show? continue reading…
posted by Jay Jay Nesheim on June 14, 2013 8:00 AM
This October, the second volume of ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 series returns. One of the films in the upcoming slate will be Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau. Aikau was a big wave rider, famous for not only his incredible surfing skills, but also for his dedication to saving lives as a lifeguard at the dangerous Hawaiian beach, Waimea Bay. Aikau was lost at sea in 1978 when the crew of the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Hokule’a capsized and Aikau paddled out on a surfboard to try to find help. continue reading…