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 Sheldon Spencer on November 4, 2013 12:02 PM
The Chase for the Sprint Cup title doesn’t offer NASCAR drivers much time to escape racing, but if Matt Kenseth had his druthers, he knows where he’d like to be tonight.
The longtime Green Bay Packers fan has had his eyes on the Chicago Bears’ visit to Lambeau Field, the matchup on ESPN’s Monday Night Football (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). When Kenseth visited ESPN recently, he confessed he’d be tempted to squeeze a quick trip to Wisconsin in between Chase dates in Texas yesterday and Arizona on Nov. 10. He’ll probably have to watch the ESPN telecast instead.
“I’m not sure I’m going to be able to get up there this year, but it’s always a fun one to go to,” Kenseth said of the Bears-Packers matchup. “It’s hard to beat the experience of Lambeau Field, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a Packers fan.” 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 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 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…
posted by David Scott on October 7, 2013 9:38 AM
Some of what you may have missed over the weekend from ESPN:
1. ESPN Radio’s coverage of the MLB Playoffs features more than just insightful analysis from the likes of Chris Singleton, as evidenced by the tweet below. Said Singleton: “It was a thrill making that grab in such a big game! I hadn’t caught one from the booth since 2007. I was tracking it the entire way and stood up at the last moment when I realized it was actually going to enter the booth and I made a clean grab.”
posted by Andy Hall on September 27, 2013 10:00 AM
ESPN producer Matt Ruhe cut his teeth working on a reality television series as well as “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” game show. (Andy Hall/ESPN)
A little more than seven years ago, Matt Ruhe was part of the crew that produced one of the most popular shows on network television. But he wasn’t totally satisfied. As Who Wants to be a Millionaire? was in its stellar run, Ruhe worked behind the scenes, testing potential contestants to ensure they were qualified to be on the program.
“I started out just making sure everyone was happy, then went to running the whole department, a big swing in two years,” he said. “And then once I kind of plateaued there, I decided I needed something bigger and better.” continue reading…
posted by Ana Livia Coelho on September 19, 2013 8:00 AM
NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer points out Ian Wilson’s name featured on his car. (Photo courtesy of Michael Waltrip Racing)
Earlier this month, ESPN and NASCAR launched a joint marketing campaign to promote the 10th Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on ESPN. In addition to a series of brand spots, the campaign introduced the #Fandorsements, a unique social media contest that allows fans to “sponsor” their favorite Chase driver by submitting an original picture of their drivers’ number through Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #Fandorsements. Each week during the Chase, a new winner is selected and his/her social media handle appears above the passenger window of his/her favorite Chase driver’s car in that week’s race. continue reading…