The Pardon the Interruption set with Tony Kornheiser (L) and Michael Wilbon. (Randy Sage/ESPN Images)
Bonnie Berko is not only Pardon the Interruption’s assistant director. She’s also the show’s designated prop manager. Here are some of the favorite pieces she’s bought, collected and curated for the PTI set in Washington, D.C. over the past 12 years.
1. LADY LEG LAMP
One of PTI’s first props, the lamp was purchased as a gift for the show by resident “stat boy” Tony Reali.
2. “PTI GOTHIC”
Berko had this “American Gothic” inspired caricature of Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon created.
The KIA NBA Countdown crew (L-R) Michael Wilbon, Magic Johnson, Jalen Rose and Bill Simmons. The group — minus Magic — will be in New Orleans tonight as ESPN presents an NBA doubleheader. (Scott Clarke / ESPN)
ESPN is taking KIA NBA Countdown — its NBA pre-game show – on the road for the first time this season. The destination?
It’s New Orleans — Jackson Square to be specific, where ESPN this week is presenting 120 hours of programming leading up to Super Bowl XLVII.
Analysts Jalen Rose, Bill Simmons and Michael Wilbon will be on site for Countdown at 7:30 p.m. ET, which precedes ESPN’s NBA doubleheader: Miami Heat at Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns. The crew will be back throughout the evening for halftime and post-game segments.
Front Row had the chance to catch up with Countdown coordinating producer Amina Hussein — the former CP for Sunday NFL Countdown — who is at the helm of several exciting changes to Countdown this year, the latest of which is a trip to the Super Bowl host city.
Aren’t you supposed to be done with football now?
[Laughs] As a fan I am never done with football. Being from the Bay Area, it’s exciting to have a Bay Area team in the big game, even if it’s not the Raiders.
How did the decision to take KIA NBA Countdown to the Super Bowl happen?continue reading…
Welcome to another edition of the Fan Central Mailbag. Remember, if you have an ESPN-related question, follow us @ESPN_FanCentral and use #FanCentralMB to tweet your questions. You can also e-mail them to FanCentral@ESPN.com.
To start this edition of the mailbag, we want to address a topic several of you have expressed interest in: ESPN’s commitment to women’s sports.
ESPN’s commitment and support of female athletes is stronger than ever. In 2012, there were more than 2,100 hours of women’s sport programming on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, including the WNBA, NCAA Women’s Basketball, Women’s Grand Slam Tennis, NCAA Women’s Lacrosse, X Games, NCAA Softball and Women’s Professional Softball. Additionally, ESPN was home to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2011.
Also, espnW, ESPN’s brand platform with its mission to connect female fans to the sports they love and follow, offers content geared toward female athletes and sports fans. espnW’s digital hub at espnW.com offers commentary and coverage for female sports fans, premier coverage of women’s sports and the voice of the female athlete.
Will Brent Musberger and Kirk Herbstreit be calling the BCS National Championship game? — Mike
Indeed, Brent and Kirk will be calling the big game between No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Alabama on Monday (ESPN, 8:30 p.m. ET). Heather Cox and Tom Rinaldi will handle sideline reporting duties. If you have a 3D television, you won’t want to miss ESPN 3D’s coverage of the game where Joe Tessitore and Rod Gilmore will provide extended coverage of the title game during select commercial breaks of the ESPN telecast.
When will ESPN televise the 2012 World Strongest Man competition finals? — Frank
ESPN and ESPN2 will be televising the entire 2012 World’s Strongest Man throughout the month of January. ESPN will air the first seven episodes from the 11-episode competition tomorrow starting at 7:30 p.m.
You can catch the remaining episodes, which include the finals, on Jan. 12 when ESPN2 reairs the entire competition starting at 6 p.m. You also can watch reairs of episodes Nos. 2-11 on Jan. 13 starting at 2:30 p.m.
Be sure to check out our latest TV listings by visiting our TV page at ESPNTV.com. Please note that programming is subject to change.
The revamped KIA NBA Countdown — ESPN and ABC’s NBA pre-game show — is off to a hot start with new personalities like Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose, various new segments and a new philosophy: Focus on big picture NBA topics and storylines.
The coordinating producer behind the transformation? Amina Hussein.
She joined ESPN in 2003 as an ESPN Radio producer. Most recently, she served as coordinating producer for Sunday NFL Countdown.
Prior to the 2011-12 NBA season, Hussein had the opportunity to head west to take the reins of KIA NBA Countdown — along with producer Kim Belton — which emanates from ESPN’s LAPC. It’s a great fit for the Oakland, Calif. native.
Front Row had the opportunity to catch up with Hussein to talk about her ESPN career and the new-look Countdown.
How did your journey to ESPN begin?
Before working at ESPN, I worked at KNBR 680 AM/1050 AM, which at the time was the No. 1 sports radio station in San Francisco. They had rights to the 49ers, Giants, Warriors and Raiders. After the Raiders lost the Super Bowl back in 2003, as a producer I needed a change. I went straight from Oakland to Bristol — I don’t think MC Hammer or Too Short wrote songs about that!
What do you remember about your first day at ESPN?
I remember feeling like it was growing and had great people and amazing producers that I could learn from. After being here a while I found the time to grow as a person, a radio producer and eventually a TV producer.
Why is KIA NBA Countdown a better fit for you than Sunday NFL Countdown? continue reading…
LOS ANGELES — The new-look KIA NBA Countdown show made its highly anticipated debut last Friday with a one-hour pregame show prior to ESPN’s season-opening NBA doubleheader.
From ESPN’s Los Angeles Production Center, Countdown enters this season with new names and faces both on camera and behind the scenes. Returning analysts Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Michael Wilbon are joined by Countdown rookies Bill Simmons (Grantland editor-in-chief) and Jalen Rose (ESPN NBA and men’s college basketball analyst) to form the new Countdown quartet.
Behind the scenes, Amina Hussein, coordinating producer, has taken the reins after handling Sunday NFL Countdown. ESPN Front Row and ESPN Images were granted special access to the Countdown production meeting as the crew prepared for its big debut. KIA NBA Countdown will air Wednesdays and Fridays on ESPN and Sundays on ABC, 30 minutes prior to game telecasts.
Catch KIA NBA Countdown tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET, just before the Philadelphia 76ers visit the New Orleans Hornets beginning at 8 p.m., followed by the San Antonio Spurs visiting the Los Angeles Clippers at 10:30 p.m. Injured Clippers guard Chauncey Billups joins the Countdown crew tonight prior to heading across the street for his team’s game.
Lee Corso is one of college football’s most knowledgeable, opinionated and entertaining analysts on ESPN’s College GameDay.
He is famous for ending every weekly show with his mascot headgear prediction, choosing who he thinks will win GameDay‘s featured matchup by donning the headpiece of the school’s mascot.
Corso joined ESPN in 1987 and is the only original GameDay on-air personality (he was a contributor in 1987-88 and joined as an analyst in 1989). In the photo gallery above, see some of Corso’s picks from this season of college football.
ICYMI: Highlights from the past week on Front Row
• The Northwestern football team used images of Mike Greenberg, Michael Wilbon and Abraham Lincoln on one of their play cards. Greenberg and NU head coach Pat Fitzgerald shared their thoughts on the memorable sideline image.
•University of Kansas fans and supporters flocked to the Lied Center to see the premiere of There’s No Place Like Home, the latest film in the 30 for 30 series.
•The U.S. Men’s National Team beat Guatemala 3-1, insuring a spot in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. We caught up with lead producer Chris Alexopoulos to discuss the production plans they had for the match.
The foursome will debut Friday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. ET during a special one-hour pre-game telecast, preceding ESPN’s season-opening doubleheader: Miami Heat/N.Y. Knicks at 8 p.m.; L.A. Clippers/L.A. Lakers at 10:30 p.m.
“I think the four of us will be able to have good conversations,” Simmons said. “We’re all going to say what we’re thinking. I’m better playing off other people and I think Jalen is the same way and I know Magic is the same way — all four of us can do that. At the same time we want the show to have a level of sophistication.”
Pictures of ESPN’s Michael Wilbon and Mike Greenberg combined with Abraham Lincoln to help Northwestern to a ‘win’ last Saturday.
What would the assembled images of ESPN personalities Mike Greenberg and Michael Wilbon, Abraham Lincoln and the initials “W.I.N.” possibly have to do with football?
That’s for the Northwestern University Wildcats to know and their foes — and anyone else intrigued by the imagery — to ponder.
In the Wildcats’ 21-13 Big Ten victory over host Minnesota last Saturday, Northwestern wide receiver Cermak Bland was photographed hoisting a “play card” on the sidelines. The images of Lincoln, W.I.N. and Northwestern alums Greenberg (1989) and Wilbon (1980) on the board apparently represent a play for the Wildcats offense.
What’s the call? NU head coach Pat Fitzgerald isn’t saying.
Fitzgerald tells Front Row: “Mike and Michael will always be a part of the Northwestern family and they’re a crucial element in some of the successes we’ve earned on offense this season. They may get the lion’s share of the attention, but our play cards include lots of great Americans beyond just those two. Abraham Lincoln, for instance.”
Schefter, like a handful of other ESPN experts, has a camera in his house in New York so he can be ready at a moment’s notice to break news or report on a top NFL story for SportsCenter or one of ESPN’s many NFL shows.
Instead of having a generic blue backdrop behind him, Schefter uses the actual bookcase in his home. Below are some of the pieces of memorabilia and other items of interest in Schefter’s own words: continue reading…