“Everybody at the networks at that time was using teleprompters. I said, ‘We don’t need teleprompters,” said George Grande, who with co-anchor Lee Leonard (who welcomed audiences to “sports heaven”) launched the network’s programming with the first SportsCenter. “We wanted [anchors] who knew sports, who understood sports, who could ad lib about the stories of the day. As long as I ran SportsCenter, we never used them.”
For Grande, Leonard, Chris Berman, Bob Ley, Tom Mees and several other pioneering SportsCenter anchors, working without teleprompters was “a red badge of courage.”
Grande, who helped Front Row commemorate 50,000 SportsCenter episodes last year, is a former USC baseball player who also served as an intern for Vin Scully and was a CBS News colleague of Walter Cronkite before joining ESPN. continue reading…
On Wednesday in Bristol, Conn., 40 of the nation’s finest journalists visited the ESPN campus for a Media Day featuring panels discussing college football, the NFL and SportsCenter, in addition to a lunch with ESPN President John Skipper. Here, we present some of the social buzz from the event.
But first, take a look at the video above – which media members in attendance received a first viewing of – and offers a virtual tour of what the new SportsCenter studio will look like. The tour is hosted by SportsCenter anchor Steve Levy. continue reading…
For 13 NFL seasons, Jeff Saturday and Peyton Manning were virtually inseparable as the center-quarterback duo for the Indianapolis Colts.
While Manning is just beginning his second season with the Denver Broncos, Saturday — who played last season with the Green Bay Packers before retiring from the NFL — is a newly minted ESPN analyst.
Earlier this week, as a guest on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike, Saturday was asked to weigh in on a number of recent stories, including the NFL’s updated unsportsmanlike conduct rules; the possibility that Saturday would return to the field this season; and the Manning brothers’ hilarious music video for Direct TV. continue reading…
Ryan Clark on the set of NFL Live (Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images)
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark has been on TV many times, but this week was different.
Appearing in a suit and tie instead of a uniform, Clark was invited to ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. campus for a four-day “internship” as a guest NFL analyst. In between appearances on SportsCenter, NFL Live and NFL32, Clark spoke to Front Row and discussed his experience as an analyst-in-training. continue reading…
Trey Wingo at the 2012 NFL Draft. (Allen Kee / ESPN Images)
NFL Live host Trey Wingo is no stranger to the NFL Draft.
He covered the event for the first time on a live ESPN web stream in 2000 before moving onto the ESPN Radio broadcast from 2001-03. Since 2004, Wingo has been a major figure in ESPN’s television coverage of the annual “NFL Player Selection Meeting.”
After doing pre-draft shows and interviews with players during Round 1 yesterday from the ESPN studios in Connecticut, Wingo drove the approximately two hours to New York City around midnight in anticipation of his weekend hosting role on ESPN’s main set at Radio City Music Hall. continue reading…
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Less than a full day into NFL Free Agency, ESPN has announced a major signing of its own.
Two-time Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl champion and 12-time Pro Bowler Ray Lewisis joining the company as a NFL studio analyst.
Lewis, who will have a prominent role on Monday Night Countdown and Sunday NFL Countdown, is visiting the ESPN campus in Bristol, Conn., today as part of the EA Sports Madden cover vote. He is scheduled to appear on multiple programs throughout the day, including ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike in the Morning (9:45 a.m. ET), SportsCenter (10 a.m.) and NFL Live (4 p.m.), where he will discuss his new ESPN role.
In the Front & Center podcast above, John Wildhack, ESPN’s executive vice president, production, talks about the addition of Lewis to ESPN’s NFL roster and what fans can expect from the future Hall of Famer as a broadcaster.
Last week, ESPN aired more than 120 hours of television and radio from the site of Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans, La.
With Studio E staples Mike & Mike In The Morning, NFL Live and NFL 32 producing remote shows from the French Quarter, there was just enough time to give one of ESPN’s most versatile Digital Center 1 workspaces a “refresh.”
In less than 48 hours on Jan. 29 and 30, Studio E was retrofitted with the latest-generation cameras, monitors and set lighting — a task made possible by the Super Bowl road shows and First Take’s flexibility.
“It is rare that we move NFL programming to any other studio, especially since a show like NFL 32 has a specific set built for them in Studio E,” said Sara Nasshan, a senior resource coordinator who handled the request to clear Studio E for two full days to accommodate a full camera replacement.
“The only live show in the studio was First Take, and their team was very flexible,” she said. “They agreed to move the show to Studio A on two dates to accommodate this work in Studio E. Smart timing and flexible show units help make moves like this happen.” continue reading…
A collection of ESPN’s Super Bowl champions on-set in New Orleans. (Tonya Malinowski/ESPN)
NEW ORLEANS — ESPN commentators offer their predictions for Super Bowl XLVII. Of the 35 ESPN commentator picks, 21 chose the San Francisco 49ers, while 14 selected the Baltimore Ravens as the anticipated winner:
Picking the 49ers:
Tedy Bruschi, NFL Live analyst and three-time Super Bowl champion, 28-27: “The difference is the 49ers’ offensive line. Frank Gore is the MVP.”
Frank Caliendo, comedian/impersonator and Sunday NFL Countdown contributor, 30-27: “Both teams — who have been known for their defenses — have been putting points on the board as of late, but I think the 49ers have a little more firepower — and I really just want to see how crazy [head coach] Jim Harbaugh goes if they win.”
Cris Carter, Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown analyst, 31-27: “[Colin] Kaepernick’s going to run the ball a lot.”
John Clayton, ESPN.com senior NFL writer, 28-24: “With power football in vogue in this Super Bowl, the 49ers will overpower the Ravens at the end. The 49ers are deep in talent and focused, but it still wouldn’t surprise me if they need overtime to get the win.”
Trent Dilfer, Monday Night Countdown analyst and Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl XXXV champion quarterback, 31-23: “As conflicted as I am having to pick between two of my former teams . . . Both move the ball. The Pistol [offense] allows the Niners to punch it in, while the Ravens are stuck kicking field goals.”
Mike Ditka, Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown analyst, Super Bowl champion as player, coach, 28-24: “I like what Jim [Harbaugh] has done and how he’s built the team. If the 49ers do not get a pass rush, they will be in trouble but they have found a way to get it done all season.”
Herm Edwards, NFL Live analyst, 27-24: “The 49ers have too many options on offense that present problems for the Ravens. Even though Colin Kaepernick is young, sometimes being young and naïve in a game like this is a good thing.”
Merril Hoge, NFL Live, NFL Matchup and NFL PrimeTime analyst, 21-20: “The core of the 49ers, the offensive and defensive lines, is the best in football. Colin Kaepernick has brought focus to their offense, but it’s because they are so good in the trenches.”
Tom Jackson, Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown analyst, 24-21: “In the critical area — the front line on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball — I think the 49ers have an edge.”
Keyshawn Johnson, Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown analyst and Super Bowl champion, 24-17: “No one’s figured out how to stop this Pistol offense. Defenses have struggled against this offense and Kaepernick.”
Chris Mortensen, NFL senior analyst and NFL32 co-host, 31-23: “Colin Kaepernick’s composure has been the biggest surprise for me this postseason, and I don’t think he’s going to lose it on the NFL’s biggest stage.”
Jerry Rice, NFL Live analyst, Hall of Famer and three-time San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl champion, 24-17: “The Niners will have a better defense and Colin Kaepernick bringing so many different formations to the offense will present matchup problems for the Ravens.”
Ryen Russillo, co-host of ESPN Radio’s SVP & Russillo, 24-17: “San Francisco has been the best team all season and they will be the better team on Sunday.”
Adam Schefter, NFL Insider, 17-14: “Two throwback teams playing a throwback game in which two undrafted free agent kickers, David Akers and Justin Tucker, could decide the world championship.”
Mark Schlereth, NFL Live analyst, ESPN Radio host and three-time Super Bowl champion, 28-27: “Offensively, Colin Kaepernick — the dual-threat and read-option [QB] — will be too much.”