Front Row sat down with him to discuss “The Schwab” playoffs that start tonight during UNITE on ESPNU at midnight ET. The field in this bracket has been narrowed from 27 to nine college contestants who will represent their respective conferences in the semifinals of the late-night show’s sports trivia game. 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. Also, be sure to “like” our Fan Central Facebook page. You can also e-mail questions to FanCentral@espn.com.
Tiger Woods (Allen Kee/ESPN Images)
Before we get to your questions, here’s our Masters schedule for the remainder of the tournament. Today’s live coverage runs from 3:00-7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN3/WatchESPN. An edited, encore presentation starts tonight at 8 p.m. on ESPN. Also, ESPN 3D will have three hours of live play today starting at 4:30 p.m. and 3D will also have live coverage tomorrow and Sunday beginning at 4 p.m.
With Louisville winning the men’s NCAA National Championship title and UConn taking the women’s crown, another year of ESPN.com’s Tournament Challenge is in the books. This year, a record-breaking 8.15 million fans filled out a men’s bracket, surpassing last year’s numbers by 26.3 percent.
Multiple ESPN Radio shows and ESPNU’s UNITE provided fans with additional bracket challenges. Below, Front Row offers a break down from the specialty brackets and offers our own suggestions for next year’s bracket bonanza.
SVP & Russillo Bracket Name:TV Moms Bracket Winner: No. 14-seed Wilma Flintstone beat out No 2. Marge Simpson Front Row bracket suggestion for next year: Fast Food Chain Restaurants
The Herd with Colin Cowherd Bracket Name:QB Bracket Winner: No. 1-seed Joe Montana defeated No. 2 Peyton Manning Front Row bracket suggestion for next year: MLB Starting Pitchers
Coach & Company Bracket Name:Reality TV Bracket Winner: No. 6-seed Cake Boss defeated No. 1 seed Cops Front Row bracket suggestion for next year: Non Reality TV
Hill & Schlereth Bracket Name:Uni Bracket Winner: No. 1-seed Oregon Ducks defeated No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels Front Row bracket suggestion for next year: Super Bowl Ads
UNITE Bracket Name:Star Wars: This is Madness Winner: The Light Side’s Yoda defeated the Dark Side’s Darth Vader Front Row bracket suggestion for next year: Disney Characters
The Superpipe at night, part of the final destination for ESPN employees as they arrived at X Games in Tignes, France. (Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)
For the second stop on X Games’ 2013 global expansion – a six-event schedule that began in Aspen this past January and will conclude in Los Angeles in August – ESPN colleagues working the event find themselves in the southeast corner of France for X Games Tignes.
While they discover the mountainside scenery to be absolutely breathtaking, the intrepid souls also learn that jet lag can be a very real thing! A few of our co-workers kept travel logs for our internal website, In the Know (ITK). Here, Front Row is proud to share a sampling of those diaries that help represent the incredible dedication and devotion it takes to be part of the X team. continue reading…
The Light Side vs. The Dark Side has long been debated since “Star Wars” first began and UNITE, ESPN’s late night entertainment show, has aligned with Lucas Films to attempt to find an answer via the time-honored tradition of “bracketing.” continue reading…
Last Friday, Feb. 15, hosts Danny Kanell, Reese Waters and Marianela Pereyra traveled from their Bristol-based UNITE studio to the Big Apple to call their first basketball game, Iona at Manhattan, on ESPNU.
The MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) contest lived up to its ESPN Rivalry Week designation. Manhattan outlasted Iona 74-73 in double overtime.
Rookie basketball analysts Kanell and Waters and sideline reporter Marianela were helped by veteran play-by-play voice Doug Sherman.
The pictures above capture some of the UNITE team’s behind-the-scenes preparation and on-air presentation.
Front Rowtalked with Kanell, also known for his role as an ESPN college football analyst, prior to the game.
Wright Thompson’s profile of Michael Jordan is available on ESPN.com and will appear in ESPN The Magazine.
In celebration of Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday this Sunday, ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com senior writer Wright Thompson chronicles Jordan’s journey as he reaches the milestone birthday.
The feature appears both on ESPN.com and in The Mag, occupying 10 pages in the publication’s upcoming “Analytics Issue” on newsstands Friday, Feb. 22.
Front Row asked Thompson to reflect on his experience with Jordan.
How did you arrange for the access and how much time did you spend with him?
I started writing letters and talking about the idea to his people; they were intrigued in the beginning, and over a period of months, some comfort developed and I think they decided to say yes. They weren’t shy at all, and didn’t act like they minded someone seeing what Michael was like up close. It was loose and natural from the beginning.
What surprised you most about MJ? Had you spent any time with him previously?continue reading…
Drafted by both the NFL (Giants, 1996) and MLB (Brewers, 1992; Yankees, 1995), the former Florida State quarterback (and two season Seminoles baseball player) cherishes athletic competition of any sort. That’s one of the many reasons he is able to host a show like UNITE that addresses various sports.
Kanell puts his analytical skills to the test when he and fellow UNITE hosts Reese Waters and Marianela Pereyra call the MAAC Rivalry Week matchup of Iona at Manhattan on ESPNU (Friday, 7 p.m. ET).
Kanell has called baseball games for ESPNU, but this will be his first time providing analysis for a basketball game. Waters and Kanell will join play-by-play voice Doug Sherman, and Pereyra will handle sideline reporting duties.
Recently, UNITE has been the postgame destination for ESPNU action with Kanell and Waters providing recap analysis, highlights and interviews with the game’s coaches and players. Front Row sat down with Kanell to see what he’s learned:
How have you prepared for the game?
We have been reading game notes along with research and media clippings of both teams and we watched several of their game highlights online. Also, we are going to go to both team’s shoot-arounds on Friday where we will talk to the coaches and players. [Note: UNITE also had two Iona players on the show this week -- see video above.]
What do you know about ESPN’s Doug Sherman, who will be providing the play-by-play?
Doug Sherman is a staple of MAAC basketball. He’s been covering the conference for nine years and knows the players and teams inside and out. There is a rumor that we are going to give him a UNITE makeover throughout the game so we’ll have to see if it that happens.
ESPN’s first late-night entertainment show, UNITE, celebrates three months on the air today.
What does one get for its three-month anniversary? According to GiftyPedia.com, a CD, concert tickets or magazine subscription are best as “your relationship is beginning to get more serious, so these gift ideas should show that you listen.”
Well, DJ Rob Swift is jamming on the airwaves every weeknight, so CD and concert tickets seem redundant. Comedian Reese Waters already made his ESPN the Magazine poetic debut, so a magazine subscription just seems narcissistic. But, the relationship is indeed beginning to get more serious.
We decided on a bus: It’s shiny, big and guaranteed to “rev the engine” of any relationship.
And UNITE isn’t the only show to adorn the shuttle rotation on ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. campus. ESPN’s First Take commentators — Stephen A. Smith, Skip Bayless and newly minted moderator Cari Champion — also now transport the company’s thousands of employees with a set of wheels.
Research is currently being conducted as to whether riding the UNITE bus will make you funnier or if catching the First Take shuttle will make you more likely to win an argument*.
When the clock strikes midnight, and your face is smeared with evidence that you did in fact eat every piece of candy that you were supposed to be offering trick or treaters, ESPNU has one last treat — a UNITE #HOWLoween special. Yes, that’s right, it’s about time we made some use of that howling wolf logo of ours.
Marianela Pereyra hit the road this week to get the scoop on the Tide and the Tigers before the second Armageddon (what’s more Halloween than the end of the world?) and left Reese Waters, Danny Kanell and DJ Rob Swift to man the show by themselves. That alone might explain why the set will so accurately depict a frat house tonight.
The UNITE crew will be doing what it does best, celebrating animal mascots and the college fans they serve with an Animal House-themed show complete with a set transformation and togas for all. We caught up with Danny, Reese, Marianela and DJ Rob before they made their national toga debut to talk about an ESPN Halloween.
What is your favorite Halloween costume memory? Reese: Joe Theismann (see picture)
Reese Waters as Joe Theismann.
DJ Rob Swift: The Spiderman getup I wore in the fifth grade; unfortunately no pictures, you’ll just have to trust me that it was epic. Danny: Last year I was the Honey Badger on Palmer & Pollack. (see video below)
What ESPN commentator would you most like to dress up as? Marianela:Lee Corso. I love him! For being one of the oldest, he knows how to have the most fun. What an idol. Reese:Sage Steele. I came in as her once last month and no one seemed to notice. Also would like Scott Van Pelt, but I know from experience that stilts are no fun. DJ Rob Swift:Herm Edwards: “YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME!” Danny:Chris Berman attempting to golf.
Which ESPN studio set would be the best to trick-or-treat at? Reese: The one in LA. . . because I would be in LA. DJ Rob Swift:NFL Countdown, my favorite sports show. Wait, can I say UNITE? Marianela: Trick-or-treating happens nightly on the set of UNITE thanks to our very own Reese Waters. He has a bag of treats that he brings with him every night (along with 14 cavities . . . Danny is catching up!) Boy, do those two love candy!
Have you ever worn a toga before? Reese: Have you seen me? I stay away from togas for the good of society. Marianela: I wore a toga once in Oregon for the Nike toga run. A bit too plain for my style.
UNITE Halloween theme ideas that didn’t make the cut this year? Reese: Magic Mike, unfortunately, the Disney health plan doesn’t cover supplements. Marianela: We were going to pull off the cast of Jersey Shore on UNITE, but Reese didn’t want to be Snookie. It would have been epic. Instead I hit the road and became a zombie with former LSU O-Lineman T-Bob Hebert at the scariest Haunted House in the land. The 13th gate! T-Bob is the Incredible Hulk of Zombies!
Tweet your best sports themed Halloween costumes to @UNITE tonight #HOWLoween.