posted by Mac Nwulu on December 5, 2013 4:34 PM
Host Bob Ley (far left, white shirt) and analyst Alexi Lalas (far right) meet with the production crew on the Bristol set in preparation for ESPN’s FIFA World Cup Draw telecast. (Bill Hofheimer/ESPN)
ESPN’s Jed Drake
Reaction to ESPN’s presentation of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa was so positive that some fans consider it the finest work ESPN has produced in its 30-plus year history. Nearly four years later, ESPN is now tasked with the challenge of raising the bar even higher during next summer’s FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil.
While preparations started literally years ago, Friday’s FIFA World Cup Draw (11:30 a.m. ET, ESPN2 and WatchESPN) in Costa do Sauípe, Brazil is a significant day as the 32 teams will be placed into groups and the matchups for next summer’s tournament will be announced to the world.
Senior Vice President and Executive Producer Jed Drake spoke with Front Row about the World Cup Draw and his production team’s planning for 2014.
How does the Draw impact ESPN’s planning for FIFA World Cup 2014? continue reading…
posted by Andy Hall on December 5, 2013 8:00 AM
The stars of Highly Questionable (l-r): Bomani Jones, Gonzalo “Papi” Le Batard and Dan Le Batard.
Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part feature that takes Front Row readers behind the scenes of the daily ESPN2 program Highly Questionable. Part One was published Wednesday.
When taping begins for an episode of ESPN2’s Highly Questionable, the chances are good that a lot of laughter will emanate from the studio in Miami and the control room in Washington, D.C.
“There’s no show which I’ve ever worked where we laugh more,” said Erik Rydholm, executive producer. “And I don’t know that it always translates because some of it is we’re laughing at mistakes and laughing at people getting things wrong and so eventually that stuff doesn’t even make air.” continue reading…
posted by Hannah Worster on December 4, 2013 4:19 PM
Editor’s note: One of the only things ESPN employees love more than sports is their pets. Here, in the first of a special two-part Lineup, are some of those pets. Come back to Front Row next week for the second part.
1. Jay Crawford, SportsCenter anchor
Pets: Laila (age 3, Golden Retriever), Maddie (age 3 months, Golden Retriever)
Furry Fact: Maddie and Laila are sisters from the same mom and dad in Ohio. According to Crawford, “Maddie is feisty, Laila is gentle and understanding, even though she can’t seem to shake her new shadow!”
2. Jamie Little, Auto Racing & Action Sports reporter
Pets: Ike (l) (Age 4, Boston Terrier), Stella (r) (age 5, Boston Terrier/Pug mix)
Furry Fact: Both Ike and Stella are rescues. Little says, “She was found on the road with a broken pelvis then thrown in a high kill shelter. She was saved by a group that got her medical attention and put her picture online. That’s how we found her!”
3. Chris McKendry, SportsCenter anchor
Pet: Tad (age 2, Labrador Retriever) continue reading…
posted by Kristie Chong-Adler on December 4, 2013 12:55 PM
A screen grab of ESPN.com’s story package on NHL fighting. (ESPN)
ESPN.com launches a two-day series today that takes an in-depth look at fighting in the NHL. The comprehensive package of stories covers a variety of perspectives and opinions on the topic from current and former hockey players to ESPN experts and analysts, as well as fans. ESPN.com deputy editor Paul Grant spoke to Front Row about how the package came together.
What prompted ESPN.com to dive deeper into this issue? continue reading…
posted by Andy Hall on December 4, 2013 8:00 AM
Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part feature that takes Front Row readers behind the scenes of the daily ESPN2 program, Highly Questionable. Part Two will appear on Front Row tomorrow.
ESPN2’s Highly Questionable, a half-hour program in which ESPN Radio host Dan Le Batard, his father, Gonzalo “Papi” Le Batard and sports commentator Bomani Jones sit in Papi’s Miami “kitchen” and humorously answer questions about sports, presents a unique challenge for executive producer Erik Rydholm and his team.
Highly Questionable, which airs at 4 p.m. ET daily and has seen a 38 percent jump in ratings since Jones joined full time in May, is actually created in two places that are more than 1,000 miles apart. The set for Papi’s kitchen is located in a TV production facility in Miami, while Rydholm and the show’s other producers and editors are based in Washington, D.C. continue reading…
posted by Kristen Hudak on December 3, 2013 5:13 PM
The seventh annual Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research begins today with a simulcast of Jim Valvano’s iconic 1993 ESPYS speech across all ESPN platforms at 7 p.m. ET. The two-week initiative runs through Tuesday, Dec. 17, concluding with the Jimmy V Women’s and Men’s Basketball Classics. Tonight’s “roadblock” will feature an introduction by cancer survivor, Good Morning America host and the 2013 winner of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, Robin Roberts.
In addition, Roberts and a variety of athletes, coaches, celebrities and ESPN personalities also will appear in public service announcements following the simulcast, reciting Valvano’s speech and encouraging supporters to make a donation to The V Foundation. The PSAs and Jimmy V Week content and graphics will appear across ESPN programming throughout the initiative, including in Monday Night Football, NBA on ESPN games and college football games on ABC.
Front Row spoke to Vice President, Corporate Outreach, Kevin Martinez to learn more about this year’s initiative:
Why was Robin Roberts selected to introduce Jim’s speech this year? continue reading…
posted by David Scott on December 3, 2013 2:30 PM
EDITOR’S NOTE: After this post was published, it was determined that Ron Burgundy’s appearance would not take place.
This statement was issued on Wednesday, December 4, 2013, at 8:20 p.m. ET:
Ron Burgundy’s scheduled Thurs. appearance on @SportsCenter has been cancelled in light of the potential implications of any news from the State Attorney’s press conference in Fla.
As of this time, there is no rescheduled date for Burgundy on SportsCenter.
As if there weren’t enough reason to watch Thursday’s 6 p.m. ET SportsCenter – a huge weekend of college football and NFL games on the horizon – the show’s anchor desk will include two “characters,” in every sense of the word.
“When the opportunity presents itself to have the quintessential ‘Anchorman’ guest host SportsCenter,” said Jack Obringer, senior coordinating producer for the show, “you take advantage of it. I don’t know how to put this. . . but he’s kind of a big deal.”
So, in addition to regular anchors John Anderson and Lindsay Czarniak, the SC studio will welcome KVWN Channel Four News anchor Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and the station’s sportscaster, Champ Kind (David Koechner). continue reading…
posted by Susan Landry on December 3, 2013 8:00 AM
(Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images)
Editor’s note: Welcome to Off Camera with. . ., a Front Row series that introduces you to some of the studio anchors who have recently joined ESPN. Today, we meet Cassidy Hubbarth, who joined ESPN in August 2010 as a studio anchor and host for college football, basketball and NBA on ESPN3.
Favorite Team/Sport Moments: I am a die-hard Chicago Bulls fan. I grew up during the Michael Jordan era. We were that family screaming at the TV that you could hear from down the block whenever the Bulls were playing. My favorite Bulls/Jordan memory is when he won his fourth title in 1996. It was the first championship since his return and first since his father was murdered in 1993. Led by Jordan, the Bulls capped off the best season in NBA history on Father’s Day. The shot of Jordan lying on the locker room floor sobbing, in my opinion, is one of the most iconic sports images of all time. continue reading…
posted by Bill Hofheimer on December 2, 2013 4:51 PM
Mike Tirico sits down with New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton. (Chris Wondoloski/ESPN)
Coaches often talk about dividing the 16-game NFL schedule into quarters – four-game stretches for each month of the fall season.
If that’s true for broadcasters, ESPN is kicking off its home stretch and arguably most exciting four games of the season tonight when Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints (9-2) visit Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks (10-1) on Monday Night Football (8:25 p.m. ET on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN).
CenturyLink Field (Chris Wondoloski/ESPN)
Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden will call this matchup of the NFC’s top teams with sideline reporter Lisa Salters from CenturyLink Field. The Saints enter the game with a nine-game MNF winning streak while the Seahawks have won seven straight on Mondays. continue reading…
posted by Dan Quinn on December 2, 2013 1:00 PM
Former heavyweight champion and recent Broadway star Mike Tyson (“Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth,” his one-man show) visited ESPN’s Los Angeles Production Center last Wednesday to be a guest on SportsNation.
“You never know what’s going to happen when you’ve got Mike Tyson on live TV — this was the champ’s second visit to SportsNation this year and he certainly didn’t disappoint,” said SportsNation coordinating producer Wade Beckett. “Tyson is always a fan favorite and took time prior to the show for pictures with the SportsNation audience.” continue reading…