And I have some ESPN releases. Crazy day today. It all started around 9:25 this morning when Comcast and NFL Network announced an agreement and it hasn’t stopped since. I may have to work through lunch break. Insane.
Three ESPN-centric releases and let’s go over the first one. This one deals with Mike Tirico leaving his radio show and leaving it solely in the hands of Scott Van Pelt. Plus, one hour of the show will be simulcast on ESPN2. Why not have the entire ESPN Radio schedule be simulcast on ESPN2?
New Expanded TV and Radio Role for Mike Tirico
Scott Van Pelt Show to be Simulcast on ESPN2 in July, adds Russillo
Accomplished ESPN personality Mike Tirico will expand his ESPN responsibilities with a variety of high-profile TV and radio assignments, including a new weekly pro and college football radio show. In addition to his continuing play-by-play efforts for Monday Night Football and the NBA, and hosting duties on the Masters, NFL Draft and other top events, Tirico will play a prominent role in ESPN’s upcoming TV coverage of U.S. Open tennis, World Cup soccer, BCS games and more.
On the radio side, ESPN Radio’s Tirico & Van Pelt show (2-4 p.m. ET M-F) will become The Scott Van Pelt Show on July 6 when Van Pelt will be joined by Ryen Russillo with the final hour of their show simulcast for the first time on ESPN2.
Tirico’s new radio role will include hosting a weekly two-hour football program (22 weeks of the year) devoted to college and pro football Fridays from 7-9 p.m. He will be joined by a variety of ESPN college and pro football analysts and football newsmakers. Additionally, Tirico will host on-site ESPN Radio shows Super Bowl week, long-form podcasts featuring commentaries and interviews with top newsmakers, and SportsBeat afternoon drive-time commentaries throughout the year. He will also handle radio play-by-play for the NBA Finals, 2010 Rose Bowl and 2010 BCS Championship Game.
“Mike Tirico is one of the industry’s best and a trusted voice for fans,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, production. “A great thing about ESPN is the many existing and new opportunities available for his talents across TV, radio and beyond. On top of that, Scott Van Pelt has become a major radio presence and will continue to provide listeners with his informed perspective and entertaining flair.”
Tirico added, “These two years on the radio show have been awesome. Working with Scott and the rest of our show crew has made it fun to do every day. I look forward to the new television opportunities and the privilege of working two of the world’s most prestigious sporting events. While the schedule will not permit me to do the daily radio grind, I am very excited to continue my long association with ESPN Radio and will be a loyal listener at 2 p.m. Eastern every weekday.”
Russillo, who will join Van Pelt, is a veteran of the Boston radio and TV scene, and knows his way around ESPN Radio’s Bristol, Conn. studios, having hosted several shows and filled in on others in recent years.
“Clearly the show will miss Mike, and I am indebted to him for including me initially,” Van Pelt said. “That said, I am really fired up to get the chance to work with Ryen. He knows as much as anyone in the building about sports and we also have a lot in common aside from our love of sports which I am sure we will explore on air.”
Expanding ESPN Radio on TV
The Scott Van Pelt Show’s simulcast is the latest telecast of ESPN Radio programming which began with Mike & Mike in the Morning on ESPNEWS (April 2004) then ESPN2 (January 2006). The Herd with Colin Cowherd (10 a.m.-2 p.m. M-F) is currently simulcast on ESPNU.
Cowherd will also co-host his own show on ESPN2 starting July 6 when he will be joined by Michelle Beadle on the new daily studio show SportsNation (4-5 p.m. M-F). Radio personalities hosting television shows is not unprecedented, as Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic took their morning show to prime time for an August 2004 special.
This just in and related to the Scott Van Pelt release, ESPN2 will offer a new show co-hosted by ESPN Radio blowhard Colin Cowherd and new ESPN’er Michelle Beadle. Take a look.
ESPN2 Introduces Fan-Interactive Studio Show: SportsNation with Colin Cowherd, Michelle Beadle
SportsNation, The Scott Van Pelt Show Set to Debut Back-to-Back July 6 on ESPN2
SportsNation on ESPN.com to Relaunch May 27
ESPN2 will introduce a new daily studio show, SportsNation, hosted by ESPN Radio personality Colin Cowherd and Michelle Beadle. Taking a cue from ESPN.com’s SportsNation, where fans interact with athletes, coaches, sportswriters, commentators and each other in real time, SportsNation is a live sports television show born from the Internet, fueled by fan interaction and focused on fun. The one-hour weekday show starts Monday, July 6, at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN2, immediately following the television debut of ESPN Radio’s The Scott Van Pelt Show at 3 p.m.
“The fans will have unprecedented input in the show’s daily rundown,” said SportsNation coordinating producer Jamie Horowitz. “Our goal is to bring the fan into our production meetings. The fans choose the topics, provide the angles, and decide how much Brett Favre talk is really needed.”
The show will include discussion of the smaller stories that generate buzz on the Internet but often aren’t seen on television.
“SportsNation will focus on topics that dominate fans’ email exchanges and blogs,” added Horowitz. “The show will be a conversation between people who love sports but don’t take every story so seriously. The funny Web stories everyone forwards to their friends will find a home on SportsNation.”
Feeding off the producers’ theory that if two heads are better than one, 100,000 heads are better than two, SportsNation will engage hundreds of thousands of sports fans across the country via ESPN.com’s SportsNation. Fans will be able to interact with the hosts before, during and after the show by e-mail, text, Twitter or just making a phone call.
“SportsNation will really have three hosts – Colin, Michelle and the fans,” Horowitz said. “We are counting on the fans’ commentary and feedback to make the show unique. I’d like to rely on Colin, but he doesn’t listen to anything we tell him.”
Said Cowherd, “I’m stunned management let me do a TV show. I know what the producers and I find interesting and funny – and it leads me to conclude that we probably won’t be on the air very long.”
Michelle Beadle is also the host of People.com’s popular feature, What You Missed Over the Weekend. She recently joined 1050 ESPN New York as the
SportsCenter anchor for The Michael Kay Show. Michelle does broadcast work at the YES Network as the New Jersey Nets pre, post-game and sideline reporter and as a co-host for SportsLife NYC, and she was previously the host of the Emmy Award-winning program Ultimate Road Trip. She has worked as a correspondent for NFL Films’ Under the Helmet and as a host for MLB Productions’ Cathedrals of the Game. Michelle has done broadcast work in the past with College Sports Television, CBS Sports, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Travel Channel and TNN, and also previously worked as a freelance reporter for ESPN’s Titan Games. New York
“My excitement for the show is twofold,” said Beadle. “I am looking forward to seeing the world through my newly-acquired Colin Cowherd glasses and riding his coattails straight to the middle. I know Colin is great at talking. I’m really excited to teach him to listen.”
Added Cowherd, “It will be a great opportunity for Michelle for obvious reasons: She gets to work with me. It’ll be a high wire act. It’ll be dangerous, it’ll be funny. She’ll poke me in the ribs and I’ll fire back. We want to make it as if we’re just goofing off while there happens to be a camera in the room.”
The Scott Van Pelt Show
ESPN Radio’s Tirico & Van Pelt show (2-4 p.m. M-F) will become The Scott Van Pelt Show on July 6 when Tirico will focus on a variety of other network opportunities. Van Pelt will be joined by Ryen Russillo, a veteran of the
radio and TV scene, for the final hour of the show, which will be simulcast on ESPN2. Boston
“I look forward to bringing the art work that adorns the wall behind me to the set and I will be leaving hideous messes that Mike and Mike can deal with in the morning,” said Van Pelt.
Van Pelt joins the ranks of already successful televised ESPN Radio shows such as Mike & Mike in the Morning on ESPN2 and Cowherd’s own The Herd with Colin Cowherd on ESPNU, and together with SportsNation adds a fresh punch to the summer lineup on ESPN2.
Van Pelt, who joined ESPN in 2001 as a lead golf reporter and went on to become a top SportsCenter anchor, shares two hours of radio time on weekdays – 2-4 p.m. – with fellow ESPN personality Mike Tirico during ESPN Radio’s Tirico & Van Pelt.
SportsNation on ESPN.com Relaunch
In advance of the television debut, SportsNation on ESPN.com will relaunch with a new design, a more blog-style chronological layout, new live chat index, enhanced features and direct tie-ins to SportsNation on ESPN2.
Each month, SportsNation averages nearly a million unique visitors, and in March 2009 visitors were up 18 percent compared to a year ago. Since its launch on ESPN.com in fall 2003, SportsNation on ESPN.com has hosted more than 4,000 chats annually and more than 10,000 polls – collectively generating and average of more than 100 million fan votes – annually. In 2008, fans logged 154 million votes in SportsNation polls.
And ESPN announces an expansion of a digital rights agreement with Wimbledon.
ESPN, All England Club Expand Wimbledon Digital Rights AgreementNearly 650 Hours of Live ESPN360.com Coverage Across All Courts
More Live Mobile Streaming and Expanded Highlights on ESPN.com
ESPN and the The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club today announced that they have expanded their Wimbledon digital rights agreement in the Americas (U.S., Mexico, Central and South America* and the Caribbean). Under the expanded agreement, starting Monday June 22 ESPN will deliver nearly double the hours of live broadband coverage on ESPN360.com this year, expand its live mobile streaming on ESPN Mobile TV by nearly 60 percent and adds additional highlights on ESPN.com and ESPNdeportes.com.“Wimbledon is one of the great ‘sports holidays’ on the calendar for fans each year,” said John Skipper, executive vice president, content, ESPN. “Through ESPN’s platforms, the competition, pageantry and personalities of Wimbledon will be available to fans at their desk, in their pocket and on their television like never before.”ESPN360.com, the company’s signature live sports broadband network, will deliver live coverage of all courts (up to nine, depending on schedule of play) throughout the early rounds, and a total of nearly 650 hours of live coverage between opening day and the semi-finals – nearly doubling the total hours delivered last year.
ESPN360.com will also simulcast ESPN2′s nearly 100 hours of coverage and will have the Wimbledon Finals events on-demand the morning following competition.In the U.S. in 2009, ESPN360.com will become the first broadband network to deliver live online coverage of all four Grand Slam tennis events – delivering nearly 1300 total hours of combined coverage this year. ESPN360.com’s Wimbledon coverage adds to more than 275 hours of live French Open coverage in May, at least 260 hours of US Open coverage in August and more than 100 hours of Australian Open coverage each year to cement ESPN360.com as the home for live broadband coverage of Grand Slam tennis.ESPN360 in Mexico and Chile will also deliver all the live coverage delivered in the United States.In addition, ESPN’s agreement with The All England Club includes:
- ESPN.com & ESPNdeportes.com: The leading sports site will deliver expanded highlights of Wimbledon at ESPN.com/tennis and ESPN.com/video, as well as Spanish-language highlights on ESPNdeportes.com.
- ESPN Mobile TV: ESPN’s 24/7 mobile video network will expand its live mobile streaming coverage, delivering more than 80 hours throughout the tournament.
- Wimbledon Central: ESPN.com will again feature Wimbledon Central, a dynamic content application that will feature the official live scoring for all matches throughout the tournament. Additionally, Wimbledon Central will be available for the first time on the ESPN Mobile Web site.
- ESPN Mobile Web and ESPN MVP: Fans will again be able to follow all the action throughout the championship via ESPN’s industry leading mobile Web site and through the signature ESPN MVP application on Verizon wireless.
- Interactive Television: for the second year, ESPN will offer U.S. tennis fans a six-screen mosaic presentation that can be seen in 18 million homes served by DIRECTV, now extending through the first Saturday of play.
- Wimbledon Archives: in the days leading up to Wimbledon past Wimbledon matches (full and condensed) will be available on-demand through ESPN.com and ESPN360.com.* Includes all of Central and South America, except Brazil.
That’s it for now. I hope things slow down for a bit, but they won’t.