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 New York 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.
“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 Boston radio and TV scene, for the final hour of the show, which will be simulcast on ESPN2.
“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.
SportsNation on ESPN.com is presented by Toyota, and has been since 2004. Toyota is also advertising in SportsNation on ESPN2 at launch.