ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt has signed a multiyear extension that will see him become the solo anchor for SportsCenter’s weekday, midnight (ET) edition. Scheduled to start his new role in late summer, Van Pelt will put his own, unique spin on the day’s news and highlights while offering the commentary, guests, interviews and insight fans have come to expect from the host of ESPN Radio’s SVP & Russillo.
The announcement was made today at ESPN’s annual Upfront presentation in New York City, where the network showcases upcoming programming in front of an audience of advertisers and media buyers.
The midnight show will feature Van Pelt’s outgoing and authoritative personality and his signature perspective on the sports world. Popular elements of his radio show, like “One Big Thing,” will be incorporated into the hour-long telecast. Van Pelt will continue to host ESPN golf coverage in addition to other assignments but will no longer do his radio show once the midnight show begins.
“We believe Scott’s one-of-a-kind blend of intellect, humor and sports fandom will place a new, entertaining stamp on the midnight SportsCenter,” said Rob King, ESPN senior vice president, SportsCenter and News. “Placed between the 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. editions of SportsCenter, Scott will have the freedom to focus on the day’s most compelling storylines and offer his own imprint, in addition to the perspective of his assembled cast of characters.”
“It was going to take something remarkable for me to consider a day that didn’t include radio, and this would qualify,” said Van Pelt, who joined ESPN in 2001. “To be allowed and empowered to bring some of the sensibility of radio to this space is fantastic.
“I was asked, ‘What would SportsCenter look like if you were in charge?’” he said. “The staff we will have in place will help answer that question daily. With the weight and resources of ESPN behind us, I know we will make this hour distinct and fun. It’s still SportsCenter, hopefully the best of what that has come to represent and definitely with our sense of what matters that day and why.
“Like a lot of people, I remember fondly the ‘good old days’ of SportsCenter. The world of 2015 makes that show an impossibility now. Can we make this hour something people remember fondly some day? I believe we can and hope we will.”
And if it all does go wrong?
“I will show that video of the dog-riding monkey,” Van Pelt said. “People love that little guy.”