Pardon the Interruption co-hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon, two of the most thoughtful and influential voices in sports media, have signed new multi-year extensions to remain with ESPN. The popular duo will continue to host PTI together and contribute to other ESPN platforms.
Kornheiser and Wilbon have co-hosted PTI since its debut on October 17, 2001. Their contentious but good-natured verbal sparring was born from the kinds of conversations they had for years in The Washington Post newsroom as sports columnists and colleagues. The program has grown its ratings and viewership the past decade with its unique, fast-paced, wide-ranging and humorous discussion of the day’s sports news.
PTI has also earned its share of critical acclaim – including the 2009 Sports Emmy Award for Daily Outstanding Studio Show – for the show’s innovative graphic rundown, its quirky segments (i.e., Mail Time, Role Play, Odds Makers), and for identifying on-air miscues in the daily Errors and Omissions.
In addition to PTI, a Kornheiser-Wilbon segment appears daily in the opening minutes of the 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter. Daily podcasts of the 30-minute PTI also rank among the most popular offerings on both the ESPN PodCenter platform and the Apple iTunes store.
Added John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice president, production and programming: “Tony and Mike have made PTI the most successful show of its kind in sports television. We are excited they will continue to entertain and inform our fans for many years to come.”
Kornheiser, who helped launch ESPN’s Monday Night Football as a booth commentator from 2006-08, will continue on PTI and contribute to SportsCenter. The Tony Kornheiser Show will also continue to be available via ESPN Audio platforms. The popular weekday program on ESPN 980 in Washington, D.C. (10 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET) has been a local and national favorite since 1992.
“It is beyond comprehension that Mike and I, who started out as sportswriters and had no idea the direction our careers would take, would be on TV for this long and continue to love the show we do. It is very gratifying that people like our work, and I can only imagine how many more times I’ll get myself in trouble before the contract runs out,” said Kornheiser.
Wilbon, the pioneering sports journalist who expanded his ESPN role in 2011, will continue to be seen and heard across a variety of platforms, particularly on ESPN’s NBA coverage with key interviews and features and as a contributor to on-site coverage of the NBA Conference Finals and NBA Finals. Wilbon will also write regular columns for ESPN.com and ESPNChicago.com, and he will appear on other shows and platforms, including SportsCenter and ESPN Radio.
Wilbon added: “I’m beyond thrilled people still love watching PTI, and that ESPN still wants to have us. Doing PTI is as much fun for me now as it was 12 years ago, and contributing to the network’s NBA coverage allows me to do one of the things that has brought me great professional pleasure. I’m a sports junkie, period; I love it all…but professional basketball and the culture of it is something I’ve observed closely and with great passion for 30 years and I can’t imagine professional life without it.”