Hannah Storm to join ESPN

Will anchor new 'SportCenter' daytime block

NEW YORK -- Former CBS "Early Show" co-host Hannah Storm will join ESPN in August as one of the central anchors for the channel's new Monday-Friday daytime SportsCenter block.

ESPN announced at its upfront presentation Tuesday at the Nokia Theatre that the new 6 a.m.-3 p.m. live "SportsCenter" will bow Aug. 11, just in time for the Summer Olympics in Beijing. Storm will anchor the 9 a.m.-noon "SportsCenter." Other hosts will be announced later.

"Over the next nine months there's a lot going on with 'SportsCenter,' " ESPN ad sales chief Ed Erhardt said.

Also launching in the summer is SportsCenter.com, which will give viewers interactivity with anchors with chats and email and other features. ESPN also previewed the redesign of ESPN.com, which will debut soon with additional digital content and other features.

The 1 a.m. ET "SportsCenter" will originate from ESPN's new Los Angeles studio across from the Staples Center. And the usual Bristol, Conn., studio will get an extreme makeover with new studios and graphics starting in April.

"Nothing is more central to what we do as 'SportsCenter,' " ESPN networks head honcho George Bodenheimer said.

ESPN's presentation was a special, live-in-front-of-an-audience edition of "SportsCenter," anchored by Scott van Pelt and Steve Levy at the Nokia Theatre at Times Square. It featured interviews with executives and special appearances by Wally the Green Monster, the World Champion Boston Red Sox's mascot that has already appeared in an ESPN commercial, the Syracuse Orangemen mascot and New York Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer joined Levy and van Pelt at the anchor desk.

So, too, did filmmaker Spike Lee, who has filmed Lakers star Kobe Bryant during an April game for a documentary celebrating ESPN's 30th anniversary in September 2009.

"If you like your upfront pitches peppered with sports cliches -- and, frankly, who doesn't? -- you've come to the right place," van Pelt said.

ESPN also will start an all-action-sports network online next year.
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