'SportsCenter Minute' on ESPN site

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NEW YORK -- ESPN will kick off an online iteration of its iconic "SportsCenter" on Monday, a day after the franchise marks its 30,000th episode.

"The SportsCenter Minute" will appear on ESPN.com at about 6 a.m. EST, hosted by a "SportsCenter "anchor with its own rundown and four or five top sports stories each day. It will be updated seven days a week and be original to the Web.

"It'll be handled by a 'SportsCenter' anchor and not just putting a chunk of 'SportsCenter' online," said Marc Gross, senior vp and managing editor of "SportsCenter" for Bristol, Conn.-based ESPN. ESPN Desportes will have its own Spanish-language version of the "SportsCenter Minute" as well.

AT&T is the presenting sponsor of the online "SportsCenter," which will have a commercial break within the webcast.

"It will be produced right around 2 a.m. when we're done essentially with the 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. 'SportsCenter,' " Gross said Thursday.

The 30,000th "SportsCenter" will be hosted by Stuart Scott and Steve Levy beginning at 10:30 p.m. EST Sunday. Gross promised that the landmark "SportsCenter" will be about what's going on in the sports world much more than the anniversary.

"The show is still going to be about the news of the day," Gross said. "We're not going to turn it into a 30,000th episode anniversary."

That said, Scott and Levy will look back on the 27 years of ESPN and "SportsCenter," which was the first show the channel televised when it went on the air on Sept. 7, 1979. ESPN veterans Bob Ley, Chris Berman and Dan Patrick will each host a segment with highlights covering 10,0000 "SportsCenter" shows.

Scott said that one of the great things about "SportsCenter" is that no matter how big the channel has grown -- encompassing ESPN2 and other TV channels, the Web site and radio, for example -- "SportsCenter" always remains ESPN's center.

He thinks part of the show's appeal is its comfort level and reliability and doesn't think that "SportsCenter" would reach such an iconic level if it got its start today.

"Since 1979, if you want to know what's going on in the world of sports, and you have a half-hour or 15 minutes, here's where you go," Scott said.

Levy said how he was glad that he wasn't the one who had to figure out when the 30,000th episode aired. An ESPN executive said Thursday that it was considerably easier to figure out considering that the network marked its 25,000th episode in 2002.
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