Storm fronts desk for 'SportsCenter'
EmptyFormer CBS "Early Show" co-host Hannah Storm will join ESPN in August as one of the central anchors for the channel's new daytime "SportsCenter" block Mondays through Friday.
ESPN said Tuesday at its upfront presentation at the Nokia Theatre in New York 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.
ESPN's presentation was a live-in-front-of-an-audience edition of "SportsCenter," anchored by Scott van Pelt and Steve Levy at the Nokia. It featured interviews with executives and special appearances by Wally the Green Monster, the Boston Red Sox mascot who has appeared in an ESPN commercial, and the Syracuse Orangemen mascot. 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 Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant during an April game for a documentary celebrating ESPN's 30th anniversary in September 2009. "Spike Lee's Game Day With Kobe" focused on an April game by this year's NBA MVP and was given unprecedented access to the star, including having 18 cameras trained on Bryant while he was on the court and inside the locker room at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Other ESPN Films projects this year includes "The U" and "A Woman Among Boys," both documentaries, and the previously announced soccer documentary "Kicking It" and "Bud Greenspan: At the Heart of the Games," about the legendary producer. "The U" is about the Miami Hurricanes and in production for airing in the fall. "A Woman Among Boys" is a documentary about Ruth Lovelace, a high school coach for boys and girls basketball in Brooklyn. It also will air in the fall.
Also launching in the summer is SportsCenter.com, which will give viewers interactivity with anchors with chats and e-mail and other features. ESPN also previewed the redesign of ESPN.com, which will debut soon with additional digital content.
The 1 a.m. ET "SportsCenter" will originate from ESPN's new Los Angeles studio across from the Staples Center when the broadcast facility is completed. 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. (partialdiff)