ESPN has extended Scott Van Pelt with another multiyear deal.
Van Pelt, who hosts the midnight edition of SportsCenter and also is integral to the network’s golf coverage, is among ESPN’s best-known personalities. He also has managed to remain controversy-free at a time when the social media minefield continues to ensnare many of his colleagues.
His show is routinely the top-rated program among young men in its time slot. For the year, Van Pelt’s SportsCenter is averaging 181,000 male viewers age 18-34, followed by NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (99,000) and CBS’ The Late Show With Stephen Colbert (80,000), which both begin a half-hour earlier at 11:30 p.m. Van Pelt’s show also is up 20 percent year-over-year among total viewers.
“I was thankful ESPN had enough faith in us to give us the opportunity to try a different type of SportsCenter a couple of years ago. I’m equally grateful they felt we had earned this vote of confidence,” Van Pelt said Tuesday in a statement. “We tried to outperform our last deal and we’ll try to do the same with this one.”
Added Norby Williamson, ESPN’s executive vp production: “We’re delighted that Scott Van Pelt will remain with ESPN for years to come. Scott and his team have created something very special with the midnight SportsCenter and fans have responded. His style and perspective make for a unique fan experience across ESPN platforms.”
Van Pelt joined ESPN in 2001 after several years at Golf Channel and formerly hosted the ESPN Radio program SVP & Russillo with Ryen Russillo. His contract extension comes as ESPN has undergone a shift in its resources to better position the company amid subscriber losses. There have already been multiple rounds of layoffs at the network, and another 100 staffers, including on-air and production workers, are expected to lose their jobs after the Thanksgiving holiday.