Showing posts with label Erin Andrews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Erin Andrews. Show all posts

Monday, July 12, 2010

Logical Moves Reshape 'College GameDay'

Recently resigned A-list sideline reporter Erin Andrews got a bigger role Monday when ESPN announced changes to one of its best studio shows, "College GameDay."

Beginning Sept. 4, the popular and well-down show that usually originates from the site of the week's best or most interesting college football game, will expand from two to three hours every Saturday.

The first hour, beginning at 9 a.m., will air on ESPNU with Andrews hosting several segments. She will also serve as sideline reporter for the game from which "GameDay" originates -- as long as the game is on the ESPN family (ABC, ESPN, ESPN2).
ESPN also announced that it Andrews would provide "select reports" for "Good Morning America" on ABC throughout the year. That's a sensible extention of her duties beyond sports, and it's something that can happen easily within the ESPN/ABC family. It's also the kind of opportunity that probably made it appealing for Andrews to remain with ESPN, despite her overall visibility increase after participating in "Dancing with the Stars" and rumors that she might be exploring other TV options.

At 10 a.m. on Saturdays, the typical "GameDay" crew -- host Chris Fowler and analysts Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard -- takes over with the show on ESPN as always. In an smart move, ESPN Radio will simulcast "GameDay" from 9 a.m. to noon and "College GameDay on ESPN Radio," which airs from noon to 7 p.m., will originate from the same site as the TV show.

In the past the two shows (TV, radio) had separate travel schedules -- which allowed the network to have a presence at different locations but provided some challenges. With both shows at the same site, some duplication of effort can be eliminated -- although the radio folks (host Ryen Russillo and analysts Trevor Matich and Brad Edwards) might not get as many of their own original interviews or access to team personnel as a result.

Among the other personnel moves for college football, Fowler and John Saunders will pick up a few more studio shifts for "College Football Live," which should be interesting with Fowler's already busy schedule.
Unfortunately, he was replaced on Thursday night play-by-play duties. If he wanted the change to limit travel, OK. If not, it's a shame to lose an engaging and smart person on TV. Whatever the reason, it's a loss for viewers.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Grade A Move as Andrews Remains at ESPN

Popular and talented ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews, who appeared on "Dancing with the Stars" this spring, has agreed in principle to remain at ESPN, according to a report by USA Today's Michael Heistand.

That's a good move for Andrews, and for ESPN.

While the "Dancing" gig broadened Andrews' popularity beyond sports (as the show did with racecar driver Helio Castroneves) and sparked speculation that Andrews might try to ply that popularity into a different on-air opportunity with her contract expiring this week, staying with the all-sports network should be a good move for both parties.

For Andrews, it allows her to remain as perhaps the best and most recognizable sideline reporter in sports. Those assignments are always difficult simply because it's tough for the reporter to make valuable contributions, but she usually does well.

Had she gone to some entertainment-type reporting or non-sports gig, she would've been just another made-for-TV face. On sports, she brings credibility because she has worked so hard to do her job well throughout her career. She's not the first person who comes to mind in terms of breaking news or reporting controversy, but on the field she asks questions that must be asked and at least makes those sometimes unbearable on-field situations watchable.

Staying put also gives Andrews room to grow. She has a safe base in sideline reporting, but ESPN might find ways for her to test other on-air opportunities if she wants them. Those might include studio work, chances to do long-form reporting or, who knows, even a lifestyle-type show. Because the people at ESPN know and trust Andrews, the opportunity to avoid being typecast as only a sideline reporter should come.

Maybe she'll succeed in those endeavors if they come, or maybe not. Still, testing the waters -- or maybe just remaining happy doing what she's doing -- can be done much more easily from "home" at ESPN than as the new face of some network or program.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sideline Reporters Move Front and Center

Two well-known sideline reporters made news early this week -- with one (Erin Andrews, at right) weighing celebrity vs. journalism and the other (Lisa Salters) becoming the focus for some criticism of sideline reporters in general.

Chronologically, Salters' situation came first. It was brought to light by an Orlando Sentinel blogger, Tania Ganguil, who talked with Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy about the work of sideline reporters in general and ESPN's Salters in particular.

The genesis for the discussion was an in-game interview between Salters and the generally loquacious Van Gundy, when the coach seemed less than thrilled with the situation. He said in-game interviews almost inevitably pose a challenge for coaches.

"After the game's hard enough. I can take some time and compose myself and answer questions fairly rationally," he said. "Between quarters stuff ... I'm not trying to be rude to the people that are interviewing me, but to be quite honest I don't want to deal with it. I want to get back in the huddle and talk to my players. I don't want to be answering questions.

"I got nothing against Lisa Salters. I respect her work. I like her. Tat's a bad time. That's a bad time. That's like coming down trying to carry on a conversation in the middle of the game with me. We're in the game. The game is on. It's just not where my mind is at that point."

Exasperating the specific situation was the fact that former New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy (Stan's brother) works as an color commentator for ESPN. He said such in-game interviews with coaches could be replaced with interviews of random fans.

In this case, despite Salters' proven track record of solid journalism and work in the most difficult job on TV sports, the Van Gundy brothers were correct. Those in-game interviews are just a series of bad things waiting to happen. News hardly ever gets broken, and they feel forced and uncomfortable -- no matter work works the sideline and for which network. But, networks keep trotting those reporters out there. While the economy has hit businesses of all kinds in the past year and a half, the sideline reporter subset seems almost recession-proof, and every TV crew seemingly has someone holding a microphone and asking questions at the wrong time.

Andrews, another proven sideline reporter (and probably the most popular and well-known of the bunch because of her looks and skill set), decided to build upon her popularity when she agreed to participate in this season's edition of "Dancing with The Stars." The ABC reality series, which airs starting in late March, features of variety of celebrities in a televised dance competition.

Ratings for the show dropped markedly last year and the producers hoped to rebound with an more recognizabel group of stars this season. The 11-member group also includes: 80-year-old astronaut Buzz Aldrin, actress Pam Anderson, reality TV mom Kate Gosselin, Olympic gold medal skater Evan Lysacek and NFL wide receiver Chad Ochocinco.

Expect the personable Andrews, a member of the dance team at the University of Florida as an undergraduate, to survive numerous rounds of cuts on the show.

Her decision to participate was not easy, though, especially in the wake of the well-publicized incident last July when a stalker posted a video of her changing in a hotel room. The video was taken without her permission in 2008, led to legal action and, eventually, the arrest of a man from Chicago. He was charged with insterstate stalking, posting them online and trying to sell them to a celebrity media outlet.

Andrews, whose father was an award-winning TV investigative reporter and who has regularly shown her own skill set as a journalist, weighed her options and said she eventually decided to participate in the program to "get my smile back."

It sounds like a nice change of pace, and she probably needs it after a rough year away from the job. Plus, there's no doubt it'll help her in her job, making her more popular and ensuring more and more assignments.