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Van Pelt’s “1 Big Thing” Becoming a SportsCenter Hit

Jason Barrett

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A little more than two months ago, ESPN launched the new midnight ET edition of SportsCenter. It’s a different version of the show with the world of sports as seen through the unique perspective of host Scott Van Pelt.

Among the feature elements included to set Van Pelt’s program apart from other editions of SportsCenter was “1 Big Thing,” the trademark essay from his former ESPN Radio program. And as the SVP version of SportsCenter rolls into its third month, the TV version of “1 Big Thing” is resonating with viewers.

A “1 Big Thing” Van Pelt did on a simple way to honor veterans touched hearts, as did his commentary on Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia seeking help for alcohol abuse. Pieces on former NBA player Lamar Odom (see video below) and daily fantasy sports touched nerves. A segment on golf superstar Jordan Spieth’s receding hairline drew laughs.

“It’s difficult to come up with something every day because when you do serious content like I did with Veterans Day, it feels like you’re carving out a space that’s ‘alright this is where we get serious,’’ Van Pelt said. “But it isn’t that. It’s very much a chameleon that can shift to something more silly, whimsical or whatever, and I like it because it’s a place I can squeeze in a story or a thought that otherwise might not make the show.”

Van Pelt originated the idea on radio years ago.

“It was one place a day where I thought it could be something along the lines of commentary,” he said. “Two minutes of what I think about something.”

The show’s production team led the charge in translating a radio segment into one that’s working well on TV.

“They put a great deal of thought and care into those,” Van Pelt said. “It’s an element on television that works even better when you have images. TV is a visual medium so they do a great job of adding to the thought. The thought is the main engine but all the images are what really finish off the idea.

“I’ve been thrilled with how it’s come out, and you just want to meet the expectation,” he said. “I have people who say they look forward every day to seeing what that’s going to be, so you can’t just halfway do it and show up and go. You’ve got to have something to say and fortunately sports provides the fodder pretty much every day.”

If you haven’t seen the segment before, here’s the one Scott did on Lamar Odom which went viral and generated a ton of buzz.

Credit to ESPN Front Row which originally published this article

Sports TV News

Rece Davis Believes Final Regular Season College GameDay Show Typically Most Hectic Due to Coaching Changes

“There were so many coaching changes and decisions, and we’re getting people on the phone. That was before everybody got comfortable with FaceTime.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Rece Davis

College GameDay was in Columbus this past weekend ahead of Ohio State’s annual rivalry game against Michigan, and host Rece Davis said a number of head coaching announcements throughout the show made for some pretty chaotic moments.

Luke Fickell being named the new head coach at Wisconsin and former Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule being hired at Nebraska were among the marquee hirings announced over the weekend.

On the College GameDay Podcast, Davis said trying to get information confirmed and incorporated into the show in real time was exhilarating.

“It was a bizarre, fun show that we’ve had over the years when we’ve gone to Ohio State/Michigan,” he said. “I remember the ’16 year that we extended the show to five hours. It was really fun, and then a really great game followed it. And there were so many coaching changes and decisions, and we’re getting people on the phone. That was before everybody got comfortable with FaceTime. But there were a lot of bizarre things going on.”

Podcast co-host and senior college football reporter Pete Thamel echoed Davis’ sentiments, saying he would do a hit on the show, then take out his earpiece and immediately get back on the phone to work on getting the most up to date information.

“It was whoa,” he said. “We did the first segment…and normally I would’ve stayed and watched to see what the guys had to say, but I just walked off the stage and went back and started making calls.”

In addition to the Wisconsin and Nebraska hirings, Thamel was also working on trying to figure out the situation at Auburn. He helped get Rhule on the show as well, and he said it was cool the show’s team was able to book guests so quickly from different locations in the country.

“We literally went coast to coast on GameDay with good interviews on Saturday,” he said.

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Sports TV News

Disney CEO Bob Iger: Company Will Chase Profitability Over Growing Subscriber Base

“We have to start chasing profitability. It will be demanded of us.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Change is abound at Disney, but it’s welcomed change. CEO Bob Iger, who was announced as the replacement for Bob Chapek last week, said his goal is to help get the company’s financial ship righted.

“We have to start chasing profitability,” Iger told employees and executives at a town hall. “It will be demanded of us.”

Iger announced one of his first moves in returning to the CEO role was to shake up its digital media and entertainment distribution division. That branch of the company oversees its streaming services like Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+. Disney+ boasts tens of millions of subscribers, and Chapek focused heavily on reaching as many people as possible.

But Disney stock price has shrunk sharply over the course of the last year, and there have been other areas of the company in which there has been discourse. There was some belief that Disney could be up for sale.

Iger hopes things at the company can be turned around in due course, but he made one thing for certain: Disney and its properties are not for sale.

“Nothing is forever, but I’m very comfortable with the set of assets that we have,” he said. “I think they can serve our company, don’t expect any headlines soon about deals.”

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Sports TV News

YES Network Considering Derek Jeter and Don Mattingly for Analyst Roles

“I have something else burning fairly hot right now,” Mattingly said. “Depends how that goes.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Could Yankees fans see and hear from two of the franchise’s most beloved former players on TV next season? It’s not out of the realm of possibility. The New York Post reported Monday the team’s YES Network appeared to have an interest in bringing in Derek Jeter and Don Mattingly.

But according to the network’s president of programming and production John Filippelli, it’s all speculative at this point.

“We haven’t had any in-depth discussion with either,” he told Andrew Marchand. “If they are A) available and B) interested, you probably at least have to have a conversation.”

Marchand reached out to Mattingly, who finished his run as manager of the Miami Marlins at the end of the 2022 season, and the former Dodgers manager seemed to indicate that there is another potential opportunity in the works.

“I have something else burning fairly hot right now,” Mattingly said. “Depends how that goes.”

Jeter will likely be a hard sell on getting into the booth. The understanding is the legendary former shortstop doesn’t have a big interest in getting into broadcasting like his former teammate Alex Rodriguez.

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