ESPN Upfront: Mike Greenberg’s New Morning Show Headlines Revamped 2018 Weekday Lineup; SportsCenter Shuffles Anchors

At its upfront on Tuesday, ESPN announced new weekday lineups on ESPN and ESPN2 for 2018, highlighted by the debuts of Mike Greenberg’s new morning show on Jan. 1 and a program co-hosted by Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre the next day, both on ESPN. After months of reports, ESPN finally made it official by announcing that Greenberg will host a new morning show, marking the end of his long running Mike & Mike partnership with Mike Golic, who will now pair with Trey Wingo on a new ESPN Radio morning show. In addition, prior to the upfront, ESPN announced a new SportsCenter Right Now multiplatform initiative, a major reshuffling of its daily SportsCenter lineup of anchors, as well as a renewed emphasis on sport-specific shows in its weekday afternoon lineup. 

ESPN Announces Mike Greenberg’s New Morning Show to Debut Jan. 1
Greenberg’s new weekday morning show will premiere on Jan. 1 and originate from a studio in Manhattan. The program will air live 7-10 a.m. ET on ESPN, re-airing each day at 10 a.m. ET on ESPN2.

Mike Greenberg’

“One of the many benefits of working at ESPN is that change and evolution are in our DNA,” said Greenberg. “My run with Golic has been an incredible experience that I’ll always treasure, but having the chance to engage multiple voices every morning in a dialogue on each day’s sports stories will be a great new challenge.”

Elements of the show are currently in development, but the program will feature a lively mix of news, opinion, and analysis. Greenberg will be joined by several full-time co-hosts and a rotation of various guests and expert contributors, ensuring that the top sports stories of the day are tackled from a wide range of viewpoints.

Connor Schell, SVP, original content, said, “People have a lot of options in the morning, and we want to develop a show that will entertain and engage our fans so they can start each day connected to the sports they love. As we continue to expand our content offerings, we are excited by the opportunity to create something truly unique with Mike.”

Bomani Jones, Pablo Torre To Host New Show on ESPN
Jones and Torre’s new one-hour live program will premier on Tuesday Jan. 2 at noon-1 p.m. ET on ESPN. More details about the show will be announced at a later date. The program will also be streamed live on the ESPN app and WatchESPN across all devices and platforms.

Bomani Jones (left) and Pablo Torre

ESPN has signed Torre to a multiyear extension that will also afford him the opportunity to continue making regular appearances across a variety of shows and platforms, including television shows Around the Horn, Pardon the Interruption, SportsNation, The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz, and Highly Questionable. He will also continue writing for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com and will regularly participate in ESPN’s The Basketball Analogy podcast. Torre joined ESPN in 2012.

Jones, whose new multiyear extension with ESPN was announced in December, will continue to host The Right Time With Bomani Jones for three hours every weekday. He will remain as co-host of Highly Questionable until late June. He will also continue to appear on a variety of ESPN television and radio shows. Jones joined ESPN full-time in 2013.

ESPN Radio To Debut Morning Show Hosted by Mike Golic and Trey Wingo
With Greenberg’s departure, ESPN Radio will launch a morning- drive show (6-10 a.m.) hosted by Mike Golic and Trey Wingo in the fall.

Mike Golic (left) and Trey Wingo

The daily program will initially be simulcast on ESPN2 before moving to its permanent simulcast home on ESPNU. The show will also be heard on ESPNRadio.com, the ESPN app, SiriusXM Channel 80, Apple Music, Slacker Radio, and TuneIn.  A daily podcast will also available on ESPNRadio.com and through the ESPN app. 

ESPN has signed both Golic and Wingo to new multiyear extensions. In addition to ESPN Radio, Wingo will continue to host the NFL Draft and appear on ESPN’s NFL television programming. Mike Golic Jr., who also signed a new multiyear agreement, will join the show every day in the 6-7 a.m. hour. He also will continue to host ESPN Radio’s First & Last at 4-6 a.m. every weekdayThe show will travel to the College Football Playoff National Championship game in Atlanta and to Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII. Additional details about the show, including the name, will be announced at a later date.

Breaking Down 2018 Weekday Lineup for ESPN, ESPN2
Starting at 6 a.m. ET, both ESPN and ESPN2 will air a one-hour re-air of late-night editions of SportsCenter.  ESPN will show Scott Van Pelt’s edition from midnight while ESPN2 airs the more highlight-driven later SportsCenter from ESPN’s Los Angeles studio with Neil Everett and Stan Verrett.

From 7 to 10 a.m., longtime ESPN Radio/ESPN2 morning host Greenberg will discuss the day’s news and issues with co-hosts and guests on ESPN while a live SportsCenter airs on ESPN2. At 10 a.m., First Take with host Molly Qerim leading a discussion with Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman will air on ESPN until noon, followed by the new show hosted by Jones and Torre. Meanwhile, Greenberg’s show will re-air on ESPN2.

The rest of the weekday afternoon will continue as announced recently, highlighted by Outside the Lines, an expanded NFL Live, a year-round The Jump, and the new year-round Intentional Talk (30 minutes in the MLB off-season).

SportsCenter To Increase Digital Emphasis, Revise TV Lineup
In advance of the upfront, ESPN announced that, beginning in late August, SportsCenter will start producing up-to-the-minute news updates that will be seen on both digital and television platforms. SportsCenter Right Now will appear multiple times per hour on ESPN.com and in the new home-screen video player on the ESPN App. Content will be produced specifically for the digital platforms, with the content topics determined by the use of real-time analytics to ensure that the updates are centered on the questions and conversations in which sports fans are most passionately engaged.

Kenny Mayne (left) and Sage Steele

ESPN will launch a series of SportsCenter enhancements beginning next month and continuing through early 2018 and has also re-signed many popular anchors to new deals as part of an overall shuffling of its on-air talent lineup for SportsCenter.

SportsCenter seeks to serve sports fans with singular talent, exceptional news coverage and unprecedented accessibility,” said Rob King, SVP, SportsCenter and news, ESPN. “We plan to be essential when fans awaken; exhaustive whenever fans need a highlight, score, or news update; and entertaining pregame, in-game and postgame. As our audience and its needs change, we change to serve those fans and meet their needs. We always have, and we always will.”

In addition to the digital platforms, SportsCenter Right Now updates will air twice hourly within ESPN daytime programming. The updates will begin Aug. 28 in First Take and will expand in placement and frequency over the following months. When fully deployed, the television updates will run between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., and the digital updates will be produced between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Frequency and times could be adjusted with breaking news. Featuring SportsCenter anchors including Toni Collins, the TV and digital updates will originate from SportsCenter’s multifaceted studio in ESPN’s state-of-the-art production and data-management facility, Digital Center 2.

SportsCenter Right Now also will be integrated into the live telecasts of some of the biggest primetime sports events on ESPN and ABC, with reports airing during halftime of such events as ESPN’s Monday Night Football, the NBA Finals on ABC, ABC’s Saturday Night Football, and more. As part of ESPN’s normal mix of halftime interviews and game analysis, SportsCenter anchors including Scott Van Pelt, Kenny Mayne, Steve Levy, Neil EverettStan Verrett, and others will present fast-paced segments designed to entertain and inform fans and entice them to enjoy SportsCenter’s postgame and late-night coverage. The halftime segments will begin during the upcoming college football season.

This comes as SportsCenter’s presence has already been growing on digital products. So far in 2017, sports fans have logged an average of 2.9 million views of SportsCenter videos per day on ESPN digital platforms, with nearly 380 million total SportsCenter video views on ESPN digital platforms to date this year. Additionally, fans have logged some 33.4 million hours streaming SportsCenter on WatchESPN and the ESPN App.

Following the launches of SportsCenter With Scott Van Pelt (midnight ET) in 2015 and SC6 With Michael and Jemele (6 p.m. with Michael Smith and Jemele Hill) earlier this year, SportsCenter continues its emphasis on personality-driven programs with some lineup changes.

Longtime SportsCenter anchors Steve Levy, Kenny Mayne, John Anderson, and John Buccigross have signed new deals to continue with ESPN and will be the hosts of the 11 p.m. SportsCenter. For the first time in nearly a decade, Mayne will anchor from ESPN’s Bristol, CT, studios on a recurring basis beginning June 5. Two of the four will host most weeknight editions as well as some weekends, and the new deals ensure that the creative core of SportsCenter’s signature postgame experience will remain intact for years to come.

Also returning to Bristol will be Sage Steele, who has signed a new, multiyear deal and beginning in late August will anchor SportsCenter:AM 7-10 a.m. Monday-Thursday. She also will continue to lead SportsCenter on the Road coverage from such major events  as the Super Bowl, the Masters, the NBA Finals, andVeterans Day.

SportsCenter:AM will now be seven days a week, with Kevin Negandhi, Jay Harris, Randy Scott, Elle Duncan, and Matt Barrie joining Steele as anchors. The FridaySunday shows will focus on the big sports action of the weekend and identify fun, offbeat locations for weekend SportsCenter on the Road programs.

Everett and Verrett will continue to anchor the 1 a.m. edition of SportsCenter, which originates from ESPN’s Los Angeles studios and re-airs during the overnight hours, with Mayne and others filling in as needed.

As part of a new deal to remain with ESPN, Hannah Storm, currently host of the 10 a.m. SportsCenter, will have a new, prominent role, including hosting primetime specials and providing high-impact journalistic pieces to key properties, such as E:60 and SportsCenter.

Sarina Morales, formerly a contributor to SportsCenter:AM, is now contributing to all editions of SportsCenter as a Fan Correspondent, finding fun and unusual ways that fans express their love for sports.

Peyton Manning

More From ESPN’s Upfront: Peyton Manning To Host ESPYS; Maria Taylor, Laura Rutledge Get New Assignments; Beth Mowins, Rex Ryan To Call MNF Week 1 Doubleheader; CFP National Championship Will have A-list Music Act at Halftime
The 2017 ESPYS Presented by Capital One will be hosted by five-time NFL MVP and two-time Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning. The former NFL quarterback will be joined by top celebrities from sports and entertainment to commemorate the past year in sports. The 25th-annual ESPYS will be broadcast live on ABC Wednesday July 12, at 8 p.m. ET from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. The 14-time Pro Bowler retired from the NFL after the 2015 season, finishing his 18-year NFL career as a two-time Super Bowl champion and the all-time winningest quarterback in league history…

…Veteran ESPN play-by-play voice Beth Mowins and new NFL studio analyst Rex Ryan will call the Los Angeles Chargers–Denver Broncos game from Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium on Sept. 11 at 10:15 p.m. ET as part of ESPN’s season-opening Monday Night Football doubleheader. The Chargers-Broncos game will immediately follow ESPN’s MNF opener: New Orleans Saints–Minnesota Vikings (6:55 p.m.), featuring Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, and reporter Lisa Salters. With this assignment, Mowins, who has signed a new multiyear contract extension, will become the first female announcer to call an NFL game since 1987 and the first female broadcaster to call a nationally televised NFL game. Gayle Sierens was the last woman to call an NFL game, the regional broadcast of a 1987 regular-season finale game on NBC…

…Maria Taylor, current ESPN and SEC Network host, reporter, and analyst, will join the crews of College GameDay Built by The Home Depot and ABC Saturday Night Football. She will take on the reporter role vacated by Samantha Ponder, who was recently named host of ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown. She will begin her new duties in August as part of her existing multiyear contract. A former Georgia standout basketball and volleyball player, Taylor joined ESPN in 2012 from IMG College and served as a sideline reporter for the ESPN2 Saturday-night primetime telecast and the Orange Bowl. In 2014, she joined SEC Network as a sideline reporter for each week’s biggest football and basketball games. In 2016, she was named host for SEC Nation, the national network’s traveling pregame show, with Paul Finebaum, Marcus Spears, and Tim Tebow, while also hosting ESPN’s season-long studio coverage of women’s basketball, including the NCAA tournament. In addition, Taylor is a game analyst on ESPN and SEC Network women’s basketball and volleyball games…

…SEC Network’s Laura Rutledge has been tapped to host the national network’s traveling pregame show SEC Nation. Rutledge was a reporter on SEC Nation last season and hosted the network’s studio show SEC Now year-round. She will replace the show’s previous host Maria Taylor. Rutledge joined ESPN and began working on SEC Network in 2014. She has covered a wide range of college sports as sideline reporter, including football, basketball, softball, and baseball. In addition to traveling with SEC Nation last fall, she was the sideline reporter for ESPN’s Thursdays Night Football. She also hosted more than 200 SEC Now shows and became an unofficial co-host on The Paul Finebaum Show, joining Finebaum in-studio several days a week…

…ESPN announced that next year’s College Football Playoff National Championship on ESPN will have an A-list music act perform a halftime show for ESPN viewers for the first time in College Football Playoffs history. The performance will take place outside Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park as part of ESPN’s first live watch party, where non-ticketed fans can watch the game for free and attend the concert. As always, school bands of the respective teams will perform at halftime for fans in the stadium and as part of the ESPN Megacast (ESPN network to be announced)…

…ESPN has partnered with Nielsen on a Total Live Audience metric to offer clients one number on which to transact for live sports — every impression, every screen, 24 hours, third-party–verified. As the marketplace increases efforts to capture delayed-viewed impressions (for example, C3, C7, C35), ESPN understands the impact of live-viewed impressions, especially at a time when there is a greater focus on brand-safe and viewable environments. Total Live Audience will add Nielsen-measured live streaming and out-of-home audiences on ESPN and ESPN2 to the TV-viewing number, providing consistency and standardization of measurement across the marketplace. The adoption of this measurement as part of currency is a continuation of the acknowledged power of live impressions…

…On the advertising front, ESPN also announced a new enterprise-wide offering that will allow customers to tap into assets across Walt Disney Co. The client-specific and client-driven program delivers fully customized, tailor-made opportunities that will go beyond the company’s marketplace-leading ESPN and Disney/ABC media assets to promotional opportunities across the entire Disney portfolio, including movie studios and parks. Packages can be global, national or regionalized. Clients will also have unique access to valuable Disney data, insights, and technology.

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