Monday, August 11, 2008
So after what seems like a grand total of a thousand "Steve Is Live" spots the day is finally here. I'm going to try to give you a sense of the layout of the show this morning as well as some quotes and videos. Don't forget that we're having a live-chat this afternoon with Josh Elliott, so keep sending in those questions. You can do so in the comments here, or just send me an email.
I'm only going to be doing the first block today, and here's a reminder of what your new lineup will look like....
9 am-12 pm: Hannah Storm, Josh Elliott
12-3 pm: Chris McKendry, Robert Flores
6 pm: Jay Harris, Brian Kenny
11 pm: Stuart Scott, Scott Van Pelt, Neil Everett, Linda Cohn
1 am: John Anderson, Steve Levy
It's going to be a fun one today, so join in won't you?
8:42- The old format has been running all morning, but Steve (there he is again) tells us it's only 18 minutes until start time. He says he has one commercial left, so let's hope it's F-word free.
8:59- Aww, Steve looks sad. He also can't seem to put his words together. You did a good job Steven, but I'm glad to see you finally go.
9pm- AND WE'RE LIVE! Oh god....so it begins. First story is about Brett Favre and the MNF game tonight between the Packers and Bengals. Oooh...new graphics. "The Morning Buzz" starts with the 4x100 relay and Olympic talk. Tim Legler is brought in to talk about the "Redeem Team" game, but I'm pretty sure that clip is a few days old.
"Clay Stanley with a kill after the block."- Josh Elliott
Probably not the best choice of a volleyball term after just talking about the Coach's Father in Law being murdered.
9:06- Onto Baseball highlights.
"Poor steve. He sounded like he was going to cry. I'll miss him."- Anon
I don't know if I'm going to miss him, but he really wasn't that bad at all.
9:11- Even more MNF talk now and they even brought Cris Carter and some giant movable team logos to the set. Very pretty.
I just now realized that three hours of live TV must seem like an eternity. We're just now getting to our first commercial break.
9:19- "Brand new web site? It doesn't look any different as far as I can see..." (Via Anon)
I know it's new, and presumably this will be where the blogs will go. A "news at this hour" graphic pops up and has info on Olympic Tennis, Byron Leftwich and UCLA losing their QB. Onto Golf highlights...
"Those aren't giant movable logos, they're CG." (Via Anon)
They sure did look real. If that's the case, great work by the graphics department. Also, outside of the Cris Carter segment the whole morning has just been highlights.
9:26- Onto NASCAR highlights and we get our first few tiny errors of the program. Elliott is about a clip and a half ahead while they're still showing highlights of the giant wreck.
Hey it's Sage! Hi Sage!!! Ooooh Sage with the first error. She says Kobe received the alley-oop from Wade during the first half when it was Lebron. Not the end of the world, but pretty bad.
9:38- Cris Carter back on live to answer email questions from you, the viewer. He and Hannah are sitting in cute little chairs to make it seem homely. Nice touch.
So it seems like the early plan is to just stretch out the Baseball highlights as much as possible. We're still getting clips at :40 minutes after the hour. Coming up....SC Right Now, Phelps, The Medal Count, and more Padraig Harrington (hopefully he's coming on live and we're not watching his press conference again).
"Run! He was running from Dinosaurs once."- Josh Elliott on Jamie Moyer running the bases.
9:45- Sage tells us that the U.S. Women beat China. Our first real live news of the day!
"Lebron James beat Yao Ming and the Chinese with ease."- Hannah Storm
Cute. Very cute with the rhyming there. Another commercial break and we're getting close to the end of the first hour.
9:48- SYNERGY! Cris Carter is now on Mike and Mike. They are running that guy ragged today. Hannah bring Jeremy Schapp on via satellite to talk about the swimming relay. They even throw in an interview with third legger Cullen Jones. Good stuff, except the time delay is throwing a few things off. Understandable.
Another thing I just noticed, but Storm and Elliott are wearing the same outfits they've been wearing in all of the promos leading up to today. Wonder if that was planned? Someone ask Josh that at 1:15pm.
As far as Storm goes, she's doing a splendid job if you ask me. She seems rushed at times but it's hard to tell if that is nerves or just the process of moving all around the studio.
9:54- Kimbo Slice in a new Madden commercial which features a rendition of "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes. My head just exploded.
Because when I think Madden, I think bagpipes playing Amazing Grace. (Via Anon)
Exactly. I keep switching over to Mike and Mike during the breaks and they now have another anchor (I'm not sure who) doing their Sports Center update. The juggling that's going on between two studios is off the charts right about now.
9:57- Hannah's first Top Ten! Lots of Soccer clips but generally a good job. They are even going to a live shot of the two standing and watching the clips.
"Wow. This is great. This is very meta right here. I'm kinda watching that, as I watch that watch that."- Josh Elliott
That's the end of the first hour! Not bad, so far. The live elements are there, and I don't know if I was really expecting more, but this is definitely something I could watch each morning. I'd love to get some live interviews from a few players in this spot. Maybe Jamie Moyer on running the bases or something.
10:01- Back to Olympic highlights and it looks like we're going back through the whole rundown again.
(Video #1- If you scroll back up to the top you can view the intro to the show.)
Clear something up for me. Live TV has been around for what? Decades? What's the BFD about SportsCenter going live? (Via Lozo)
Very good question and something I'm going to ask our guest this afternoon. I think the allure is that they've gone with replays for so long. The amount of resources they are throwing at this project alone are worth noting.
10:10- Your next guest today is Buster Olney. Buster is appearing on a giant screen in front of a sitting Elliott. Very odd element if you ask me....
Outside of the weird setup there, I enjoyed the Buster Olney appearance. He updated all of the Baseball injuries over the weekend and made a few predictions for the weeks to come. I think as we get into hour two and onto hour three, they'd be well served to add more of this to the mix.
10:17- We're into First Take on ESPN2 and Skip Bayless is matched up against only one of the "Live Stews". It's at this point in the morning that I'm thanking ESPN for this move.
That hanging monitor which Buster is on? Also CG. (Via Anon)
Man, I'm impressed and learning something new. I'm also not sure why I thought ESPN had developed the technology for a hovering monitor, but we'll just move past that. Okay? Good.
10:27- Josh gets his second shot at NASCAR highlights. Let's see how he does.
"Huge multi-car wreck and we're going to watch this again."- Josh Elliott
Perfect and he even got the finger counting part in this time. Bravo.
Did anyone see Tom Rinaldi's interview with Padrig Harrington last nite? At one point he made a face that would scare an infant back into the womb. Highest of high comedy. (Via BK)
Let's just hope we don't see that again today.
10:29- Another Sports Center right now and Sage has the stats from the USA-China Women's BBall game. Tina Thompson went for 27 and 6 if you care.
New Segment Alert: Hannah Scott brings on radio host Scott Wisnniewski from WRRD-AM 540 in Jackson, WI to talk Aaron Rodgers. I like the idea, but they really should have had someone on with just a tad bit more energy. Hannah Storm was trying, but that guy just wasn't ready for live TV this morning.
10:37- We come back from commercial with the "Wake Up Call" which I'm pretty sure is an existing segment already. Bob Uecker gives us the Gabe Kapler walkoff call and we're back into more Baseball highlights.
So, if that monitor's CG, does that mean Elliot is speaking directly to thin air? Must be weird for him. (Via Anon)
Agreed. That's another question for him. Keep them coming.
10:49- We head to a report on Team USA BBall heading to the Great Wall of China. Chris Bosh is impressed. I'm pretty sure this aired yesterday, but I could be wrong.
Oh I see how it is Josh! You have to do the ESPN.com chat before you come here!? I thought we were cool. I'll do my best to not ask the same questions.
10:56- Another "Wake Up Call" and we get Mikey Wilbon singing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" at Wrigley! He was pretty darn good as well. I'll put that video up later today.
Back to the Top Ten again....still meta. And we've made it to hour number three! The second hour seemed to go by much quicker than the first and those few little gliches were cleaned up nicely. Hopefully we get some more guests this hour.
11:02- Elliott welcomes the new top of the hour audience in and says he'll be chatting later today. Hannah says she has some questions for him and throws him a wry smile. That was interesting.
11:10- Tim Tebow is on First Take right now and I'm pretty sure this is his 14th appearance on the show in the last two weeks. The season hasn't even started yet....good lord. I wonder if Sports Center is going to bring him on as well, or just focus on the highlights?
Back to ESPN1 and Cris Carter has reappeared with more (or the same) NFL talk.
Wait a minute, the greatest 4x100 relay in Olympic history, Phelps quest for 8 golds still on track and world records smashed and Sportscenter leads with Favre and Football? The more things change, they stay the same. (Via Anon)
The Word on the Street? Did Murray from Sesame Street host that, because they've been doing those podcasts for about a year now. Yes, having a young child teaches you these things. But that monster is hilarious. They could really use him to spice up the show. (Via Dan Levy)
I'll pass that along. Haven't SC anchors appeared on Sesame Street before?
11:18- Some new "Morning News"....Plaxico Burress doesn't think he's getting a new contract, Matt Jones pleads not guilty and Pinella tell Fukudome he might lose playing time.
11:29- Not much to update on, we're going through most of the same highlights from earlier on. Sage Steele is close to word for word her other updates. 30 minutes to go....
Oooh another Word on the Street. This time we've got C. Trent Rosecrans from 1530 ESPN in Cincinnati! He's of course talking Bengals and this spot is really just serving as a promo for the game tonight. I don't think it was coincidence that the only two radio guys each game from one of the two teams on Monday Night Football later today.
11:46- We're still going with much of the same now. Sage again, Wilbon sings and more Baseball highlights. Elliott makes fun of Wilbon's first pitch though, which I'm dying to see.
Little bit of a slip up as Hannah jumps the gun on Josh. Elliott says, "I'll be right with you." Ooooh testy! Not sure if he was kidding, but it didn't really come across that way.
11:51- Back into the Team USA's trip to the Great Wall. Looks like the rest of the show is finishing out like this....
Swimming, MNF Preview, MLB Preview, Top Plays again, Top Stoies and then Morning Buzz.
Ooooh some questions for the anchors! I guess they're more like comments....
"This race will go down as one of the most thrilling and exciting events in the history of sports."- htownfan4life
Nice save by Elliot for Storm as she didn't have the second question...er, comment...
"Swimming just garnered a lot of new fans, myself included. The relay was in a word, epic."- the_game_continues
That whole segment was perfect for a video version of Deadspin's ESPN Featured Comment of the Week.
11:56- One last break and we're on to the big finish!
"This game happened down the block! Flores and McKendry took it in over the weekend."- Josh Elliott on the Little League clip in the Top Ten.
More synergy! Good work Joshua. The transition over to Chris and Rob follows and that's it! Uh oh, a little hiccup there as McKendry tried to show the Olympic Swimming highlights for the thousandth time today....
Wow, the 12 o'clock block isn't off to a great start with the relay footage, she's well ahead of the clip it appears. (Via Anon)
That was a good bit of dead air, but it seems like they mixed up the clips on her. They showed Phelps celebrating when McKendry was trying to setup the race. That video will be up shortly friends. Sorry ESPN....I have to do it.
Wow even more problems. McKendry talks over a Jeremy Schapp via satellite but recovers from it nicely with this line....
"Sorry about that Jeremy. I don't know why I'm rushing you....I've got three hours here."- Chris McKendry
Damn....and again! You can hear talking to Robert as Flores reads over a highlight. Not sure if she was talking to her co-anchor or a producer, but you could hear her clearly over the clip. Not a good start for the 12-3pm crew.
Overall, I think it was a good show if we're comparing it to other live editions of Sports Center. Storm and Elliott worked very well with each other and the mistakes that were made were both irrelevant and small in number. They did their best to try and make the highlights seem fresh even though they had talked about them four or five times already.
As far as the format itself....Let's do this as a good and bad....
The Good: Having the option of updating news through the morning definitely took some of the stale elements of the old taped Sports Center showings away. Both Buster Olney and Cris Carter worked well on the program and the different looks around the studio were a welcome change.
The Bad: I'm not sure if I'm entirely sold yet. While Buster Olney and Cris Carter were entertaining, they seemed very rushed. And for what....to air another replay of Team USA Basketball beating China which happened over 24-hours ago? I would suggest that they stretch those segments out, especially when you throw in the viewer questions. There's really no point for Carter to answer two questions and move on.
Also, the two radio guys really just served as a promo for Monday Night Football. I liked the idea, but once the Football season gets going, and you add in the ESPN Baseball Games during the week, you're just going to have a week full of promos for ESPN games later that night. Hopefully they switch that up because you already have that element in the What2 Watch4 section and it just comes across as overkill.
Not bad at all though, and with some work, I think it could replace the cheese of First Take in the mornings for you Sports fans.