More SportsCenter, Storm a perfect fit
By: BY DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — ESPN will add Hannah Storm to its “SportsCenter” lineup in August when it will supplant nine hours of taped programming in favor of live sports news.
Storm, most recently on CBS’ “The Early Show,” will co-anchor the middle three hours of ESPN’s new daytime news block.
“I loved being in news — it made me a better journalist — but I’ve always had a passion for sports,” Storm told The Associated Press on Monday.
Storm worked at NBC Sports for 10 years before joining CBS News in 2002, and had sports jobs at CNN and in local markets before that.
She will co-anchor “SportsCenter” each weekday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. It premieres Aug. 11.
ESPN airs a live “SportsCenter” at 1 a.m. each day. That one-hour show is repeated six times between 6 a.m. and noon with only occasional updates.
With three more hours of taped programming following that, ESPN essentially doesn’t begin live programming each day until 2 p.m.
That no longer reflects the fast-moving nature of sports news, said Norby Williamson, the network’s executive vice president of production.
“You look at Fox News and CNN, it’s inconceivable that they would be on tape for that amount of time,” he said. “The sports world is evolving in that direction. Things are happening all the time.”
ESPN was doing OK in the ratings during the reruns. But constantly repeated versions of the “SportsCenter” don’t keep viewers tuned, and advertisers take note of programs that can keep an audience.
The new nine hours of “SportsCenter” will be divided into three parts. The first, from 5 to 8 a.m., will be chiefly devoted to highlights.
Some new touches will be mixed in, like referring to how sports radio is reacting to a particular event that morning, Williamson said.
Storm’s shift will take in more dayside news and the third shift, between noon and 2 p.m., will be more devoted to that day’s news or previewing upcoming events, he said.
Williamson would not name any of the other anchors for the nine hours of “SportsCenter.” Storm will be the only hire from outside ESPN, he said.