SBD/Issue 238/Sports Media

The More, The Merrier: ESPN Not Worried About "GameDay" Growth

Howard Confident His Co-Hosts -- Fowler,
Corso And Herbstreit (l-r) -- Will Fill Extra Hour

ESPN’s veritable college football pregame show “College GameDay” is coming on the air at 9:00am ET this season, an hour earlier than in previous years, but there do not appear to be any internal concerns about filling the three-hour show. “If we didn’t think we could do it given the importance of this show to our college football franchise and the network as a whole, we wouldn’t do it,” ESPN VP/Programming & Acquisitions Dave Brown said yesterday on a conference call. “GameDay” co-host Desmond Howard cited his on-air partners Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso as having “too much pride in our show and what they do” to let the program become watered down at all. Howard is not concerned about being stretched thin when it comes to filling out the expanded show. “There are so many stories -- not even on-the-field, but off-the-field stories -- that I don’t think we’ll have a problem coming up with content.” He added story ideas that were discussed during weekly production meetings in the past but did not make it on air “could easily fill a three-hour show.” The opening hour, which will be hosted by Erin Andrews on ESPNU, will include appearances by other ESPN personalities, including Rece Davis, Mark May and Lou Holtz. “They’ll be very creative in the first hour,” Howard said. “We have a lot of different people contributing to that hour.” “GameDay” begins its 24th season Sept. 4 in Atlanta for the North Carolina-LSU Chick-fil-A Kickoff game. Meanwhile, the growth is not limited just to football, as ESPN today announced plans to expand the college basketball edition of "GameDay" to an extra hour. That show will now begin at 10:00am on ESPNU before moving over to ESPN at 11:00am. The season debut on Jan. 15 will feature the reverse, though, as ESPN will air the first hour. Rece Davis, Jay Bilas, Hubert Davis, Digger Phelps and Bob Knight all return for the '11 basketball season (Rick Ellington, THE DAILY).

ADDITIONS TO BIG TEN NET: The Big Ten Network (BTN) today announced its lineup of on-air talent for the upcoming football season. Eric Collins and Tom Hart will serve as the new main play-by-play voices for football telecasts. Studio and game analysts will include former Big Ten players LeCharles Bentley, Rosevelt Colvin, Muhsin Muhammad, Derek Rackley and Amani Toomer. Pro Football HOFer Dan Dierdorf also will join the net as host of "Big Ten Film Vault." The net also will roll out new production elements like music, graphics, and the "Fox Box" (BTN).

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