SBD/August 23, 2013/Media

ESPN's Chris Fowler Still Satisfied With "GameDay," But Wants To Call More Games

Fowler said it was very hard giving up calling Thursday Night Football games
ESPN's Chris Fowler is one of the "more versatile and respected" broadcasters in sports, but he “wants more play-by-play college football assignments,” according to Richard Deitsch of SI.com. Fowler has hosted “College GameDay” since ’90 and is the net’s ”lead anchor” for the four tennis Grand Slams. Fowler said, "I have a lot more to do and there are other things I want to do that I have not done. I don't think it is anything secret internally what I want the next step for me to be at ESPN. I don't think that is a mystery given the landscape.” He added, “Hosting is wonderful and remains really satisfying but the joy for me is calling big matches and it was very hard for me to give up calling Thursday Night Football on ESPN. It became too much to manage with GameDay's increased schedule and travel. But giving up calling football in the booth was the toughest decision I have had to make." He said “GameDay” does not “act or feel like a studio show.” Fowler: “Doing a show in a studio would not be the same for any of us, and I don't know if we would have lasted this long. Taking it on the road gives it an energy, and we try hard to make sure that comes across differently every week.” “GameDay” co-host Lee Corso is 78 years old, and Fowler said of his eventual departure from the show, “None of us want to face that reality because to some degree part of GameDay will have to be reinvented when and if that happens.” He said he wants Corso “to stay as long as he wants to and he still remains an extremely important part of the show” (SI.com, 8/20).

MORE "GAMEDAY" EVERY SATURDAY: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Michael Smith notes "GameDay" will expand to three hours on ESPN this season after airing two hours on ESPN and one hour on ESPNU "in the past." The Aug. 31 show will kick off the regular season from Clemson Univ. and "will run four hours." The "common reaction throughout the industry is that this is ESPN's response" to FS1's new "Fox College Saturday" pregame show. However, ESPN Senior Coordinating Producer for College Sports Studio Shows Lee Fitting said that it is "more about fan appetite." Fitting: "We're not going against any other shows. What I tell my staff is that we have so much we have to do every week, we need to worry about our four walls. If we start to look outside, we'll get in trouble" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/19 issue).
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