ESPN's "College GameDay" Crew Ready To Tackle First Four-Hour Edition
ESPN's "College GameDay" will air for a full three hours on ESPN this year, after its first hour previously was telecast on ESPNU. Saturday's debut episode will be four hours long, airing from Clemson ahead of the school's primetime game against Georgia on ABC. "GameDay" Senior Coordinating Producer Lee Fitting said, "Ratings research tells us there's never too much SEC." He noted ESPN research indicates that 38% of the show's audience is from the states that make up the SEC, with no other region in the U.S. accounting for more than 11% of the audience. Fitting: "The more SEC you can do, the better." First hitting the air in '87, "GameDay" enters its 27th season on ESPN, and its 21st broadcasting on-location. Fitting said the show operates on a "no formula, no rules" basis, aiming to push the envelope with its format. Chris Fowler, the show's anchor, offered a light-hearted take on this week's four-hour edition. Fowler: "No one needs a four-hour college football pregame show, but there are reasons why we're doing it, and I'm sure they're sound. We'll keep the energy up for four hours, and I hope the crowd does behind us. We'll have plenty to talk about, we'll fill that four hours." Fowler added, "I don't think it will feel like drudgery. We hope it won't, if we're doing our jobs. But it will be a challenge. We're still trying to figure it out" (Adam Harris, Assistant Editor).
ALL ABOUT THE CHEMISTRY: In Albany, Pete Dougherty writes of the show, "After more than a quarter-century, the formula still works." ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit said, "(It's) our chemistry, not just between the four of us, but the producers, the directors, all the people who work so hard on our show, we're not just saying that to make it sound good. I'm sure if you talk to Charles (Barkley) and the guys at 'Inside the NBA' with TNT, they'd probably tell you the same thing. If you're lucky enough to really like one another, the camera picks up on that" (Albany TIMES UNION, 8/30).