Wednesday, January 18, 2006

It Was Fun While it Lasted

"ESPN Hollywood," ESPN2's daily news and entertainment show, will cease production effective Thursday, Jan. 26. The LA-based half-hour show, hosted by Thea Andrews and Mario Lopez, debuted August 15, 2005.

"We were pleased with ESPN Hollywood's ability to capture the cross currents of sports and entertainment but our research and the ratings clearly suggest that a daily show may have been too much," said John Skipper, ESPN executive vice president, content.

The company will devote production resources as necessary to provide continuing content and reports to many of the network's existing shows including Cold Pizza and SportsCenter.

Starting Monday, Jan. 30, a 30-minute Best of Mike and Mike daily show will debut in the 6-6:30 p.m. ET time slot on ESPN2. Also on that day, Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith will move from 6:30 p.m. to its new late-night time period of 11 p.m.

This was announced in person yesterday by John Skipper and I can't say that it was a surprise. I could see this on the horizon in the last few weeks but it was still hard to hear. The good news is that I will still have a job with ESPN supporting other Los Angeles area offices and productions. Sadly, a great group of folks are now scrambling to find something else. The show itself was good on a technical level but the content was locked into the genre of sports intersecting entertainment and in my estimation there was just not enough stories out there to sustain the show. I am very conflicted over my good fortune versus most everyone's impending unemployment. Many on the show have been thru this before and are upbeat about their future but it really sucks to watch a new group of friends grapple with this stinging reality.