A challenger that could prove to be formidable is throwing its hat into the late-night ring. Variety reports that ESPN is ready to roll out a midnight edition of “SportsCenter” as Labor Day winds down Monday night.
At the center of the project is “SportsCenter” veteran Scott Van Pelt. While he won’t be bringing late-night institutions like the house band and the opening monologue, Brian Steinberg writes in the Variety piece that the new show will not be a standard installment of “SportsCenter.”
“This ‘SportsCenter’ arrives with ideas for segments like a bit of Van Pelt’s signature commentary, or ‘Best Thing I Saw Today,’ a pick by the host of his favorite thing of the day,” Steinberg reports. “There will be a signature set, with new lighting and a desk, and a new cut of the ‘SportsCenter’ theme produced by Timbaland. Dan Patrick will serve as the show’s first guest. And the network suggested that Van Pelt will include lots of his trademark ‘self-deprecating wit.’”
In a recent interview, Van Pelt said: “People will say, ‘Oh, you’re funny.’ Well, occasionally. But I would not set out on a daily basis to try to be funnier than Fallon or Kimmel or any of those folks that are in that space. That’s what they do. They’re awfully good at that.”
Steinberg adds that Van Pelt sees his new show filling a void. “Van Pelt thinks his viewers are just looking for a little closure: the latest word on late games and a nod to what’s happening out on the East Coast,” the report notes. “Working in a similar vein, ESPN recently extended contracts for Stan Verrett and Neil Everett to continue to host the 1 a.m. version of the show, during which they hold forth from the West Coast.”