SportsNation talks Big Ten cities, sports media

first_imgSportsNation host Michelle Beadle sat down with Sports Editor Adam Holt for an exclusive interview during the show’s stop in Madison. Beadle was told by co-workers that Madison was the best Big Ten college town.[/media-credit]ESPN’s SportsNation, a show merging sports, pop culture and viewer interactivity, began a four-day tour of Big Ten campuses this week, kicking things off here in Madison. The show was broadcast live from the Terrace at Memorial Union yesterday afternoon. Herald Sports got to sit down with Jamie Horowitz, co-creator and coordinating producer of SportsNation, as well as co-host Michelle Beadle for a Q&A session before the show. Questions and responses have been edited for content and clarity.Badger Herald: How did the show start?Jamie Horowitz: I created the show with Kevin Wildes back in 2008. We pitched it to ESPN, they green-lit it and we moved to Connecticut. We always knew we wanted (co-host) Colin (Cowherd) to be the host, but we spent 10 months testing co-hosts before we found Michelle.BH: What was behind the Big Ten road trip?JH: We wanted to bring the show to the fans, since they’re such a big part of it. After we announced we were going to the Big Ten, we had all kinds of people getting angry, like “How are you not going to the SEC”?BH: Michelle, what had you heard about Madison?Michelle Beadle: I heard from a lot of guys back at work who had been here, that Madison was the best [Big Ten town]. I haven’t gotten to see as much of the city as I hoped, just kind of around this area (near the Union) and what’s that street? State Street? I’ve walked up that whole street. I really wanted to go on a run, but haven’t had time. They’ve kind of been driving us around everywhere, I’ve kind of gotten to see the area with the frats and sororities – they’re always real nice houses. I haven’t been to any of these cities before, here, Ann Arbor. I’m excited to go to Penn State, I think I have a cousin there or something. I’m determined to get a run in at Penn State.BH: How is co-hosting with Colin?MB: Colin is like my awkward older brother. He’s great. It’s been great though, it’s always better when you’re more comfortable with your co-anchor, co-host. When I’m gone, or have days off, or he has days off, the guest hosts are great, but it’s different. But Colin is great, because if you ask five different people, you’ll get five different opinions on him. I think the show lightened him up a bit, made him more likeable to people who had only heard him on the radio.BH: The show obviously relies a lot on viewer interaction. Is that the next evolution of television shows like this?JH: SportsNation, we’re just at the beginning of our journey – we’ve only been on the air 15 months. We grow as the fans grow; as more people come to the party, the more we learn about what we can do. Michelle and Colin have really evolved in the first year as well, in terms of their role on the show. Michelle, when we started the show, she wasn’t on Twitter. Now she has 100,000 followers. She’s on it every day, trying to find different angles and new ideas. It’s a real challenge, being part of the sports landscape – every day, all across the country, we’re having lots of the same conversations; should Michael Vick start or not start? It’s a real challenge to find a way to cut through and try to do something different, have a unique take.MB: Definitely, the interactivity is a big part, the next step. I was against Twitter before joining the show, but [I love it now]. We were at the bar the other night, I was getting updates from writers before I saw it [on T.V.]. It can kind of go too far sometimes, maybe – you have athletes tweeting about injuries as soon as they’re in the locker room.BH: What do you think about the Ines Sainz situation with the Jets? Is that an example of some of the challenges that exist as a woman in sports media?MB: I had no opinion on it. She wasn’t mad about it, so I didn’t care. It’s weird that I don’t have an opinion on it because I have an opinion on everything (laughs). Does she dress in a way that’s considered professional? No. But the Jets, they’re professionals, they shouldn’t have been acting like fourth-graders. I’ve been in – not NFL locker rooms – but NBA locker rooms and it’s the same. I could walk in wearing this [tablecloth] and a pair of shoes and I’d get comments. Boys will be boys.BH: What are you looking forward to with the show being in front of a live college audience on campus?MB: It’s the fun, the spontaneity. I hope Colin gets booed. And there’s always the one guy who yells something when it’s silent – I hope that happens. I hope it’s great, it should be. I hope they boo Colin – if you come, try and boo him.last_img

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