Dan Patrick left ESPN in 2007 after almost 20 years in Bristol, Connecticut. In that time he became one of the most well-known and popular sports anchors in the country. Specifically, his partnership with Keith Olbermann and “The Big Show” brought SportsCenter to new heights and transformed the sports highlights genre.
Since departing Bristol, Patrick has gone on to a successful career at NBC as a host for Football Night in America and the Olympics and his own nationally syndicated radio show. He’s also been named as the host of a newly created Sports Jeopardy show. But now, a fascinating opportunity to revisit Patrick’s past has arisen that will surely excite fans of the glory days of SportsCenter.
According to a well placed source, as part of the negotiations between ESPN and NBC over First Take producer Jamie Horowitz moving to The Today Show, the opportunity for Dan Patrick to make a one-time return to host an episode of SportsCenter, possibly with Keith Olbermann, has been broached. Horowitz will start at NBC in December of this year.
ESPN has confirmed that preliminary discussions have taken place about the opportunity, but that it would theoretically be part of a larger project to bring back past SportsCenter anchors.
According to ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz, “It’s a germ of an idea that we are kicking around and it goes well beyond just Dan. We’ve done this before where a series of past anchors host a SportsCenter. It’s an idea we are potentially considering again, though it’s very early in the process and it may or may not happen.”
NBC declined comment when asked about the Patrick-SportsCenter discussions. We have a request out for a comment from Patrick on the matter as well.
NBC and ESPN have quite the interesting history of wheeling and dealing with the most iconic example being the 2006 trade that sent Al Michaels from Disney/ABC/ESPN to NBC in exchange for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Earlier this year, Michelle Beadle moved from NBC to ESPN and NBC and Golf Channel received Ryder Cup Day 1 rights as compensation. However, it was stressed that the Patrick discussions have not been part of any trade talk and rather something that came up more informally between the parties involved.
After a lengthy and controversial period where ESPN personalities did not appear on Patrick’s national radio show, the relationship between the two has thawed in recent years. Notable ESPN personalities now regularly appear on Patrick’s program.
Before fans of “The Big Show” set their DVRs, the idea of a reunion is still at the earliest of stages and may be something that never manifests into reality. Still though, the thought of Patrick returning to Bristol to possibly co-host even one episode of SportsCenter with Olbermann or anyone else is an enticing one. It would be the latest in a string of remarkable returns to the “mothership” in the last year, even if it was for one night only. We’ll continue to follow the story as more details develop.