ESPN is once again resorting to celebrity gimmicks for an episode of SportsCenter. Last year Billy Crystal made a “memorable” appearance anchoring SportsCenter to sell movie tickets and talk about his favorite Yankees players. It was one of the most forgettable episodes in SportsCenter history as the sports news and highlights of the day took a backseat to Storytime with Uncle Billy and highlights of Crystal playing sports as a kid. It was basically everything about SportsCenter that’s gone off the rails in recent years – celebrity obsession, lack of relevance, totally abandoning being the flagship sports show of record, etc.
Naturally, SportsCenter is going down the celebrity co-anchor well once again. Tonight for the 6 PM ET episode comedian Ken Jeong will co-host with Lindsay Czarniak…
— Ken Jeong (@kenjeong) October 31, 2013
— Lindsay Czarniak (@lindsayczarniak) November 1, 2013
To be honest, I’m not even sure what Ken Jeong would be promoting or why he would be in Bristol as this seems to be happening out of nowhere.
I like Ken Jeong and Community is one of my favorite shows on television. I like Lindsay Czarniak and she’s one of my favorite SportsCenter anchors. But there’s about a .01% chance this works out well. The only endgame here is an episode of SportsCenter that becomes all about Ken Jeong because hey, Ken Jeong is here anchoring SportsCenter and isn’t that just grand! He’s that guy from that thing!
Maybe I’m wrong and Ken Jeong will slide in seamlessly and provide a few comedic moments and that will be it, but given SportsCenter’s track record I’m not counting on it.
Celebrity interviews on SportsCenter to sell movies, albums, and everything in between are hard enough to tolerate. Having a celebrity co-anchor makes the sports news and analysis of the day take a total backseat to what’s happening in the studio. On a full weekend of college football and the NFL, the opening week of the NBA season, MLS playoffs taking place and hockey in full swing, SportsCenter is going to turn SportsCenter over to Ken Jeong. Even Fox Sports shows more restraint than that.
When an entire episode of your flagship program becomes hijacked so ESPN can send out photos from Ken Jeong in Bristol on their PR blog it makes you question the whole “WorldWide Leader in Sports” mantra.