Hey, whatever happened to that Pivot with Alex Rodriguez show on ESPN?
That’s the question we asked back in December when it seemed like the interview show, which had been announced in May 2018, hadn’t materialized. The plan had called for Pivot to be a four-part series that would have A-Rod “conduct an in-depth, one-on-one interview with a current or former star athlete who is navigating through obstacles in their life and career.” According to the announcement, “Rodriguez will use his personal experiences to lead an unfiltered, dynamic discussion about the changing phenomenon of life in the public eye and to help these athletes share their side of the story regarding their challenges. He will conduct these interviews in an environment relevant to each athlete’s personal story.” The show was scheduled to air during the 2018 Major League Baseball season.
Only…that never happened. Per Andrew Marchand, the show ended up not getting produced but, according to a statement from ESPN, “there were a few scheduling conflicts amidst a busy 2018 baseball season that caused delays. We’re now focused on premiering Pivot in 2019.”
In the meantime, Rodriguez premiered a seven-part interview podcast series with Barstool Sports called The Corp. The series followed A-Rod and co-host Dan Katz as they interview successful people such as Kobe Bryant, Barbara Corcoran, Mike Francesa, and Fanatics founder and Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin with a focus on their “business success and failure.” All of which is to say that certainly sounded a lot like the original idea for Pivot.
Everything remained quiet on the ESPN front until this week when ESPN finally announced that Pivot would finally be airing in a few weeks…as a one-off special.
Per the announcement, Pivot with Alex Rodriguez will air on Thursday, March 28, at 11 p.m. ET on ESPN2, which is immediately following ESPN’s MLB Opening Night telecast of the Boston Red Sox – Seattle Mariners game. Now a 30-minute special, the interview show will consist of three sit-downs. In keeping with the pivoting theme of the program, A-Rod will talk to World Series Champion Red Sox manager Alex Cora on his “pivot from respected MLB role player to World Series Champion manager,” Brodie Van Wagenen on his “pivot from being one of baseball’s super agents to becoming the executive vice president and general manager of the New York Mets,” and Christian Yelich on his “pivot from Miami Marlins young star to Milwaukee Brewers National League MVP.”
We can’t help but feel like the pivot angle is a bit of a stretch, as these all sound like fairly straightforward interview discussions based on the people involved. But what’s the most interesting is that all of this feels a bit like someone is meeting a contractual obligation more than any kind of necessary programming. 30 minutes (with commercials) is not a lot of time for three different interview subjects.
One might imagine that these were intended to be separate episodes of the show, but for whatever reason, have been scrunched into one “let’s just get this done” show. One might also wonder, why not do this as a podcast instead, when you can let these interviews breathe a bit more?
There’s no mention of any ongoing episodes of Pivot so it seems as though this will be the only one, at least for now. It’s certainly not what was initially promised, but at least we got the answer to our question.