ESPN has programming to fill, and they figured more alternate casts and more Stephen A. Smith was the way to go.
Thursday morning, Variety announced Smith will be hosting alternative broadcasts for some NBA games on ESPN this season, continuing their propensity to feature regular season alterna-casts. ESPN already has already developed similar programming to bolster its coverage of Monday Night Football, Sunday Night Baseball, college football, golf and UFC events. Fresh off the success of Monday Night Football’s ManningCast, produced by Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions, the Hall-of-Fame quarterback recruited Pat McAfee for college football, Joe Buck for golf and the Gronkowski family for UFC matches.
Now, Stephen A. Smith has been chosen to usher in ESPN’s first series of alterna-casts for the NBA and he vows to be different. “I don’t think that anybody who has watched those shows should anticipate that they will see me doing anything remotely like them when it comes to how I watch a game,” Smith told Variety.
Like the other altnera-casts, Smith does plan to feature celebrity guests from the sports, entertainment and media industries. Those guests, however, will be topical. “You’ll see people who are fans of the sport who are relatively popular coming in to talk about the sport,” Smith added. “That’s what it will be about.”
Titled NBA in Stephen A’s World, the show will be co-produced by ESPN, Smith’s SAS Productions and Manning’s Omaha Productions. According to Variety, NBA in Stephen A’s World currently has four alterna-casts scheduled, the first of which will air Oct. 26, with the other three airing Nov. 2, Dec. 2 and Christmas Day.
More surprising than ESPN expanding its library of alterna-casts, is the fact that Smith has enough time to add another show to his plate. As if orchestrating and starring on ESPN’s premier studio show First Take isn’t enough, Smith also hosts NBA Countdown and recently launched a thrice-weekly podcast with Cadence13.