Scott Van Pelt, host of ESPN Radio’s “SVP & Russillo,” has signed a multi-year extension to become the solo anchor for SportsCenter’s weekday, midnight edition but will also see him give up his syndicated radio show once the midnight show begins. Scheduled to start his new role in late summer, Van Pelt will include elements of his radio show, like “One Big Thing,” into the hour-long telecast. He will also continue to host ESPN golf coverage in addition to other assignments.
ESPN has long sought to produce a late-night sports program that resembles the highly profitable talk shows found on the major over-the-air networks. In 2013, the Big Lead reported that ESPN tried and failed to lure former “Saturday Night Live” chief writer and “Weekend Update” host Seth Meyers, who ended up following Jimmy Fallon at NBC. “We are interested in the late night spot. We’ve got all these lead-in games and … leading into what?” ESPN President John Skipper said at the time.
“We believe Scott’s one-of-a-kind blend of intellect, humor and sports fandom will place a new, entertaining stamp on the midnight SportsCenter,” said ESPN senior vice president, SportsCenter and News Rob King. “Placed between the 11pm and 1am editions of SportsCenter, Scott will have the freedom to focus on the day’s most compelling storylines and offer his own imprint, in addition to the perspective of his assembled cast of characters.”
“It was going to take something remarkable for me to consider a day that didn’t include radio, and this would qualify,” said Van Pelt, who joined ESPN in 2001. “To be allowed and empowered to bring some of the sensibility of radio to this space is fantastic.”