The Post Game Show

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Stephen A. Smith gets own show on ESPN2

Compiled By The Inquirer Staff
Inquirer sports columnist Stephen A. Smith will get his own "opinion/personality" television show, Quite Frankly, on ESPN2 at 6:30 p.m. weekdays, ESPN executive vice president Mark Shapiro announced yesterday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Los Angeles.
The show will start in June and originate in New York. Shapiro said Smith would appear before a live audience in a combination Bill O'Reilly-Phil Donahue format featuring hot-seat guests and one-issue sports commentary.
"We are very pleased that ESPN audiences will now get a chance to know what Philadelphia Inquirer readers have known for many years, just how special Stephen A. Smith is as a sports commentator," Inquirer managing editor Anne Gordon said.
"Stephen will continue in his role at The Inquirer, sharing his strong and often controversial opinions on a wide variety of sporting events."
Smith, 37, started at ESPN in October 2003 and is the network's featured NBA analyst/insider for its NBA Shootaround show. At times, he has hosted Pardon The Interruption.
"Initially, I believed the most humbling accomplishment of my career was obtaining a general sports column," said Smith, who joined The Inquirer in October 1994 and started writing his general column in February 2003. "This equals that sentiment. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever envision hosting my own show. I'm honored, extremely humbled, and very fortunate and blessed to be in this position.
"However, despite all that has transpired, the newspaper business still serves as my foundation. Its principles and the integrity associated with it serve as the backbone for all that I'm about and hope to be professionally. I have no intention of giving up my position as a general columnist, and I hope to remain in this business, as well, for years to come."
Spokesman Rob Tobias said the network wanted to launch a personality-driven show for ESPN2.
"Stephen A. Smith is the perfect candidate to fill that role," Tobias said. "It's a program with a daily dose of sports news, opinions, issues and headlines, much like the Bill O'Reilly show."

Inquirer staff writer Jonathan Storm contributed to this article.

I read this on today, and needless to say, as an admirer of Stephen A.'s work and personality (I met him at the UNITY Journalism convention in D.C. last summer) that I'll be watching that show with interest to see how many opportunities can open up for a person in the field of Journalism. I'll be back after the Sixers game to post again.


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