Behind The Scenes

Coaching ‘Oprah’s’ SC prospect

On a very special episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” Thursday , Ron Brown (above right, with friend James Hill flanking Winfrey) will talk about what happens when you get what you wish for.

The show’s “Harpo Hook-Up” segment producers helped Brown fulfill a wish to become a SportsCenter reporter. Last month, Brown taped an interview with Chicago Bulls star and NBA MVP Derrick Rose, then visited Bristol the next day to report on SportsCenter.

The results can be seen in the video below. Brown — who works in a Walgreen’s in the Cleveland area — fared well.

Some credit has to go to one of the people who coached him. ESPN’s Bryan Bishop, an Associate Producer, helped guide Brown through the television maze.

“It was very gratifying seeing how excited he was with the whole opportunity, he was so happy and proud to be anchoring,” said Bishop, an ESPN veteran of eight years.

Front Row asked Bishop about what it was like to work with the greenest of SportsCenter reporters with an Oprah camera crew documenting everything.

Bryan Bishop, sitting to the right of Ron Brown (in suit and tie), helped the rookie.

FR: Describe your job in general and how you were involved in prepping Ron Brown to appear on SportsCenter.

Bishop: I am an Associate Producer here and work on shows such as the 6 o’clock ET SportsCenter. On occasion I get to segment produce, where you contact talent about topics, write questions for the talent and tape segments. When Ron arrived here, I brought him up to the newsroom, showed him what a rundown was and worked with him on the questions he was going to ask Jon Barry.

FR: How do you give someone who’s never been on live TV before a crash course on how to be calm on SportsCenter? What would you say the top three tips would be?

Bishop: The previous night, Ron interviewed Derrick Rose and did a great job asking him questions. Bureau producer Mike Flasch told me he did a great job and wasn’t nervous interviewing [Rose], so after watching his interview I thought he wouldn’t be that difficult to coach up. When he got here I told him just to be yourself, relax, don’t worry about the cameras and just imagine that you’re were talking to one of your buddies. [SportsCenter anchors] Dari Nowhkah and Ryan Burr were great with helping him out also, they gave him tips in the newsroom on how to act and taking the pressure off.

FR: How was Brown in actual rehearsals on the set?

Bishop We arrived a little early to the set after getting him made up, and I had Dari sit on the set with him and rehearse like Dari was Jon Barry. Ron did great, he didn’t seem nervous and was very excited for the opportunity.

FR: Could you see yourself appearing on camera, on the set, sharing your sports knowledge to millions without breaking a sweat?

Bishop: Ha, that’s a funny question. I have always wanted to be an anchor but after being behind the scenes I like it better. Being an anchor can be tough, and I give them a lot of credit for being as good as they are.

FR: How often do you watch Oprah? Will watching the Ron Brown episode constitute a first?

Bishop: I never ever watch Oprah unless I’m at home and my mom has it on because she loves her and I usually leave the room when she watches it. That’s not the typical show I watch. That will be the first time I purposely watch the show.

Editor’s note: Here’s a reminder of how Brown fared on SportsCenter.

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