Jay Harris has been one of the anchors of the 6 p.m. SportsCenter for more than five years.
But he might be as familiar to ESPN viewers as a frequent actor in the long-running This Is SportsCenter ad campaign.
Harris has appeared in 25 separate spots, often as a featured performer.
He tells Front Row about the ones he gets the most feedback on — and who he’d most like to co-star with in a future installment.
FR: You’re a veteran of 25 different This Is SportsCenter ads. What’s your favorite and why?
Harris: Wow, that’s a tough question. It’s like asking which kid is your favorite. My all time favorite might be the Big Buddy spot from year’s back with Stuart Scott and Kenny Mayne, and I love John Anderson and the Croc Hunter, and Scott Van Pelt with the performance enhancing thesaurus. My favorite that I’m in is probably the New Jersey Devil (entitled Going Up) in the elevator. It’s so simple, and very funny. But Josh Hamilton (entitled Donuts: “Quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”), Michael Phelps (entitled Stolen Property: “It’s just a bronze”), Larry Fitzgerald (entitled Catch) and Richard Simmons (entitled Conditioning Coach: “Read those scores, those sports scores”) are close seconds.
FR: How much improvisational acting is involved?
Harris: Ummm, it depends. Less is more for these things. Kind of understated humor is what’s desired. Just let the spot speak for itself.
FR: Which ones do you get the most feedback on?
Harris: New Jersey Devil. Hands down. Josh Hamilton and Larry Fitzgerald are next.
FR: The misplay on the soccer header (entitled Fish Out Of Water, co-starring Alex Morgan, Hope Solo and the Miami Dolphins mascot): How many takes did that scene take? How good are you at soccer?
Harris: That was a fun one too. It took, several takes…for front shots, back shots, side shots. We were actually having some pretty good volley’s between takes. It takes work to kick a ball across the room on demand! I’ve never played soccer, and am nowhere close to Hope Solo and Alex Morgan. But put me on the field with some 5 year olds, that’s when my inner Pele comes out!
FR: The Larry Fitzgerald ad has several stunts with Fitzgerald making several great catches. Lots of takes? Most difficult shoot for you?
Harris: Lots of takes….especially the Michigan State Spartan part, where he is juggling the knives. He learned to juggle knives that day. It was interesting to watch. From afar.
FR: Who would you like to work with most in these ads and why?
Harris: Halle Berry. Do you have to ask why?