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SportsCenter’s Pick 6 segment with Lindsay Czarniak born from genuine curiosity

Editor’s note: In the video above, Lindsay Czarniak subjects herself to the “Pick 6” treatment with SportsCenter colleague John Anderson posing the questions.

Quarterbacks (sorry, Matt Schaub) might tune out SportsCenter’s newest segment, but many others seem to be enjoying “Pick 6,” which airs weekly on ESPN’s 6 p.m. ET SportsCenter. Anchor Lindsay Czarniak was looking for a way to get NFL players to provide information beyond the parameters of a basic Xs and Os Q&A.

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Collaborating with Coordinating Producer Heath Henry, the “Pick 6” format was born: “Pick” a player’s brain for “6” things – they’d answer three questions, then reveal three things about themselves viewers and fans might not know. Examples of revelations to date: 49ers running back Frank Gore still breakdances; Bills receiver Stevie Johnson is not shy about freestyle rapping; and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson carries a wallet made from duct tape given to him by a young fan.

“I really believe in giving our viewers a chance to hear from their favorite players, and while there’s no doubt there are a handful of timely topics to hit with these players during a given week, I also want to give our viewers a chance to get to know them better,” Czarniak said. “Everyone has a story, and there are times a player may share something – an interest, a hobby, something about their upbringing, etc. – that makes them relatable to the folks at home. If we have the power to do that on SportsCenter, I say we should do it as often as possible.”

Thinking of those folks at home, Henry added an “Extra Point.”

“As a way to get the viewer involved and add a social media element, we started taking the best questions for our guests submitted via Twitter,” Henry said. “For example, we asked [Patriots defensive end] Rob Ninkovich a viewer question regarding what [head coach] Bill Belichick does with all the cut off hoodie sleeves.”

Talent Producer Shaun Wyman is instrumental in securing the “Sixers,” largely considering players who are coming off a big game, or who will be involved in a key matchup in the coming week. Production Editor Bryan Antos handles the segment “cut downs” and creative font look, with fellow Editor Mark Maynard and Associate Producer Nick Aquilino also contributing.

Discussions already have begun about extending “Pick 6” to other sports after the NFL season.

Video above produced by Heath Henry and Dave Williams

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