Behind The ScenesSportsCenter

The Hangover’s Ken Jeong is humbled by SportsCenter hosting gig

Actor, comedian, and physician Ken Jeong.(Rich Arden/ESPN Images)
Actor, comedian, and physician Ken Jeong prepped for his “SportsCenter” co-anchor duties earlier today.
(Rich Arden/ESPN Images)
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Ken Jeong on

The actor wrote a first-person piece on why he’s ready for his 6 p.m. ET “SportsCenter” anchor gig.[/box] [box color=blue size=small align=right]

Anchor to Anchor:

Ken Jeong discusses
Lindsay Czarniak:

I’m a big fan of Lindsay. She is effortlessly charismatic and does a great job in setting the tone of a broadcast. She knows when to keep things light and when to keep things grounded. I will defer to Lindsay’s expertise and follow the tone she sets for the broadcast.

Lindsay Czarniak discusses
Ken Jeong:

I am a big fan of Ken’s work. As I said to a co-worker earlier this week, anytime re-watching “The Hangover” is part of my “SportsCenter” homework, I consider that a pretty great week. I can’t wait to work with him, mostly because I know how funny he is. There are so many interesting things about him besides what we know from the films and commercials. He is a huge sports fan; specifically the NBA. I also read it was his idea to jump out of the trunk of the car in the buff in “The Hangover.” Anyone that comes up with that kind of creative, bold idea can only add to a “SportsCenter” telecast.[/box]

Ken Jeong’s mother and father have the type of humblebrag material that most parents would envy.

“Have I told you about my son, the doctor?” they can say. Or “Look, there’s my son, the comedian.” And ever since his breakout role in The Hangover, they can boast of their son, “the famous actor.”

“I’ve gotten shout-outs on PTI – they mentioned my birthday – and that’s one of those thing’s that’s so flattering,” said Jeong, who will be a special guest co-host for tonight’s 6 p.m. ET SportsCenter with Lindsay Czarniak. “I’ll call my parents and say, ‘They gave me a shout-out, see, I’m good!’”

“We take the pulse of people who come through here on their interest and ability to anchor, and Ken has done well for us already – appearing on First Take, and has always said how much he respects what we do on SportsCenter,” said Coordinating Producer Jack Obringer. “Ken’s a big NBA guy, and it’s a big NBA night, so with his huge recognition across movies, TV and commercials, we figured he’d add some fun to a fun show.”

Further affirmation of Jeong’s “goodness” – beyond being Hangover’s Mr. Chow and playing Chang on NBC’s Community – is sure to be on display as he “tries to blend in with the tone of SportsCenter,” he said. “[If I can do that, it] would be a big thrill for me. My goal is to fit in and not be distracting.”

With degrees from both Duke and North Carolina, Jeong grew up on basketball and is a huge NBA fan. And he has always consumed SportsCenter voraciously – these days it’s largely when he’s on the treadmill.

“I grew up on SportsCenter,” he said. “It is so iconic even its theme music shines a light on our culture. ‘DaDaDa’ has contributed to the soundtrack of my life.

“The people I grew up with on SportsCenter, back in the day, were people like Dan Patrick, Charley Steiner and Craig Kilborn,” Jeong said. “They helped make SportsCenter so iconic. They were the evolution of sports highlights. They set the bar really high. Now Lindsay Czarniak, John Anderson, Scott Van Pelt and others have taken it and run with it.

“Today’s anchors are so great, with their sports knowledge and charisma,” he said. “It’s hybrid journalism – they report the news and blend it with their personalities. I really respect that.”

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