College Football Awards producer promises “heroic” surprises during tonight’s show

Baron Miller (right) with ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit in production meeting for College Football Awards (Andy Hall photo)
Baron Miller (r) works with analyst Kirk Herbstreit during a production meeting for the “College Football Awards.” (Andy Hall/ESPN)

ORLANDO — Viewers can expect some changes to The Home Depot College Football Awards (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) when the program airs from Florida’s Walt Disney World. Baron Miller, who will be producing the two-hour telecast for the first time, said that college football fans will see some surprises.

“We have a whole new, different look to the show,” said Miller. “We’re really doing an overhaul with how this show looks visually. It’s sharp and I think it’s going to be really exciting.”

One of the most noticeable of the new elements is a live band that will play at various times throughout the program as it airs from the Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney’s BoardWalk. The television presentation also will contain new graphics and an eye-catching open.

“The way we’re going to come on the air is going to be pretty unique,” Miller said. “Without giving too much away, if you’re a fan of superheroes, you’re going to geek out with our show open.”

The changes, Miller said, were all done with the idea of bringing an ESPN College GameDay energy to what has been a more traditional television awards show.

“One of the challenges this year was for us to really just take a step back and look at it,” Miller said. “We’re trying to make it fun and move at a pace that mirrors the GameDay brand.”

Miller, who started at ESPN in 2000 as a production assistant after graduating from N.C. State and is now a studio producer for ESPNU in Charlotte, N.C., has been involved with the awards show in nine of the last 11 years. He produced the pre and post-show red carpet programs in recent years. In his first year at ESPN, he paid his own way to Orlando to be a runner on the show’s production team.

“It’s been fun to see it grow and it’s been fun to grow with it,” he said. “If you’d asked me nine years ago if I’d be producing it, I’d have said no way. It’s been cool. I love the show.”

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