SportsCenter anchor John Anderson, never one to take himself too seriously, will appear in a different genre of television Tuesday night. He expects his young daughter to be very happy about it.
Anderson supplies the voice of a futuristic alien sportscaster in an episode of the Disney XD animated series Penn Zero: Part Time Hero airing at 8 p.m. ET. The role reunited Anderson with John Henson, his co-host on the former ABC series Wipeout, who also plays a sportscaster.
In the episode, “Ultrahyperball,” the fate of two planets is tied to the outcome of a sporting event called Ultrahyperball, and Anderson and Henson’s characters call the game. Anderson’s character is an orange alien with four arms.
Anderson – who had never voiced a cartoon before – and Henson recorded their parts together but in different locations. Anderson was in a studio near ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Conn., and Henson was in California.
“We voiced all of our stuff together because we interacted on things back and forth,” Anderson said. “And it’s literally very much the same dynamic as Wipeout – I give the names, dates and places and then he says funny stuff.”
Anderson enjoyed his time working with Henson and wishes he could work with him more. Anderson even has an idea of how he could.
– John Anderson on comedian and co-star John Henson if they were to co-anchor SportsCenter
“If I could figure out how [Senior Vice President, SportsCenter and News] Rob King could make [Henson] a partner here, I’d do SportsCenter with him once or twice a week,” Anderson said. “He’d be great.
“Problem is, all he’d do is want to talk about the Knicks and lament about the Knicks. He’s a huge sports fan but the Knicks are where he lives and dies. He is so funny with addressing, the nice way to put it, their shortcomings.”
Anderson expects his sixth-grade daughter and her friends will enjoy the show but his older son might be a different story.
“Now that he’s in eighth grade, that makes him pretty close to driving the car and there’s no way that he needs to be watching things like that,” he said. “He may tune in because his father’s there, or because they like Mr. Henson a lot. They probably have more interest in Penn Zero and more interest in Mr. Henson than they do me.”