Fans of SC6 with Michael and Jemele (weekdays, ESPN, 6 p.m. ET) have likely noticed a much different look and feel from that of any other edition of SportsCenter. There is good reason for that.
“The Six,” hosted by Michael Smith and Jemele Hill, is capitalizing on SportsCenter’s personality-driven iterations (like the midnight SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt) right down to the studio artwork.
ESPN’s Creative Services group was tasked with the challenge of creating a look and feel that would fit Michael and Jemele’s personalities while also existing in the already established environment that is the state-of-the-art SportsCenter studio in Digital Center 2 on the Bristol, Conn., campus.
“We wanted a unique concept and design that would immediately catch the viewers’ attention,” said Lucas Nickerson, ESPN creative director. “The next step was to do that within the constructs of an already existing studio with a very specific and recognizable look. The creativity and innovation of our team were brought to the forefront to give Mike, Jemele, and the viewer something that was eye-catching and unlike anything they had seen before on the SportsCenter platform.”
Initial set design direction called for an urban, contemporary theme with a New York City loft feel to it. The concept, endorsed by Michael and Jemele, was a “grab a plate” mentality with both guests and viewers feeling as if they are a part of a conversation among friends in a space that is comfortable and inviting. The creation of three separate sets within the studio offers a functionality and flexibility that can accommodate any guest or conversation – be it at a table or on comfy couches.
The unique look doesn’t stop at the physical set pieces and configuration but carries through to the on-air graphics package and usage of the more than 100 monitors that live in Studio X.
“Through developing a distinctive graphics package and using the monitors in a way that they hadn’t been previously, we were able to capture even more of Michael and Jemele’s personalities,” said ESPN’s Carol Boyle, senior creative director. “Lucas and the design team introduced organic elements of brick and wood to both the studio displays and animation environments that beautifully capture a signature look for Michael and Jemele.”
A marquee element, the multi-dimensional North Wall is outfitted with unique illustrations created by Creative Services designers Jon Nagle, Justin Linde and Nickerson. Each piece of art was “commissioned” by Michael and Jemele.