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Joe Tessitore On “Holey Moley’s” Return Tonight: “This year feels like full-contact mini-golf.”

ESPN's football and boxing voice, co-host of ABC's hit produced by Stephen Curry, previews 13-show season

Widely known for his signature boxing and football calls, Joe Tessitore made his extreme mini-golf play-by-play debut last summer with ABC’s primetime competition series Holey Moley. Tessitore returns to the putting green for the first of 13 episodes of Holey Moley II: The Sequel (tonight, 9 ET | 8 CT).

Joe Tessitore (Christopher Willard/ABC)

NBA star Stephen Curry is an executive producer of the ABC hit series, which tests the miniature golf – and physical – skills of eight contestants each week on a super-sized course. Tessitore previews the new season with Front Row, teasing the best holes and comparing his golfing analyst, comedian Rob Riggle, to one of his regular ESPN partners.

During the first season, when did you realize Holey Moley was a hit?
We were just happy people enjoyed it. I still shake my head and laugh to think that extreme mini-golf is on primetime network TV. Last year, we were really blessed to have a strong premiere episode as the NBA Finals served us well with promotion. Thankfully, we kept that momentum. What we also noticed in Season 1 was that it was embraced as multi-generation family viewing.

What should fans expect from Season 2?
New holes! Eighteen dynamic holes, and they are revealed as the season goes along. Even the very few holes we brought back are bigger and better. The golfers are also more talented. We have former pro golf tour players and Olympians and many top mini-golf pro players. The wipeouts are also spectacular. This year feels like full-contact mini-golf.

When and where did you tape Holey Moley?
We were able to film the entire show in late February/early March and wrapped just two days before the pandemic restrictions. I was in Las Vegas for the Wilder-Fury II Heavyweight Championship fight and then to LA for Holey Moley. We filmed long hours overnight – 7:30 p.m. until 5 a.m. – north of Los Angeles on a massive ranch. The course is huge. When you drive onto the property, you can’t believe the size and scope of the design.

What’s your favorite hole this year?
It’s tough to pick just one. Polcano (high-speed zip line off volcano into a totem pole) and Dragon’s Breath (suits of armor with fire-breathing dragons) come to mind for pure action. Diving Range is amazing comedy. And Gopher It (riding a mechanical gopher for better ball position) are all A+. The season finale $250,000 putt is on an outrageous hole only used once. The windmill hole is now called “Double” Dutch Courage – with extra blades going faster, and the hole is elevated above freezing-cold water with gaps to jump across.

You and Riggle have a fun chemistry. How is he as a broadcast partner?
Rob knows exactly what to do and say to get me. Sometimes I’m on-air – and out of the corner of my eye, I can see him just make a face – and I lose it. The producers and ABC executives constantly mention Holey Moley as being a ‘buddy comedy’ and thank goodness that one of us is funny. Rob is so talented. He is also an incredibly generous comedian and an even better guy. He is beloved by the entire Holey Moley crew, which reminds me of how the ESPN Top Rank boxing crew is constantly roaring over everything Tim Bradley does.

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