After being on hiatus since March, SportsCenter:AM returned on Sept. 14 and is once again airing seven days a week at 7 a.m. ET.
Including the noon ET edition, the Daytime SportsCenter crew – overseen by Senior Vice President, Production & Content Strategy, Jill Frederickson, and Judson Burch, senior coordinating producer – is now producing 34 hours of TV per week.
The three producers who rotate duty on the 7 a.m. show, Jon Lavoie, Tory McMahon and Jesus Rodriguez took time from their busy schedules to speak with Front Row:
What makes the 7 a.m. show unique?
McMahon: So many people touch that show early on, not just day of. The teamwork starts days before, with talks with Jill and Judd, and then the conversations and discussions and the planning to get to 7 a.m. When the producers come in at 2 a.m. or 1 a.m., there’s so much of the foundation laid down, and it started days before that.
When you’re doing the day of show, you’re still having the researcher, still doing the rundown in the same way; the news editor, the APs [Associate Producers], and PAs [Production Assistants] are all there in the morning shift. There are so many people who started working on that show whether it was by email, whether they started on the rundown the night before – overnight producers do an amazing job of setting up the producer, the whole team, the anchors, everyone – so that when we walk in, there’s a foundation. Then you’re tweaking things and adjusting and making it all work.
With live sports coming back seemingly all at once, how much of a challenge has it been for you?
Lavoie: It’s a lot easier than the shows with no sports. Before I was always looking for ways to get good video for shows because there was no video – it was all just talking about the possibilities of sports coming back and what’s next for each sport.
So I was always looking for anniversaries or different ways to get an actual highlight into a show that picks up the pace, picks up the excitement, and gives the viewers something to be entertained with. I would rather have it like this, where there is so much to choose from.
Rodriguez: When we all found out that the 7 a.m. was back, Jill mentioned she’s never seen so many people happy about waking up in the middle of the night to go work. Everybody’s just excited to get to work – there have been days that literally every major sport was playing. We’re having so much fun doing it, and when you see it, I think you can’t help but have fun as well.