Tony Reali at Special Olympics DC May 21, 2013.
|Born||Anthony Joseph Paul Reali
July 4, 1978
New York, New York, U.S.A.
|Occupation||Sports talk show host|
Anthony Joseph Paul "Tony" Reali (born July 4, 1978) is an American sports personality and television host, and the host of Around the Horn on ESPN. He is also the ombudsman or "stat boy" on Pardon the Interruption.
Born in New York City, Reali spent most of his childhood living in New Jersey and graduated from Christian Brothers Academy in 1996. Reali was a sportscaster for WFUV at Fordham University from 1997-2000 as the voice of football and men's basketball. He also was a beat reporter covering the Yankees, Mets, Giants, and Jets. In May 2000, he wrote for WPIX-TV of New York.
Career at ESPN
Reali joined ESPN in 2000 as a researcher/writer for ESPN's quiz show 2 Minute Drill. He later joined Pardon the Interruption in October 2001 as "Stat Boy", where his role was to correct and fact-check hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon at the end of every episode. Reali became so popular that he started appearing daily on Tony Kornheiser's radio show for a daily segment called "Preview the Interruption", in which he discussed what was going to happen on PTI later on that afternoon. After Reali became the host of Around the Horn and his popularity continued to rise, Kornheiser and Wilbon eventually started introducing him by his actual name instead of simply calling him "Stat Boy." On occasion, Kornheiser will add several ridiculous middle names when introducing him to poke fun at his long name (such as Anthony Joseph Lisa Lipps Reali). In addition to conducting his usual fact-checks, Reali now also judges Kornheiser and Wilbon when they play the games "Oddsmakers" and "Report Card" on the show and introduces the topics for segments such as "Over/Under" and "What's the Word."
Around the Horn
In February 2004, Reali replaced Max Kellerman as the host of Around the Horn, the show that precedes PTI in the ESPN weekday schedule (he was guest host on Around the Horn six times, and was a panelist six other times before becoming host). As host of Around The Horn, Reali awards points at his own discretion based upon the quality of the guests' comments. Tony is known for his in depth knowledge of sports statistics and corrections of panelists on "Around the Horn". He will deduct points or mute the guest when a nonsensical comment is provided, awarding points when a panelist makes a convincing argument, bold prediction, or amusing pop culture reference.
In the early hours of October 1, 2007, Reali's apartment was destroyed by a fire, a fact acknowledged by Tony Kornheiser on Pardon the Interruption on October 1 and by Reali himself, along with the various correspondents, on Around the Horn on October 2. Jay Mariotti verified that no one had been injured.
Around the Horn marked 10 years on the air Friday, November 2, 2012. On the eve of this milestone, Tony Reali offered his thoughts on the show’s successful run and what the opportunity has meant for him personally:
" Pele wore it on his back. Phil Jackson once wore it on his head. Pearl Jam debuted with it. Dudley Moore thought Bo Derek was it. Ten. X. 10. And now, it’s our number. 2,217 shows and I can remember every single one. Or, at least the 2,000-plus I have done. I remember the day Woody Paige almost choked on confetti celebrating his 300th win. The day Michael Smith broke out an impromptu Barack Obama impression for 64 points. I remember having Lil Wayne on as a guest panelist and thinking “This guy could take all our jobs.” I remember when Kevin Blackistone dressed as Ron Washington for Halloween. I remember Jay Mariotti working 265 straight shows. 265 straight!
I remember February 1, 2004. I got the call to host the show the next day while watching the Patriots - Panthers Super Bowl. Max Kellerman was in contract talks. Could I sit in? I had been a panelist previously and hosted a couple of times but never a day after the Super Bowl. At first I said ‘no’. I was scared stiff. I couldn’t comprehend this was how ESPN hired its hosts. (Spoiler alert: It’s not.) I was 25 and my entire broadcasting career consisted of 10 seconds a day as “Stat Boy” and saying inappropriate things on radio at Fordham University . When I finally said ‘yes,’ I realized I had no clothes. I wore my only suit to work the next day — sweated through it — and put together a hosting stint that has to go down in history as the worst of all-time. But I did get through it, and I’m much better for it. I wore the same suit to work the next day, and by Wednesday I needed a new tie. It was 18 months later when I signed my first contract to host the show. Aaron Solomon is the producer and he is a rock. He’s steered this show to where it is now, along with (associate producer) Josh Bard, (executive producer) Erik Rydholm and (ESPN senior coordinating producer) David Brofsky . But, first and foremost, this show is about the panelists and our crew — currently Bob Ryan, Woody Paige, Tim Cowlishaw, Bill Plaschke, JA Adande, Kevin Blackistone, Jackie MacMullan, Michael Smith, Jemele Hill, Bomani Jones, Israel Gutierrez — and all of the panelists we’ve had through the years have carried us. If you want to say anything about this show, call it a survivor. I can’t think of a higher compliment. The thing I love most about hosting this show is that it mirrors my personality: sports, games, jokes, pop culture — and none of it taken too seriously. I mean, we have a mute button and a scoring system NO ONE UNDERSTANDS. I like that. And it’s only possible because we don’t take anything as life or death. And, I think, that was something the original reviewers of the show never got. Maybe the show didn’t always view itself like that. For me, the strength of this show is in the friendship and chemistry and relationship between the panelists and the discussion that comes from that. As host, my job every day is to try to tap into that. And that’s why we’ve started posting “Behind the Horn” scenes every day on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter — to show that these guys are real and none of what we do is fake. Our panelists amaze me. I owe a debt to them. And to Max, Bill Wolff and Jim Cohen (the original producers and creators). So, how do I show my appreciation? By putting their faces — and the faces of 90 other people who we couldn’t do this show without — in a Sgt. Pepper knockoff."
Notable voice roles
Reali appeared as a special guest star on Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil; he provided the voice for "The Dark One" in "Rocked". The episode aired on September 22, 2012.
Reali is of Italian-American descent. He grew up in Marlboro Township, New Jersey and graduated from Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft, New Jersey. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Communications and History from Fordham University.
Reali is a Catholic. "My faith is very important to me. So is my spirituality. It has made me who I am, and it has got me to where I am. And it's where I am going." He is known for wearing ashes on his forehead on-air on ESPN every Ash Wednesday.
White House visit
On July 12, 2013, Reali visited the White House joined by Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon . After lunch the trio met in the Oval Office with President Barack Obama, who has publicly stated that Pardon the Interruption is his favorite television show.
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- Barron, David, 'PTI' hosts have 25-year history, retrieved 2007-10-15[dead link]
- Cowlishaw, Tim, Cowlishaw chat: Analyzing football failures, retrieved 2007-10-15
- Walters, John (2005-10-24), "My favorite Brunette", CNN, retrieved 2007-10-15
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- Moreno, Sylvia (2007-10-02), "Fire Chief Says Electrical Event Cause of Adams Morgan Fire", The Washington Post, retrieved 2007-10-02
- It’s our faith that makes us who we are (2.26.10)
- Concha, Joe. "RealHoboken Celebrity Series: An Interview with ESPN’s Tony Reali", RealHoboken.com. Accessed October 23, 2007. "One of the aforementioned shows, Around the Horn is hosted by 28-year-old Tony Reali, a Marlboro, New Jersey native and graduate of Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft in 1996."
- Tony Reali ESPN Bio, retrieved 2007-10-15
- Official ESPN bio
- Feature article from The Washington Post, August 27, 2006
- Article from ESPN Front Row
-  from WashingtonPost.com