Up Close

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This article is about the ESPN television show. For the album by Eric Johnson, see Up Close (album).

Up Close is a sports interview show that aired on ESPN for 20 years.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

The program debuted in 1981 on USA Network and was created by the advertising agency Foote, Cone and Belding to advertise one of its clients, Mazda cars. Mazda SportsLook moved to ESPN in 1982 and was subsequently rechristened Up Close.

Time slots[edit]

Once it arrived at ESPN, SportsLook was slotted before SportsCenter. The show aired at 6 p.m. Eastern time, followed by SportsCenter at 6:30. The show remained in that slot until September 1999, when SportsCenter was expanded to an hour and Up Close, as it was then renamed, moved to 5:30 p.m.

Hosts[edit]

The original host of Up Close was Roy Firestone, who served as host for 13 years. During this time, both Firestone and the show won many CableACE Awards, then the gold standard for cable television programming. When Firestone left in 1994, Chris Myers became the new host; he stayed there until 1998 and enjoyed the highest ratings in the history of the program. Gary Miller was the show's host when Up Close signed off in 2001.

Notable interviews[edit]

Myers interviewed O.J. Simpson live in November 1995; this was Simpson's first full-length interview since he was acquitted in the so-called "trial of the century" a month earlier.

Some interviews, notably those with college basketball coaches Jim Valvano and Bob Knight, are still occasionally shown on ESPN Classic under the name Up Close Classics.

Broadcast locations[edit]

In 1999, Up Close broadcasts were moved from studios in Los Angeles to the ESPN Zone in Anaheim, on Disneyland property.

Cancellation[edit]

Eventually, declining ratings and the rise of a confrontational style of talk led to the show's demise, which took place on Friday, October 19, 2001. Three days later, Up Close was replaced with Unscripted with Chris Connelly, which updated the Up Close format to be more contemporary. The new program lasted less than a year.

External links[edit]