Fred Christenson

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Fred Christenson

Frederick John Christenson is an American television executive and professional poker player.

Early life[edit]

Christenson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The son of Martha Ann Thomson and Glen Oliver Christenson, raised in Tucson, Arizona. Christenson attended Hastings College (N.A.I.A.) in Nebraska on Athletic Scholarship to play football. Later he transferred to University of Arizona, earning Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.

Television career[edit]

Christenson was first hired at ESPN as a mailroom clerk in 1987. His first job required him to edit footage of World Class Championship Wrestling.[1] He was promoted to production assistant, then associate producer working on various shows including: SportsCenter, college football studio scoreboard show and NFL GameDay show, winning Sports Emmy in 1988 as Outstanding Studio Show. Christenson moved to Los Angeles, producing Los Angeles Raiders football pre-season television games, weekly television show and radio telecasts and broadcasts from 1989-1994. He returned to work for ESPN in 1994, producing UpClose:PrimeTime with Roy Firestone in Los Angeles.

Christenson relocated to the East Coast in 1997 to act as coordinating producer on ESPN’s SportsCentury project. SportsCentury: The Top 50 and Beyond won the 2001 Sports Emmy for Edited Sports Series/Anthology.[2] While Christenson was a senior producer for SportsCentury, the series won the first Peabody Award ever given to ESPN.[3]

In 2001, Christenson was also an executive on a season-long documentary of University of Arizona’s football team.[4]

Christenson then went to programming and acquisition responsibilities for ESPN Classic, ESPN Programming Department and ESPN Original Entertainment as the senior director of programming and acquisitions and the director of brand management of ESPN Classic.[1][5][6] In 2003, he secured the long-term rights acquisition to the World Series of Poker, and obtained approval of hole-card camera usage in television coverage from the gaming licensing governing body of Nevada.[7][8] Christenson and Mark Shapiro popularized the World Series of Poker.[9]

Six Flags[edit]

Christenson left ESPN after nearly 20 years of service in 2006 and went to work for Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder’s newly acquired company Six Flags, Inc. (SIX) as Regional Vice President of Parks Strategy and Management.[10][11] After nearly five-years, Christenson left SIX, returning to television as programming director for dick clark productions, inc. in New York City.

Poker career[edit]

Image of poker player Fred Christenson

A long time poker player, he has played professionally in five different World Series of Poker events,[12][13] cashing in once. Christenson was invited to play in 2005 World Poker Tour,[14] Professional Poker Tour, and 5-Star Poker Classic, finishing 12th out of 248 professional players. Christenson plays in various casino cash games and tournaments in Las Vegas and Connecticut and was a regular player online with Poker Stars[15] until Black Friday.


Christenson has appeared on the credits of the following productions:

  • Playmakers (TV Series)[16]
  • TILT (TV Movie)[16]
  • Hustle: The Pete Rose Story, as Production Executive (TV Movie) [17]
  • Junction Boys, as Executive (TV Movie)[18]
  • Four Minutes (TV Movie)[19]
  • Up Close Primetime (TV Series), as Producer[19]


  1. ^ a b Russo, Ric. "Who You Calling Old-Timer?" Orlando Sentinel. July 15, 2001
  2. ^ Bernstein, Paula. "NBC Gets 10 for Olympics." Variety. April 17, 2001
  3. ^ "ESPN SportsCentury." Peabody Awards website. 1999. Accessed May 18, 2013
  4. ^ “A Cat’s Life: ESPN and Univ. of AZ Team For Football Show.” Sports Business Daily. May 30, 2001
  5. ^ “Raising the Pot: Poker Continues as Viable Programming.” Sports Business Daily. Aug. 31, 2005
  6. ^ Bernstein, Andy. “Cable nets flush with poker tourneys.” Sports Business Daily. March 1, 2004
  7. ^ Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales
  8. ^ Raskin, Eric. "When We Held Kings." Archived 2013-06-08 at the Wayback Machine. Grantland. May 22, 2013
  9. ^ Smith, Anthony F. and Keith Hollihan. ESPN The Company: The Story and Lessons Behind the Most Fanatical Brand in Sports Wiley. Sept. 8, 2009. ISBN 047054211X pg. 125
  10. ^ Six Flags
  11. ^ Shin, Annys. "Streetmosphere." The Washington Post. May 29, 2006
  12. ^ World Series of Poker
  13. ^ "Coffee Shop Owner Wins Bracket." ESPN Poker
  14. ^ World Poker Tour
  15. ^ Poker Stars
  16. ^ a b "Fred Christenson." The New York Times Movies and TV. Accessed May 18, 2013
  17. ^ "Fred Christenson Filmography." TCM website. Accessed May 18, 2013
  18. ^ Junction Boys credits. The New York Times Television. Accessed May 18, 2013
  19. ^ a b "Fred Christenson." IMDb. Accessed May 18, 2013

External links[edit]