The Sports Reporters
|The Sports Reporters|
|Starring||Gary Thorne (1988)|
Dick Schaap (1988–2001)
John Saunders (2001–2016)
Mike Lupica (2016–2017)
|Country of origin||United States|
|Production location(s)||Manhattan (1988–2010)|
Bristol, Connecticut (2010–2017)
|Running time||30 min.|
|Original network||ESPN (1988–2017)|
|Original release||October 2, 1988 – May 7, 2017|
The Sports Reporters was a sports talk show that aired on ESPN at 9:30 a.m. ET every Sunday morning (and replayed at 10:30 a.m. ET the same day on ESPN2 and 11:30 AM on ESPNews). It featured a roundtable discussion among four sports media personalities, with one regular host and three rotating guests. The show began in 1988, patterned to some extent after the Chicago-based syndicated show called Sportswriters on TV. ESPN Deportes, ESPN Latin America and ESPN Brasil may launch Spanish-language and Portuguese-language versions of the show in the future.
The show was originally broadcast from a studio in Manhattan, and from 1999 to 2010 it was recorded at the ESPN Zone at Times Square in Manhattan before it closed. It then moved to Bristol, Connecticut at the main ESPN studios, where it stayed until the end of its run. On January 23, 2017, ESPN announced its planned cancellation, following the death of host John Saunders. The final episode aired May 7, 2017. The show would return in the form of a podcast in September 2017.
Hosts and panelists
The Sports Reporters first aired in 1988 and was originally hosted by Gary Thorne, who was replaced by Dick Schaap later that year. Following Schaap's death in 2001, he was replaced by John Saunders, who hosted it until his own death in 2016.
The first year featured four rotating panelists, but afterwards there were three rotating panel members. Regular panelists included Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News, John Feinstein of the Washington Post, Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press, Michael Wilbon also from the Washington Post, Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe, William C. Rhoden of The New York Times and Stephen A. Smith of ESPN.
Former panelists included Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports 1, Christine Brennan of USA Today, Tony Kornheiser of The Washington Post, Mike Downey of the Los Angeles Times, Roy S. Johnson of The New York Times and Sports Illustrated, Bill Conlin of the Philadelphia Daily News. and Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. As the show was based in New York City and then Bristol, Connecticut, the panelists were usually from the northeastern portion of the United States. For a long time there were no women serving as regular panelists on the show, but in celebration of Title IX one show in 2005 included three female sports journalists. In the show's later years, Selena Roberts of the New York Times and ESPN's Jemele Hill had made regular appearances on the show. The August 28, 2016 episode of the show made history with an all female edition of The Sports Reporters, with Hill as the moderator and fellow ESPN reporters Sarah Spain, Kate Fagan, and Jane McManus on the panel.
When Saunders was on assignment or unable to host due to illness, Lupica was usually the designated substitute host and became the permanent host after the death of Saunders in August 2016 until the final episode in May 2017. Dick's son Jeremy Schaap also guest-hosted on occasion.
September 16, 2001
The show was expanded to an hour to cover the sports perspective from the September 11th attacks. It also proved to be Dick Schaap's last show as he underwent hip replacement surgery and later died from complications. In fact, he delayed the surgery in order to be on that show.
November 15, 2015
The show covered the sports perspective from the November 2015 Paris attacks and how the attacks had an impact in the security system in sports facilities.
Death of Saunders
After nearly 30 years on ESPN, the final episode of The Sports Reporters aired on May 7, 2017 with Lupica hosting, and Ryan, Rhoden, and Albom as the panelists.
On September 8, 2017, The Sports Reporters relaunched as a bi-weekly podcast co-hosted by Albom and Lupica with a rotating cast of the top sports writers in the business, including former panelists from the original ESPN program.
- Deitsch, Richard. "ESPN is canceling The Sports Reporters". SI.com. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- Rigdon, Jay (August 27, 2016). "ESPN to air first ever all-female edition of Sports Reporters on Sunday". awfulannouncing.com. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
- "Longtime ESPN host John Saunders dead at age 61". ABC News. 10 August 2016. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
- Mita, Molly (12 August 2016). "ESPN's "Journalism Showcase" - August 12, 2016 - ESPN Front Row". ESPN Front Row. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
- Holleran, Andrew (May 7, 2017). "ESPN Aired The Final Episode Of 'The Sports Reporters' This Morning". thespun.com. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
- Thomas, Christopher D. (September 7, 2017). "Mitch Albom, Mike Lupica relaunching 'The Sports Reporters' as podcast". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved December 27, 2017.