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.
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.
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.
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.
- Up Close at the Internet Movie Database
- Up Close at TV.com
- ESPN.com - TVLISTINGS - Up Close
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