Starting this month, ESPN introduced a new twist to their 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter. The new SportsCenter in the time slot is called ‘The Six’, or referred to as SC6, and is hosted by Michael Smith and Jemele Hill.
After watching the show sporadically over the past two weeks on TV and Youtube, I think it’s a great move. SportsCenter has long been ESPN’s marquee show, but there was always the chance the show lacked personality. While it’s had a myriad of phenomenal hosts over the past decades, it failed to keep a consistent brand.
Now, the show has that, at least for one hour a day. Smith and Hill are using their hour to the best of their ability, fusing sports talk with music, movies, pop culture, etc. The show is unashamedly them, and they have no fear taking it by the reigns.
I’ve enjoyed this programming and I think it’s showing a good shift for ESPN. Last year they debuted Scott Van Pelt‘s midnight edition of SportsCenter, and while I have no idea the ratings it gets, it provides great content.
Scott Van Pelt courtesy of LA Times
Personalities drive the sports media world now. Just turn on your TV and every sports show has become larger-than-life personalities throwing their opinions around. That’s why I think this move by ESPN is positive. At it’s core, SportsCenter is a highlight-driven show. It has a delicious taste, but it wears off quickly. The cure? Throw people like Smith, Hill, and Van Pelt in the mix daily to put a familiar face on the product.
And lastly, I like that these shows are obviously at the will of the hosts. Smith and Hill talk about what THEY want to talk about. As with Van Pelt. It provides parity in the 24-hour sports cycle, and as a viewer, it keeps me engaged.