Writes Tom Enstice, “I’m sure this will greatly affect what will be going on at Chez CSTB December 31.”
In a collaboration with Little Steven™s Underground Garage, ESPN is taking on Times Square this New Year™s Eve, offering viewers a big rock ˜n™ roll show with sports highlights.
“It™s something that™s been talked about,” said Keri Potts, an ESPN spokeswoman. “We finally had the opportunity to do it this year.”
Instead of merely recapping the year™s best moments in sports with videoclips broadcast from a television studio, ESPN is co-hosting a live event from Times Square, the epicenter of New Year™s Eve celebrations.
ESPN™s longtime on-air personality Stuart Scott, who anchors SportsCenter, will co-host the New Year™s Eve show with Steven Van Zandt (above).
Van Zandt™s talents are wide-ranging.
“He appeals to a lot of folks,” said Potts. “He™s a great guy. He has his finger on the pulse of music.”
On his Underground Garage Web site, Van Zandt explains “garage rock.”
“For the next two hours, it is what I say it is,” Van Zandt says, with a chuckle. “It™s just back-to-basics guitar, bass and drums with a little attitude, and a direct connection to the sixties, before the machines took over.”
Van Zandt is returning to the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square for his New Year™s Eve date with ESPN.
The New Year™s Eve event, Potts said, is essentially a concert hosted by Van Zandt, with a two-hour segment from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. that will be broadcast on ESPN2, with Van Zandt and Scott as co-hosts.
A network music connection at ABC helped bring about ESPN™s collaboration with Van Zandt, who will provide the “cool factor” to the show, she said.
ESPN will pick up the on-air celebration after the New York Giants-Oakland Raiders game ends, said Potts. After midnight, ESPN will switch to SportsCenter, she said.
Potts said ESPN wanted to “get into the live New Year™s game.”
The Times Square New Year™s Eve party will take ESPN in “a new direction” in entertainment, she said.
Bands lined up to perform are The New York Dolls, The Troggs, who are best known for their hit, “Wild Thing,” The Mooney Suzuki, The Chesterfield Kings, The Woggles and The Charms.
For better or worse, ESPN is very much the trend-setter with the sort of thing, and if this New Year’s Eve broadcast is successful, we can undoubtedly look forward to similar initiatives throughout the sports TV universe. For example, Southside Johnny can replace Rob Dibble on “The Best Damn Sports Show Period”. TNT can give Craig Sager the heave ho and Joe Grushecky can show off his interviewing skills. And perhaps best of all, Bud Mishkin, say hello to your new co-host at New York One, John Cafferty.