On Saturday, SI.com's Richard Deitsch revealed that ESPN was plopping long-time sports-and-news talking head Hannah Storm into the new morning slot for Sports Center. Tomorrow, ESPN will make the formal announcement at upfront presentations, the big-snazzy press conference done to get the advertisers all riled up.
This is an interesting move by the WWL on a couple of fronts: first, it's not like running the re-treads of the previous nights SportsCenter were doing poorly in the ratings. Storm will (according to sources) be the showcase anchor for the 9 a.m.-12 p.m. slot and paired with another male anchor for that slot. But make no mistake — it'll be Hannah Storm's show and any other person in that slot will be riding bitch.
Storm was not renewed as the CBS Morning Show's anchorprincess, a deal that expires this month. But she won't be getting network anchor money in her new role at ESPN. She's taking a significant cut. This is even more problematic for anybody riding along in the sidecar-sissy seat with Storm; they won't be getting the top-talent money to fill that slot.
But who are the viewers ESPN is trying to attract with this move? Even though it's not being packaged as Cold Pizza 2.0, Storm wouldn't be getting that slot if the WWL brass wasn't attempting to give their morning shows a little Meredith Vieira juice and tone down the highlight heavy, wise-assery of primetime SC. Storm's absolutely got all the credentials to fill that role as a legit (possibly overqualified) news anchor, but she won't be expected to start dropping P.S., I Love You references during baseball highlights as part of her duties.
Consider this the latest evolution of ESPN as they continue to attract every single demographic out there. So, sports-addicted mini-van mommies, you are finally being recognized. Also? This move prevents any protests from Charlie Weis had they moved Dana Jacobson into that slot — Storm's a Notre Dame grad.