It appears that ESPN has found their replacement for the NFL Primetime-style show that used to air on Sunday nights following the NFL games. SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt will expand to six nights a week for football season with a new Sunday night edition beginning September 10, the first Sunday of the 2017 NFL season.
In the new program, which will begin at midnight or when the Sunday night NFL game ends, Van Pelt will bring viewers a summary of the day’s games and stories as well as take a look at the previous day in college football and other big sports events, all with his unique perspective. Van Pelt will have interviews with some of the sports day’s biggest newsmakers and ESPN NFL analysts Ryan Clark and Louis Riddick will be regular contributors.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to be on when everything is over on Sundays,” said Van Pelt. “We plan on looking at those results, and Saturday’s, through the same lens as do on Monday nights. What mattered? What was important? We will also have some fun ways, we hope, to package some of the day’s memorable performances and plays.”
“Louis and Ryan have such great insight and energy, I look forward to leaning on them to help us frame the day. All of this sounds way more complex than it is. You like football, we like football…let’s talk about football. Simple. It should be a blast.”
SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt was launched on September 7, 2015, and was designed to showcase Van Pelt’s passion for sports with his self-deprecating wit and disposition toward celebrating stars and storylines. With elements brought from his former ESPN Radio show and transferred to television, the personality-driven program represented the newest evolution of SportsCenter with segments produced to resonate with TV viewers and to create content that could be more easily shared digitally and socially.
The format has resonated both on television and digitally, with the program’s ratings higher among 18-34-year-old men than late night talk shows on broadcast or cable and segments consistently performing strongly on ESPN digital and social media platforms.
The new Sunday night show will differ slightly from the weeknight edition, with some new elements as well as some favorites from the weeknight show. The program also will have a nod to the former ESPN NFL highlights show hosted for many years by Chris Berman and Tom Jackson.
“We owe it to fans – and to Mr. Berman, Mr. Jackson and their colleagues – to carry on an incredible legacy of making Sunday nights fun,” said Rob King, ESPN senior vice president, SportsCenter and News Platforms. “And thankfully, we have to the perfect guy in Scott, and the perfect team, to carry out this happy, important task.”
Unrelated to the new show, Van Pelt also will host a special 90-minute edition of SportsCenteron Sunday, Sept. 3, at 11 p.m. to wrap up the first full weekend of the college football season.