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Mike Hall wins ESPN's 'Dream Job'


By Wade Paulsen, 03/29/2004 

In the final episode of ESPN's Dream Job, Mike Hall, a 22-year-old journalism student at the University of Missouri, won a one-year contract as an anchor on ESPN's Sports Center. When the result of the final nationwide vote was announced, Mike defeated Adam Levine, a 21-year-old senior at Stanford, by approximately 60% to 40%.

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Earlier in the finale, the two other members of the final four -- Maggie Haskins, 21, a senior at Brown (and, like Mike Hall, a Chicago native), and Zach Selwyn, 28, the only finalist to have already graduated from college (USC) -- were dismissed by the show's judges following a re-enactment of a classic sports broadcast and a "special debate" with Tony Kornheiser in the style of ESPN's Pardon The Interruption.

After Mike's selection, he was allowed to "play for his salary" in a sports-trivia contest, starting at $70,000. Mike answered five questions correctly (including creampuffs such as the name of the reigning NBA champion) to add $25,000 to his take before he decided to rest rather than guess at the number of Grand Slam titles won by Andre Agassi (eight -- 4 Australian Opens ('95, '00, '01, '03), 2 U.S. Opens ('94, '99), 1 Wimbledon ('92), and 1 French Open ('99) -- and we weren't even in the competition!).

Mike, who worked for his college's NBC affiliate, and Adam, who interned with Fox Sports, both had some prior TV experience. Their biggest edge, though, was being very young on a network trying to maintain its cachet with youth so that it can continue to raise its sky-high subscriber rates to cable systems (currently $2.61 per subscriber per month just for basic ESPN).

We should note that the Dallas Morning News reports that "SportsCenter" founding co-anchor Dan Patrick, who is still one of ESPN's biggest stars, has been ridiculing the idea of Dream Job on his radio show. Patrick said that it was as ludicrous for the winner to become a SportsCenter anchor as it would be for the winner of an NFL "Punt, Pass and Kick" competition to be offered a starting berth in the NFL. Thus, Mike Hall might not find himself in a dream situation with his co-workers, even if he does have a "dream job."

Then again, considering the continuing turmoil at ESPN's parent, The Walt Disney Company, Mike might get a close-up view of the battle over corporate accountability ... which could be even more valuable to a 22-year-old than a dream job!

(Photo credit ESPN)










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