Yes, folks, that nationwide talent search is ready to begin once more, and soon the kids will be singing their hearts out—oh, wait, sorry, that’s the other show. This? Is ESPN's Dream Job, a show where thousands of folks from every major-media-market-corner of this good ol’ U. S. of A. try their darnedest to become the next SportsCenter anchor.
And even though that’s the biggest difference between this and American Idol, there are some others – and one, thankfully, is that we don’t have to endure more of Ryan Seacrest’s wannabe-witty banter. No, returning as host is Stuart “Call Him Butter Cause He’s On a Roll” Scott.
Also, the majority of the competition has already been conducted, and clips of this are crammed into the initial sequence; from thousands, the field has already been pared to twelve. We see the twelve names and faces in the opening montage of the show, but only six of those are important tonight – the other six won’t be competing until next week. Tonight’s six DAW’s and potential pieces of cannon fodder are:
Valerie Hawrylko – age: 31 Profession – Management Consultant Hometown – Oakton, Virginia Looks Like She Might Be: Marisa Tomei
Brian Startare – age: 33 Profession – Health Care Manager Hometown – Glassboro, NJ Looks Like He Might Be: The only guy to go to every Jets game last year
Anish Shroff – age: 22 Profession – Radio Host Hometown – Bloomfield, NJ Looks Like He Might Be: the crazy kid on Van Wilder
Grant Thompson – age: 28 Profession – Actor Hometown – L.A. Looks Like He Might Be: Trying waaaay too hard to be Chandler Bing
Joe Voyticky – age: 37 Profession – Attorney Hometown - Brooklyn Looks Like He Might Be: Not needing a baby-sitter for Tuesday nights
KC James – age: 44 Profession – Accountant Hometown – L.A. Looks Like He Might Be: Cedric the Entertainer’s unsuccessful kid brother
Ooh, ooh, and this must be really important - because Stuart Scott specifically mentions it - KC is the Wendy’s Wild Card Pick. Stu must have mentioned this because it dealt with the strategy of the game, and not because it was some shameless product plug.
Speaking of shameless product placements, the winner of this competition will be winning a “Phat” new Mazda. I’m sure if it was any other car company though, that car would suck? Please.
And of course we wouldn’t have much of a show without our panel of executioner-- umm, judges: -Taking over the “Old Crusty Guy” position for Tony Kornhiser is Around the Horn’s Woody Paige. Hope he’ll uphold the sarcastic-factor. -Returning is Kit Hoover from that huge early morning hit, Cold Pizza. -Taking over the “Professional Athlete” Spot from LaVar Arrington is NBA analyst Stephen A. Smith. He does not look amused, especially when someone snickers after Stuart puts extra emphasis on the middle initial. Anyone? Anyone? Joe? -And of course, the actual judge (i.e. “Guys, this is who I want you to cut”) ESPN’s Vice President of Talent, Al Jaffe.
And don’t forget, America, that you also get the power to vote! Yes, your votes to cut will comprise one-fifth of the voting total, which as we all know, is a majority and cannot be overruled by the panelists when Jaffe brings them to a consensus. So pay attention and light up those switchboards, America. I’m even more encouraged when we’re shown a graphic of the voting breakdown, and a picture of each judge is shown, including a picture of the USA. Yup, it looks just like me! I feel so valued.
So of course for this episode, the contestants’ competition is going to be highlights – the bread & butter of any SportsCenter episode. The judges will be evaluating Writing, Delivery, Sports Knowledge, and Creativity. Evidently all six get to use Intel laptops and I’m certain that Intel wants to make sure we know that.
So enough with the jibber-jabber, on to the first contestant. Grant Thompson is up. He thinks there’s a connection between acting and sportscasting. So if you’re a non-famous actor, does that mean you’re going to be a non-famous sportscaster? Ha ha.
Grant does highlights of the Panthers-Packers Monday night game and of a Cubs-Marlins day game. If you didn’t know he was an actor, you’d be able to tell from his monologues – they’re way too long and seem written that way in an attempt to keep his mug on the screen for as long as possible. There’s definitely too many ‘desperate attempt at humor’ jokes. Chandler Bing you’re not. But some of his lines were clever, and he didn’t mangle too many words.
Now to the judges. Woody was bored to sleep but wakes up enough to rake Grant over the coals. “Get excited over your delivery – at this rate you’ll be a delivery boy.” Bah-dum-ch! Kit thought he was great but took too long. “You know what to do, you can do this.” Okay, thanks, Paula. Stephen A. nitpicks just about everything he didn’t like with the performance, which is an extensive list. And Jaffe basically says he’s trying to be too cute, and they don’t need any class clowns. Grant seems poised to be this season’s Nick Stevens – tolerable in small doses, voted out when the judges grow weary of his schtick.