DREAM JOB:
Season 2
Catch it: 7pm ET ESPN Tuesdays

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Last season, Mike Hall outlasted 11 others to win the holy grail of sports fans' dream jobs... a one-year stint at the Sportscenter desks.

Now the dream continues for 12 more potential sportscasters.

Recaps by Chris Wolvie, GSNN


FACT FILE:
Host:
Stuart Scott
Judges: Al Jaffee, Stephen A. Smith, Kit Hoover, Woody Paige
EP: Mary-Jane April, Mark Shapiro
Packager: Jumbolaya Productions
Airs: Tuesdays at 7pm ET on ESPN


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Episode 2 - September 21
 

The search for the next ESPN SportsCenter anchor continues on Dream Job! 11 contestants remain to face the wrath of Woody Paige, Kit Hoover, Stephen A. Smith, Al Jaffe and the American viewing audience. Only one will walk away with a one-year contract for ESPN and a Mazda 6 5-door SUV.

In THIS episode, the six that DIDN'T strut their stuff last week get their chance at "My SportsCenter". This time, the contest is "Top 5s". Every morning, the SportsCenter anchors count down the Top Ten Plays of the day. Since these guys are working TOWARDS the job, they only get five plays (each set of five of different themes) to bring creativity and personality. They'll be judged on writing, delivery, sports knowledge and creativity.

First up is Jason Horowitz, who is backed up by his grandfather who was as big a sports fan as Jason is. Jason's theme is "great catches" and he drums it up with talk about Willie Mays and hockey goalie Dominic Hasek. He goes through a World Cup Hockey game, a catch in the Bassmaster championships, a college football game, a double play started by a stop by a pitcher and a one-handed grab in an NFL game. He was more about stats than creative writing, but at least he finished on time. He gets led by Stuart Scott to the "Circle O' Doom" to face his critics. Woody thinks the writing was solid, but the excitement level - which he was told was Jason's strong point - wasn't there. Kit thought the info was great and natural. Stephen A. thought he was nearly perfect... except for repeating "ridiculous" once during the highlights. (Picky, ain't he?) And Big Al puts it simply: "Another week, another Syracuse student (like Arnish was last week), another 'home run'." Can you say "NEW early favorite"?

Our next victim is Whitney Scott, who was a cheerleader in a small town in high school... but who can't do a cartwheel for love or money.  Fortunately, she only has to somersault her way through five plays about "big shots". Her intro is fine but not very enthusiastic. She goes through a 152mph tennis serve by Andy Roddick, an OT goal by Canada in the World Cup Hockey tourney, a table tennis point, a long shot in college basketball and Barry Bonds' 700th career homer (which she calls "the #1 hit in the last 31 years"). She overshoots a little but, again, it's solid. Kit says the writing and transitions was good, but she missed the score of the college basketball game. Stephen A. says the lead wasn't energized and the excitement level was rather low. Big Al agrees it was a solid performance, but things COULD use improving... although she did a good job on the hard names. And Woody had problems with the writing but calls it "an exceptionally good
performance" overall.

And now, Wendy's Wild Card winner David Holmes, whose favorite moment in sports was the come-from-behind Ryder Cup victory for the US in 1999 (too bad they couldn't duplicate it THIS year). He has "top blocks" and intros it with talk about Lincoln Logs and Lego's (creative, no doubt). He goes through a blocked punt by Notre Dame over Michigan (which I'm STILL mourning over), a blocked home plate that shook-up Alex Rodriguez, a game-winning block in the WNBA, a blocked field goal in the NFL that lead to a touchdown and an NBA highlight with "like Dick Cheney, SERIOUS blockage"! I like him... he just might be the first Wild Card to survive. Big Al liked most things but he needs to build to the top play. Woody noted a stumble at the end and would have liked better writing... though the Dick Cheney ref saved him. Kit said the writing was clever and hit each highlight. Stephen A., who David called his least fave analyst (and I don't blame him), said he lacked energy and emphasis but that he was "better than average".

Half-time again and time for "Fact Or Fiction". Every so often, one or two analysts play this game, in which they are given a statement and discuss whether it's fact or fiction. The six contesti will split into pairs and they'll discuss topics tossed by Stuart. They can both choose the same way, but the one that goes second MUST be better than the one who went before him in that case. They'll be judged on persuasiveness, knowledge and clarity.

First comes Jason H. and David. Their first topic is whether Oscar de la Hoya should retire after being trounced by Bernard Hopkins last weekend. Jason says "fiction" because, though Hopkins is a good fighter, the "Golden Boy" still has some good fight in him. David says "fact", though, because he got KOed and his best years were ten-to-twelve years ago. The next topic is if Roy Williams will be the NFL Rookie of the Year. David says "fact" because the other heavy contenders are out with injuries. Jason says "fact" but claims the TEAM will help him get that honor.

The next pairing is the diminutive Winston Bell and Whitney, who get started with the topic of if the Kansas City Chiefs (who lost their first two games) won't make the NFL Playoffs. Winston says "fact", using history (60% of 0-2 teams don't make it) and the fact that KC is playing lousy. Whitney says "fact" because they didn't make changes in defense. When it comes to whether she thinks the U.S. will win the Ryder Cup in 2006, Whitney says "fiction" since the U.S. "team" are all rivals. Winston claims "fact" as they'll learn through their mistakes.

The final pair is Stephanie Rich and Jason Ashworth. Stephanie say it's "fact" that Donovan McNabb is the most valuable quarterback in the NFL and proves it by saying only one other QB from the '99 draft is still starting. Jason A. says "fact" as well, but says it has more to do with him leading his team (the Philly Eagles) to three straight NFC Title games. Jason A. then goes "fiction" when asked if the NBA's Toronto Raptors will trade their star, Vince Carter, claiming he's too valuable to let him go away. But Stephanie says "fact", saying that the Raptors need to keep him happy (She stumbled through the argument.)

Time to rake them across the coals. Woody says Jason A. is the best with persuasion and facts and Stephanie was the worst for struggling. Kit agrees about Stephanie, but thought Whitney's arguments were right on. Stephen A. says Jason A. was cocky... but backed it up... and ditto of Kit and Woody on Stephanie. Big Al says the same yet again about Stephanie... but thought Jason H. was the best for his good arguments.

OK, enough debating, let's get back to "Top 5s". Next victim is Stephanie Rich. She developed her sports passion from watching his brother's high school football games. She does "best dives" and compares them to the soaps. She's SLOW on the intro... and not much better going into a college springboard dive, a record head-first skydive, a diving shot during the NCAA Lacrosse Championship game, a diving goal in an NHL game and, of course, the Derek Jeter dive into the stands after catching a pop fly. She's slow, uninformative... and blows just about everything. And the judges agree. Kit says the writing was weak and slow but got more comfortable as she went along. Stephen A. has NO love for her, having been lost from the start and KNOWING she was reading. Big Al didn't like it at all since it lacked energy. Woody, however, know she was TRYING her hardest... and said she finished strong.

Another Jason joins us: Jason Ashworth. He's a Philly sports junkie from day one when his dad put him in an Eagles jumper. His Top 5 is "top saves", comparing and contrasting the word "save" to Webster's definition. He goes smoothly through a basketball player saving the ball from going out of bounds with a leap, stumbles through "Joe Iginla" getting his shot stopped in hockey, a soccer defenseman kicking out a potential goal (and getting it in the 'little soccers'), a baseball fan catching a foul ball with a full beer in his hand and a Manny Ramirez home-run robber (ending with "a'hank'ye" [ah-thank-you]). He's a bit more energetic than the others (which isn't saying much) and he had good info. Big Al doesn't care for the "Webster's" deal and comments on a wrong score, but he SOLD it. Woody says the same thing, with more emphasis on the facts. Kit says the energy was the best so far and great transition and had fun. Stephen A. says, "Style without substance doesn't count for anything." He rags about the missed facts and stumbles.

One more "dead anchor walking": Winston Bell. Yeah, he's "vertically challenged" but he loves the Cleveland Browns. He has "top hits"... and compares the five hits to the Jackson Five (rather innovative), who had LOTS of hits. He goes through Cleveland Indians' Omar Visquel getting 6 hits against the Yankees in the infamous 22-0 shellacking, a New York Giants' punter getting creamed with a tackle, Eli Manning getting laid out in the same game, a boxer with a nice left hook for a KO (with a "down goes Frazier"-like comment) and a WICKED hockey check that leaves the victim so dazed he can't stand. He's a bit FAST with the highlights (not enough material, I think) and there's an awkward pause before he signs out saying, "If there is love, I'll be there." (Another Jackson Five song, people.) Woody liked the beginning and end... but the writing got weak in the middle. Still, he was impressed with the enthusiasm. Kit loved the "Jackson Five" ref but thought the pacing was slow. Stephen A. liked the lead-in, but the pauses, the lost facts and the lack of smiling hurt him... though the end was nice. Big Al marks the goofs on the teleprompter reads and the bad Cosell imitation.

Well, the competition is over and the polls are closed. Time to see who hits the locker room in shame. Each judge gets one vote, as does America via ESPN.com and Verizon Wireless services. Let's see who's toast.

America cuts... Stephanie.

Woody Paige says Whitney stumbled but knew she could improve, David is overconfident... but one is overmatched. He cuts... Stephanie. One more
and she's history.

Kit liked how the group was, wants Whitney to tighten up and Winston should lighten up. But she cuts... Stephanie, since she had a BAD
night.

That's it and that's all for Steph... but Stephen A. and Al got paid to speak here tonight so... let's hear THEIR cuts.

Stephen A. Smith says Winston should smile and Jason A. should not be so cocky. He also warns the OTHER five contestants who had watched this whole show that they're "on notice" because of this week's group. But he cuts... Stephanie... though he doesn't like doing it.

Al Jaffe liked everyone. He doesn't want Jason H. to slow down and Winston to stop the Cosell imitations. But he cuts... (surprise, surprise)... Stephanie.

It's a clean sweep. Stephanie has been black-balled from the Dream Job. But at least, as a travel coordinator, she can find the best flight home.

10 remain... which TWO will be cut NEXT?

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