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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

Stuart Scott
Judges: Al Jaffee, Stephen A. Smith, Kit Hoover, Woody Paige
EP: Mary-Jane April, Mark Shapiro
Packager: Jumbolaya Productions, EOE
Airs: Tuesdays/Early Wednesdays at 12am ET on ESPN

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Episode 5 - October 12/13

We are down to seven in pursuit of a one-year desk job as an ESPN SportsCenter anchor and a Mazda 6 five-door SUV. "Around the Horn"'s Woody Page, "Cold Pizza"'s Kit Hoover, NBA analyst Steven A. Smith and ESPN's Veep of Talent Al Jaffe will decide who is the least impressive, as well as the American viewing audience (mostly the West Coasters who are still up at this time).

As always, the task is "My SportsCenter" and, THIS week, it's called "On the Fly"... and it promises to be fun! This is just like "Improv" from last seasom... only much UGLIER. The anchors are given two highlights to do... but gets only the "shot sheet" (how long each play in highlight is) for the FIRST one in order to make an intro and outro to. The second one will be given to the anchor by host Stuart Scott during the first highlight and be a complete surprise. But there are two OTHER surprises for them. First, during the 'outro', the teleprompter will go dark and the anchor will have to spitball the rest of it. THEN, after the second highlight reel, a breaking news story will come on the teleprompter. The anchors will have NO CLUE about this until they do it. Tonight, they're judged on improvisation, pacing, delivery and creativity.

Our first victim of "On the Fly" is Jason Ashworth. His whole family watched during the first episode... when he did absolutely NOTHING, and said he was GREAT, taking the edge off a little. He starts with Game 5 of the National League Divisional Series (NLDS) between the Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros. He does some nice work, only stumbling once and keeping the pace. As he reads his outro and then his intro to the St. Louis Rams-Seattle Seahawks highlight, the prompter drops. He clears his throat to recover from the shock, but adds in a good stat to cover himself. He does the overtime win by the Rams almost flawlessly. He stumbles into the breaking news about a UAB assistant coach being busted for marijiuana posession.

Woody felt badly for Jason A. for putting him through this, but thought he came back beautifully. Kit first compliments on the new hairdo of his, thought he handled the pressure well but asked him to enunciate better next time. Stephen A. says something he HATES to say, "I kinda like you." He's smooth, he recovered well and the critical Stephen A. was impressed. Finally, Big Al thought it was a good job, he had a lot of energy and hopes he keeps it up.

Next guy to sit behind the faux sports desk is Grant Thompson, who has VERY tough critics at home. He also DOESN'T know about what's going to happen with the teleprompter and the breaking news, since he was sequestered with everyone else until it was time to, as Stuart says, "do the thing". He goes into his highlight of the big college game between Georgia and Tennessee without a hitch... though his outro about "UGA" is a little awkward. He head for the Tennessee Titans-Green Bay Packers game with a dead prompter. He doesn't stumble as much as he hiccups at the monitor going blank, but he compares Chris Brown to Eddie George and goes right into the highlight. Grant trips near the end of the highlight but does a smooth transition into the breaking story about Ken Caminiti's untimely demise.

Kit's only real complaints is that his intros are a bit on the lengthy side and that he "was happy to bring you this breaking news" about someone dying, but he did well with the prompter malfunction. Stephen A. thought the lead-in was bland and his closing was horrible... but the rest was just all right. Big Al agrees with... Kit, about the long intro but the pace was picked up the pace. The only BIG problem he saw was no final score to the NFL games. Woody says, "The school bus isn't going to stop here anymore," insinuating that his writing needs to be tighter.

Next up is the longest-running Wendy's Wild Card in Dream Job's brief history, David Holmes, who tried out for the show before and blew it but got advice from his father to help him improve. Again, he has ZERO idea hwat he's getting into. His first highlight was the OTHER NLDS between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals. It's Game 4 and the former "Bronx Bombers" are facing elimination from the "red birds". He started with a cute phrase for a homer: "It was the best of times, it was the WORST of times, 'cause Albert Puljous just knocked the Dickens out of it." He does well through the highlight, with a "rinse and repeat" comment to Tony La Russa's champange shampoo. When the prompter dies before he talks about the Baltimore Ravens-Washington Redskins game, he looks down at his notes several times to read his notes. He does his best NOT to look like he's reading from a script... but he does, anyway. The HIGHLIGHTS weren't too bad, though, and he doesn't stumble at all with the breaking news about San Francisco 49ers linebacker Julian Peterson having a season-ending injury.

Of course, everyone talks about the "script reading". Stephen A. felt David was flustered and confused but got through it well enough and thought him looking down actually HELPED his fluidity. Plus the REST of the task was all right. Big Al thought he was auditioning for the "Cliche Channel" at first (but thought "rinse and repeat") and that looking down "was to be expected" but at least he finished strong. Woody LIKED the Dickens reference and knows David's a good writer but, again, warns about looking down too long. And Kit finishes the foursome of "script reading" fouls... but he was fluid and stepped up.

No half-time show THIS time. It's right on to Brian Startare, whose wife is the brightest star of his life, despite the fact that their economics is tight because he had to take a leave of absence due to this opportunity. His first highlight is the college game between USC (which he calls "US") and California. He is falling all over the place, even pausing near the end of the highlight as he gets his second shot sheet. His second highlight is the New England Patriots' record-breaking win (19 straight wins, including playoffs) with the Miami Dolphins being the victim. Unlike the others, when the prompter falls apart, so does he. He trips and stumbles into the highlights and it's downhill from there. His only BRIGHT spot is the breaking news about Mark Grace being interviewed by the Arizona Diamondbacks for their managerial spot... and he even foibled with THAT a little.

Call the judges "Brock Lesnar" 'cause here comes the pain! Big Al thought it was shaky, lacked context, was weak when the prompter dropped, mispronounced a name or two... just not very good at all. Woody admits that it's difficult when the prompter goes out to recompose yourself in a hurry but it's something that NEEDS to be done... and Brian DIDN'T. Even the ever-optimistic Kit has nothing but bad news: he fumbled with the "US Trojans" and never recovered from there. Then comes Stephen A., whose motto is, "If I can't say something nice, don't put a camera on me." "You were BAD," he starts off and rambles through the problems... but the WORST, according to him, was that Brian LOOKED defeated during the breaking news and, as the old commercial said, you should NEVER let them see you sweat.

The torture chair is now occupied by Jason Horowitz, who admits that he likes preparing for this competition more than he likes studying for exams (amen, brotha). He was very energetic going into the Wisconsin-Ohio State highlights. There's a lack of phrases, but a diving touchdown catch er "liking to be parallel to the ground" is nice yet subtle. Of course, the prompter dies just before he intros the New York Jets-Buffalo Bills game. He hiccuped but barely looked down to finish up and get to the highlights. He's a little behind the highlights and finishes with a pause, but he's fine through the breazking news of Robin Ventura's retirement.

Woody thought Jason H. was excellent with the prompter drop, but had problems with grammar and originality. Kit says he came up big tonight and worked well with the mishaps. Stephen A. says Jason H. is "beginning to bore him"... but that's not all bad since he's thorough and to the point. Big Al says it was solid and there were no real issues.

Winston Bell is next to face the trial of "On the Fly". He's had people saying he was crazy to abandon his life and try for this job, but he knows he can go back to his former occupation at worst. He calls himself "the Honorable Winston Bell" as he leads into his highlight of LSU's "judgment day" against Florida (get it?). The intro is short, but he's smooth through LSU's comeback (though he stumbles with the final score). Just as he's starting with the New York Giants-Dallas Cowboysintro, the prompter dies on schedule. He chokes a bit as he looks at his sheet a few times to gather himself and shortens the intro considerably, pretty much going right to the highlights. He does THOSE fairly well, not letting himself be rattled too much. Like Jason H., he finishes his LONG thought before going to the news about Dodgers outfielder Milton Bradley apologizing for the "bottle-tossing" incident a few weeks back.

Kit thought Winston started strong but got flustered when the prompted went and never really recovered. Stephen A. loved the "Honorable" part but thought he stunk at improv since he dropped his lead when the prompter dropped. Big Al has more of the same: fine start, lousy finish and he adds about how long it took for him to get to the breaking story. Woody says they can overlook botching up during the curves thrown but there's NO excuse for botching names and scores.

The last encounter with prompter problems for the night goes to Anish Shroff who's been stumbling as a whole as of late thanks to high expectations from his first appearance. He talks clearly and concisely during his intro of the Oklahoma-Texas match-up and was nearly flawless during the highlight. Again, the prompter goes black, but Anish keeps smooth, though at the cost of looking down at his papers several time as he leads into the Oakland Raider-Indianapolis Colts highlight. He trips with the "horseshoes on the helmets" but recovers nicely to close the highlight and go into the news about a U. of Arizona freshman football player being shot.

Stephen A. simply starts, "Welcome back. I've been waiting for weeks." He thinks Anish slipped a few times but, all in all, it was solid... just like he knew Anish could do it. Big Al agrees that Anish is back with the great voice, nice transistion when the promter dropped and good slow-down to the serious story. Woody says, "Fair." "UT" is Tennessee, not Texas; the up-and-down looking wasn't as "seamless" as the others thought and that he CAN do better. Kit disagrees, saying that he was "mo-hu-ney!" Even the screw-up with the "helmets" was turned into a joke and worked!

OK, enough with the unexpected stuff. Time for something EVERYONE has expected from the start: the cut. Each judge gets a vote and the majority of America who logged-on or phoned it in gets the fifth. First to three gets dumped or, if there's a tie for the lead after all votes, the producers make THEIR call.

America cuts... Brian. Like last week, no surprise.

Woody Paige says the two Jasons did excellent. But, though he accomplished much beforehand, one person just couldn't do it tonight. He cuts... Brian. One more and Brian's history.

Kit Hoover thought most of the anchors did well under the pressure, but she gives her patented "this wasn't your night" to... Brian.

Just for craps and giggles, let's let Stephen A. Smith yap. He tells David that he was sensational, that Winston was disappointing but lucky. He cuts... Brian for struggling.

Finally, Al Jaffe has to say. He's proud of everyone, especially Anish. Winston stumbled... but Brian stumbled even more. He cuts... Brian.

It's another clean sweep. Brian is going back to his old job... where he's probably going to NEED some of the health care that he manages. He admits to going blank and, in fact, he DID know he was defeated at the end. But he KNOWS he's talented and will work harder.

6 remain...who will be cut NEXT?

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