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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, EOE
Airs: Tuesdays/Early Wednesdays at 12am ET on ESPN


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Episode 6 - October 19/20
 

Thanks to the Boston Red Sox's adamant refusal to die by the hands of the evil empire known as the New York Yankees, "Dream Job" was pushed back ANOTHER half-hour, leaving most of the east-coast viewing public snoring behind. But the six remaning finalists STILL have to go through the motions to earn the one-year contract and the Mazda 6 five-door. And Woody Page, Kit Hoover, Steven A. Smith and ESPN's Veep of Talent Al Jaffe still have to decide who is the least impressive.

As always, the task is "My SportsCenter" and, THIS week, it's called "NBA Preview". Each contestant was given a different NBA team to preview in a 45-second vignette which they have voiced-over already. They will lead into the story in preparation of talking to ESPN basketball analyst Greg Anthony via satellite. But, uh,... they're going to find out, via their IFB link to the control room and producer Jack Graham, that the interview will be cancelled and a breaking sports highlight will be done instead. They will NOT have a shot sheet this time, instead getting the plays read to them, one at a time, by Mr. Graham. Tonight, they're judged on writing, knowledge of the NBA and improvisation. Like last week, the achors will be sequestered and will not get to see the others partake in their trials.

We start with Wendy's Wild Card Winner (and I am getting SO tired of saying that) David Holmes who has been asked to preview the Denver Nuggets. Host Stuart Scott continues the charade by telling him that Greg Anthony WILL be waiting for him after his vignette. He talks about him being a waiter for the home audience and serving up nothing but "Nuggets" to them. The vignette talks about Kenyon Martin (who was traded to Denver from the New Jersey Nets) and his role in the team. As the piece plays, Mr. Graham gives David the bad news about the interview. But the GOOD news is that he gets to do Game 5 of the ALCS between the Yankees and their rivals, the Red Sox (which had been completed mere minutes before). The lead-in is short and sweet and the highlights focus on the fact that Bah-stin is not out of the Playoffs yet. He barely stumbles and keeps the energy high as best he can.

Afterwards, the grilling begins. Woody comments that David didn't let the fans know that Greg Anthony wasn't available, that the vignette was cliched and that he was more-or-less repeating what was told in his IFB. Kit thought the writing was clever but the voice-over was a little bland... but, at least, he kept his cool during the highlight. Stephen A. also is upset about not informing about Anthony's departure, but is MORE upset about his vignette because it didn't give the RIGHT information that he was looking for. And Big Al talked about the cliched vignette but the highlight was all right. He screwed up ONCE, though, saying Red Sox's Johnny Damon - who scored the winning run - "wasn't on base too much this season"; he WAS... just not in this SERIES.

Next out of the isolation booth is Anish Shroff. Let's see if he can stay on focus like he was last week as he previews the Shaq-less Los Angeles Lakers. Again, Stuart tells Anish that Greg Anthony will be waiting for him. Anish talks about the Lakers going "from hollywood movie to 'E! True Hollywood Story'" in one season and how the "ensemble cast" will pick up the slack without Shaq. That's when Anish hears about the satellite being "down" and that he'll have to do the Minnesota Vikings-New Orleans Saints Sunday night MFL game on ESPN. Unlike David, Anish says that Anthony will join them later and goes right into the highlights. He stumbles a bit with getting the highlights read to him and is a LITTLE late getting his eyes front after it's done... but he handled himself fairly well and adds in some stats at the end for good measure.

Kit says he "hit it out of the park". His writing was great, the voiceover was all right (could've been better), he MENTIONED Anthony not beoing able to join them, he was seemless through the highlight... and the extra info didn't hurt either. Stephen A. is impressed he kept it up a second week in a row (for once). He also like the information in the vignette and the 5 TDs thrown by Dante Culpepper in the highlight. Big Al says, "Anish, you had me from 'Welcome to SportsCenter'." It was solid all the way through, from the vignette to the info at the end. Woody's ONLY problem was that he didn't think Kobi Bryant will be a contender for the MVP. Other than that, he has no complaints.

C'mon down, Jason Ashworth, ready to preview the Cleveland LeBrons...er, Cavaliers. His vignette starts out WITH LeBron James' sophomore year but also talks about the changes being made to the line-up. Mr. Graham then gets up in his ear to tell him that the Anthony interview is to be replaced with Game 5 of the NLCS between the Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals. As the piece ends, he talks about the technical difficulites and seems to look down a lot even though Mr. Graham told him he had to give ten seconds of lead-in. The highlight was smooth and he even managed to toss in a catch phrase or two, though he stumbles near the end.

Stephen A. thought he did a really good job... but, again, there was info on the Cavs that he was waiting to hear and didn't. Big Al doesn't like the fact that Jason A. screams during the highlight; "too over the top for me," he calls it. He also didn't hear anything new. Woody agrees about that and was bored during the vignette... but, unlike Al, he LIKED the enthusiasm during the highlights. And Kit says the info was bland but he nailed the highlights and, though he got out of his tuck a LITTLE early, he "stuck the landing".

Half-time at the Dream Job and we're going into another little task called "Free For All". Groups of three will argue about the sports topics of the day. And, unlike the Bush/Kerry debates, there is NO moderator to stop them from interrupting and cutting in... just Stuart to tell them that time is up. They will be judged on knowledge, persuasiveness and confidence.

Winston Bell joins Anish and Jason A. in the first group. The first topic: "The Cardinals will sweep at home and win the NLCS." Anish starts with talking how good the Cards' pitching is but that they won't sweep, Jason A. agrees since Houston has a decent pitching staff as well and Winston actually says the ASTROS will win with their bats. Next topic: Jerry Rice will have a major impact on the Seattle Seahawks." (Rice was traded to Seattle from Oakland a day or two before.) Again, Anish starts with a "no way" since he only has 5 catches for the year so far, but Jason A. says he's a role model and Winston says it'll take them too long to get Rice into the fold. When asked if Oklahoma deserves to be in front of Miami in the latest (revamped) Bowl Championship Series poll, Jason A. jumps in first this time, explaining that OU shut out Texas, their long-standing rival. Winston says it doesn't MATTER this early in the BCS season while Anish complains that no undefeated teams were in the BCS Title Game last year. The last topic is if Dante Culpepper would beat Dan Marino's single-season TD record this year. Jason A. says that, as long as receiver Randy Moss is healthy, he'll make it. Anish says he'll make it because of the defense and Winston starts to talk about Moss again, but Stuart calls time.

Then Jason Horowitz, Grant Thompson and David come up for THEIR turn at the debate. Their first topic is if the New England Patriots' 20-game winning streak is overrated. Grant says it isn't because of all the new starters they have on the team, Jason H. says it isn't because most of them were tough teams... but David says it IS because there was a six-month period between two of the victories called the "off-season". When aksed if North Carolina has the best team in college basketball, David stutters through his argument that they are, Grant claims that Oklahoma State is the top... and Jason H. goes with with his "home team" Syracuse. Will the Miami Heat with Shaq beat the Lakers without him when they play each other on Christmas Day this year? It takes a second for Grant to speak up about how dominant Shaq is and will be against the Lakers, Jason H. says it'll be because the Lakers are still falling apart and David caps it by saying, "Who's gonna GUARD Shaq?!" Their final question is whether the NFL should let the retired (and bankrupt) Ricky Williams play in this season. David says no since Ricky abused the Dolphins and the league just as much as he abused drugs. And Jason H. asks WHY they should let a convicted drug user play at ALL. Grant agrees, saying NO job allows you to quit for a few weeks and then come back you back into it. (C'mon, we ALL know Ricky wants back because the Dolphins took his retirement cash away.)

Now all six face the judges to see who was best and worst. Big Al thought everyone did very well, but Anish, Jason H. and Grant did the best...and Winston, who couldn't get his facts through quick enough, was worst. Woody says Grant was best and Winston was worst for not being aggressive enough... and he thought everyone missed some info but were all right. Kit doesn't think ANYONE was "worst" and that Grant's "zingers" was best. And Stephen A. berates Jason H. for picking a "home team" (sportscasters are supposed to be impartial for the most part), says Grant had the best arguments and Winston, again, was worst. Stuart says Winston was fine with the debates... but he HAS to jump in there (kind of hard to do when you're about five-foot-tall, Stu.)

OK, back to "My SportsCenter" and Winston Bell previewing the Shaq-full Miami Heat and preparing for his interview with Greg Anthony (which will NOT be happening, though he doesn't know it yet). He starts by calling himself "Win Diddy" and stumbles into his vignette about the changes in the Heat. That's when Jack Graham tells him that Greg Anthony is out and the Seahawks-Patriots game from last Sunday is in. When the camera returns to him,... Winston FREEZES and dead air hits for a few seconds before he REALIZES he's back on. As such, he overshoots going into the highlight and this throws the little guy for a loop. He struggles through the highlight, but smiles all the way through the outro.

Oh, you just KNOW that Winston Bell is gonna be "rung up" by the judges! Woody says he handled being lied to well enough, but the stubbling is unforgivable at this level. Kit had a problem with "Win Diddy"'s posture, disliked the pause but thought he pulled himself together for the highlights. Stephen A. likes the info and the highlights, thinks Winston goofed on the vignette and wasn't seamless with the "curveball" they tossed him. And Big Al knows he struggled. He was hyped leading into the piece but the piece ITSELF was low-key, didn't like the pause and the goof...and REALLY didn't like "Win Diddy", saying, "Be Winston Bell." I don't think Winston WANTS to be Winston right now.

Our next victim is Grant Thompson who has the OTHER Florida team, the Orlando Magic (the team that FIRST had Shaq; this has been a Shaq night, hasn't it?), to preview. He starts by mentioning that kids in the city are SICK of buying new posters of the "star player" since it keeps changing. While the vignette shows how Orlando will turnaround from their league-worst 21-win season last year, Mr. Graham replaces the interview he was supposed to have with highlights of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers-St. Louis Rams game from Monday Night Football. He does NOT mention the problems with the "interview" and leads right into the football highlights which, like David, he does rather well, even tossing in a Star Wars reference for a TD run ("Punch it, Chewy!"). He stumbles through the outro...and I think I know what the judges are going to complain about.

Yep, Woody mentions that he DIDN'T mention the interview being bombed. But he LIKED the opening, the vignette and the highlights... but there WERE lapses. Kit loves the writing and the feature was entertaining, the transistion to the football game was confusing and long but the highlights were exceptional. Stephen A. told about the weak ending, but the info on the Heat was excellent! Big Al says he was "up and down". He had good info and highlights, but a goof in the vignette and - you guessed it - he SHOULD have mentioned the interview problem.

We're down to the last chukker of this polo match called "NBA Preview" and it's Jason Horowitz who is getting the long-handled mallet to the head this time. His team is the houston Rockets and he does not know things are going to go wrong like it did five times already. He talks about how the Rockets, though finally reaching the Playoffs after five years, overhauls Yao Ming's team completely. As the vignette plays how the changes will effect the time... Mr. Horowitz, Mr. Graham on line IFB with bad news. Seems the satellite feed STILL isn't fixed and HE'LL have to stall with Pittsburgh Steelers-Dallas Cowboys highlights. HE doesn't mention the problems EITHER as he ad libs 10 seconds of stuff before going to the highlights. He stumbles JUST a little and is a bit chiched ("The Bus [Jerome Bettis] rumbles in for the touchdown") but stays composed.

And, as predicted, they rag Jason H. about not mentioning that Greg Anthony couldn't be reached. Kit does that after saying the info was clean but the feature was boring. At least he finished strong. Stephen A., however, was NOT impressed with him. Bad intro, bad vignette, bad non-mention of Anthony and... "Mekembe Mutumbo? THAT'S something we don't care about!" Big Al parrots Stephen A., though he applauds that he kept his cool about the blown interview. Woody says the lead was weak for Jason H., thought the feature was nice... but the highlights were cliched. It was good... but not good by his standards for Jason H.

All right, let's get to the cut. As usual, each judge has a vote while those still awake enough to vote on their Verizon(TM) phones on online get one vote for the majority. Three votes and you're outta here.

America cuts... Winston.

Woody Paige says Grant's performance was strong, Jason H.'s was mediocre... but one was even worse. He cuts... Winston, though he tells him not to let his dream die yet. One more and he comes up short...er, yeah.

Kit Hoover says Anish is finally back up to speed, but the debate and the competition was too much for one. WITHOUT her usual "wasn't your night", she cuts... Winston.

Well, again the last two votes are unimportant... but let's hear them anyway. Stephen A. Smith says they were all good and hates to cut one of them. But he gets over it. He blasts David's writing, Jason H.'s downgrading and Winston's bumbling. He cuts... Winston.

Lastly, Al Jaffe says most did very well with the change. Jason A. was over the top but HAS improved. David needs his writing needs to improve. But Winston was inferior tonight. And thus, he cuts... Winston Bell.

Thankfully, Winston doesn't go into a "Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Jaffe?" as he accepts the sweep of votes. This banker is FAR overdrawn in this competition and needs to be "a loan". But he takes it in stride, saying he's looking forward to the future. Jason H. has no answer to why he bombed tonight...but he says he'll figure it out.

5 remain...who will be cut NEXT?

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