ESPN recruits Rome - Broadcasting & Cable

ESPN recruits Rome

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ESPN has recruited brash sports veteran Jim Rome to host a new weekly talk
show.

Jim Rome, who headlined The Last Word on Fox Sports Net, will host
Rome Is Burning on ESPN. The hour-long show will air at 7 p.m. EST
beginning in May. The show will tackle sports, politics, news and pop culture.

Rome will also contribute to SportsCenter and ESPN's Web site (http://espn.go.com/main.html ).

ESPN unveiled Rome Is Burning Tuesday at the Television Critics Association tour
in Los Angeles.

In other programming news, just in time for the second half of the National
Basketball Association season, ESPN will add a new reality series starring NBA
announcer and former pro star Bill Walton. On Bill Walton's Long,
Strange Trip
, viewers will follow Walton as he covers game, travels and
unwinds. ESPN has ordered seven episodes of the NBA Entertainment-produced
show, which will air Sundays beginning Feb. 2.

"In today's sport, it's tough to break through, it's tough to make a
statement," ESPN programming chief Mark Shapiro said. Of new stars Rome
and Walton, he added, "Their statements cut through. Viewers appreciate
their honesty and candidness."

ESPN also unveiled plans for a new original movie. This time, it's a
football-themed project.

The Ice Bowl -- the story of a December 1967 playoff game between the
Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers played on the frozen tundra of Green Bay's
Lambeau Field -- is slated for a December premiere. The game featured two legendary
coaches -- Dallas' Tom Landry and Green Bay's Vince Lombardi -- but ESPN's
programming chief Mark Shapiro said Ice Bowl won't be a biopic.

"This is not a coach movie -- we've done two coach movies," Shapiro said.
ESPN's first two movies -- Season on the Brink and The Junction
Boys
-- have premiered to strong ratings above a 3.0, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Going forward, Shapiro said he plans for ESPN to churn
out between two and four movies per year.

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