ESPN will officially make its foray into the late-night television circuit on August 27. The network’s first late-night entertainment show, UNITE, will air daily on ESPNU at midnight ET providing a live late-night snack of sports, humor and social buzz Monday through Friday.
“An authentic late-night entertainment show for a new generation of sports fans is an idea we have been pursuing for several years” said Rosalyn Durant ESPNU vice president. “We want to connect with some of the most passionate college fans – college students – at the intersection of sports and pop culture.”
ESPN’s Yaron Deskalo, an Emmy Award-winning E:60 producer, is the show’s coordinating producer, planning and shaping the content and structure of UNITE.
“The way people consume entertainment has shifted dramatically, and continues to evolve by the day. There is a unique opportunity to provide sports news and humor through new avenues,” said Deskalo. “Some things on UNITE you will recognize as late-night entertainment staples – a couch, guests and, of course, an in-studio musical act – will all be part of the show, but not necessarily in the way you’ve seen it done before.”
Live from the ESPN studios in Bristol, Conn., the show’s three hosts will push the envelope Monday – Friday with an often irreverent look at social media and video-driven sports of the day. Expect nightly guests, but not always on the couch. The show will use the latest technologies to connect with the world outside the studio walls, incorporating many guests and sports fans via Skype with a 103” monitor as a set centerpiece.
The heartbeat of the show will come from the nation at large. UNITE has already tapped more than 35 journalism schools, expanding upon ESPNU’s existing Campus Connection program, as the show’s “School Board” to provide insights from around the quad on breaking news and trending topics. The voices of the student body, athletes and fans will be thread throughout with live tweeting, on-campus photos and videos nightly.
Sports and pop culture news will be discussed through the lens of social media, utilizing a specially designed aggregation tool to monitor social trends on the rise, track down tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos and photos.
“During the day, ESPN gives viewers a comprehensive overview of the world of sports: Highlight reels, pundits, analysis, and breaking news,” said Deskalo. “At this hour, we are looking to loosen our ties, just like our audience. It’s still ESPN, but things will be different after dark.”
To learn more about the launch of UNITE, listen to ESPN Front Row’s Podcast with Deskalo: http://frontrow.espn.go.com/?p=34495
The 24-hour college sports television network airs more than 650 live events annually and offers over 600 original studio shows. ESPNU has seen a steady increase since its inception on March 4, 2005 and is now in over 73 million households. The brand is also available in high definition on ESPNUHD, now in over 20 million homes. The network has long-term carriage agreements with all 10 of the top multichannel TV providers – Cablevision, Charter, Comcast, Cox, DirecTV (Channel 208), DISH Network (Channel 141), Mediacom, Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS TV and AT&T U-verse.
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