The first week of the second iteration of Get Up has concluded, and the most glaring difference has without question been that it looks and feels like SportsCenter.
So far, Get Up 2.0 has not featured nearly the amount of conversation between the hosts that the show once did. It instead includes much more highlights, interviews, statistics, with the opinions coming from the guests. That combination is essentially the format SportsCenter looks like now. Several times this week, they have even incorporated the classic “SportsCenter Top 10 Plays” segment.
There is now a clear discrepancy between Mike Greenberg and the other hosts. This week it was Laura Rutledge for four days, and Jen Lada for one who joined Greenberg and Jalen Rose. There are several segments that are built just for Greenberg interviewing a talent whether it be Adam Schefter, Dan Orlovsky, or Louis Riddick..
These changes were the right moves to make and should have been the way the show looked when it first launched. Last week, I questioned why the original show was not built like the updated version. Now, Greenberg is in a role right between a traditional and hybrid host. A role where he is the one bringing the information/opinions out of someone else. For anyone who has ever listened to or watched Mike & Mike, they would know that is what he is best at, and that he is one of the best at it in the business. This was the show I envisioned when rumors emerged about a morning show being created for Greenberg. Hence, the idea often being described as “Greeny & Friends.”
Instead, initially, he was in a role that required back and forth with former host Michelle Beadle which was a bad fit for both parties.
I also made the point that a morning show should feature the first words of ESPN’s top talents, in particular, Stephen A. Smith who is the face of the company (and will be for a while). That has been the case so far with Smith appearing on the show every day this week. Smith was a regular on Mike & Mike with Greenberg and on the morning SportsCenters.
If things stay as they currently are – no guarantee they will – the morning show will have an identity: A show that gives sports fans exactly what SportsCenter did: news, highlights, and experts’ opinions. It was and remains difficult to give a synopsis of the show Greeny, Beadle, and Jalen were doing.
The second takeaway is more of a question: What does all this mean going forward? If the show is going to be what SportsCenter is but not called SportsCenter, is it worth it?
ESPN announced that the 6 p.m. SportsCenter has been up year-over-year six consecutive months with a more traditional SportsCenter in place. Get Up resembles that format yet it is not called “SportsCenter.” Given how people have not responded kindly to when SportsCenter has been moved, (mornings, noon, 6 p.m) it is a safe bet most fans of the franchise (ratings average Mon-Wed – 313k; SportsCenter same time last year – 375k) have not turned on Get Up to notice the changes. An assertion can be made that if this exact same show was in place, hosted by the exact same people, but called “SportsCenter” with SportsCenter graphics, the ratings would instantly go up.
If there is no name change, it will be interesting to see what the show looks like once the football season is over. Get Up right now is set up for the football season with a rotation of 11 football talents rotating and five hosts with football backgrounds. Will they replace that with several basketball talents and hosts with basketball backgrounds when sports talk becomes NBA heavy? Doris Burke could be a great fixture in this spot.
Another option would be to eventually assign a rotation of personalities along with those who cover a specific sport. They could elect to feature many of their more opinionated/humorous personalities on the roster in a rotation like a role Stephen A. Smith is being used in. Names that come to mind – even if it is just for a segment via remote – are Dan Le Batard, Will Cain, Stugotz, and Sarah Spain.
Get Up is not the Get Up that launched in April. It is now a show hosted largely by Mike Greenberg that looks and feels much like SportsCenter with a touch of Greeny & Friends.