Football season is fast approaching, and the Worldwide Leader in Sports is getting its ducks in order to prepare. ESPN announced via a press release Tuesday morning they'd be relaunching their most popular NFL studio show, NFL Live, with a new cast.
Laura Rutledge will host alongside analysts Marcus Spears, Dan Orlovsky, Mina Kimes, and Keyshawn Johnson. Ryan Clark will appear on Friday episodes. Spears will be a daily figure for the show. Naturally, it will also include the network's notable cadre of NFL insiders and reporters like Dan Graziano, Jeff Darlington, Adam Schefter, and more. Per ESPN:
“The kickoff of the 2020 NFL season presents an exciting opportunity to reimagine NFL Live with a new commentator team that brings a wealth of football intelligence and a built in chemistry,” said Seth Markman, ESPN vice president, production. “Laura, Marcus, Dan, Mina and Keyshawn have all excelled in their respective roles across ESPN platforms – and have already worked closely together. The daily conversations they will have about the NFL is something we hope fans will really learn from and enjoy.”
What stands out about the casting choice is the Get Up connection. Orlovsky and Spears, especially, have solidified their roles at ESPN through their daily early-morning discussions on Get Up. The Big Lead's Kyle Koster recently wrote about the show's success over the last few months and the ripple effects it might have on the rest of the network. This is the first sign of just that.
This will also be Kimes' first studio role after spending the last year or so as one of ESPN's more recognizable personalities. She's on an upward trajectory, and continued consistent excellence on NFL Live could launch her into the network's stratosphere. Johnson will be taking on this alongside his new ESPN morning radio show that Andrew Marchand of the NY Post reported was a done deal a few weeks back.
There's a lot of potential with a relatively young cast here. If Orlovsky, Spears, and Kimes especially make this year's iteration of NFL Live a big success, it could only be the beginning of something bigger for that trio at ESPN.