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ESPN's Anderson anchors 'Wipeout'
New obstacle course show to debut Tuesday

by Mel Bracht Published: June 20, 2008
Don't call "Wipeout,” an ABC summer program hosted by ESPN "SportsCenter” anchor John Anderson that debuts at 7 p.m. Tuesday, a game show.

"It's a reality competition,” Anderson said in a telephone interview Thursday. "Very big difference.”

Anderson, 43, who also worked for Tulsa stations KTUL-8 and KOTV-6, has joined the ranks of sportscasters hosting entertainment shows. The list includes ESPN personality Mike Greenberg, who hosts "Duel,” and late ABC sportscaster Howard Cosell, who hosted "The Battle of the Network Stars.”

Of course, former KWTV-9 sportscaster Chris Harrison is longtime host of "The Batchelor” and "The Batchelorette” on ABC.

In "Wipeout,” which will air for eight weeks, 24 contestants go head to head in four rounds of physically demanding obstacle courses. The winner of each episode earns the title of "Wipeout Champion” and $50,000.

"People have humiliated themselves on television for a lot less,” said Anderson, noting that executive producer Matt Kunitz also produced "Fear Factor” for NBC.

"The obstacles are designed to not be easily scaled or conquered and thus people fall over and comedy ensues,” Anderson said. "My 6-year-old son is out back trying to build some of these things.”

Kunitz is a big sports fan, which helps explain why he also considered ESPN's Kenny Mayne and Matt Weinert for the hosting role.

Anderson is joined by "Talk Soup” host John Henson, who provides humorous commentary on the competition, and Jill Wagner, who interviews the contestants.

The new show is helping Anderson build up his frequent-flyer miles.

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by Mel Bracht
Copy Editor, Sports Media
Mel Bracht is a copy editor on the presentation desk and also covers sports media. A 1978 graduate of Indiana University, Bracht has been a print journalist for 34 years. He started his career as sports editor of the Rensselaer (Ind.) Republican...
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