Ask Michelle Beadle whether she’s ever been told that she brings out a side of Colin Cowherd, her cohost on ESPN2’s “SportsNation’’ the past three years, that isn’t often evident on the cantankerous and often contrarian Cowherd’s radio program, and she laughs.
“Oh yeah, yep,’’ said Beadle, whose easygoing manner and sharp wit proved the perfect antidote to the instigator Cowherd, making for chemistry that television producers dream of but don’t often find. “With Colin, it was one of those things where it was a sister-brother weirdness right off the bat.
“I was one of the last people to audition for that job, and it was instant, and I can tell you that’s not always the case.’’
Soon Beadle will try to find such chemistry elsewhere, with different personalities on a different network. NBC has hired the 36-year-old Beadle and will feature her in a variety of sports and entertainment roles.
She will report from the Summer Olympics in London, contribute to its horse racing and NFL Kickoff coverage, and have some duties for the syndicated, NBC-owned program “Access Hollywood,’’ including red carpet coverage from major entertainment events.
Beadle also will be a linchpin on the upstart NBC Sports Network, though her specific role is uncertain.
“A lot of things are being tossed around right now, but I like that I’m being asked my opinion and have some input,’’ she said when asked whether she might host a “SportsNation’’-type program on the NBC Sports Network.
“My big thing is I like to be in a spot where I can have an opinion every single day, and I’m hoping to keep that going because, you know, it’s not normal yet for women in this business to have an opinion, and I was very grateful that I got to do that.’’
Her last day on “SportsNation’’ will be May 31, and she will start at NBC in mid-June, which puts her in an odd sort of career purgatory at the moment.
“I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m a little sad, actually,’’ said Beadle. “I’m leaving behind a lot of people that I truly enjoyed working with.
“It’s been a really - I don’t want to say easy - but it’s one of those jobs where coming into work is not a bad thing, you can’t be in a bad mood. So in that way it’s bittersweet. But I’m always, always, always excited about new things.
“Right now it’s fun because everyone I work with is giving me a hard time. It’s one of those things where everyone is having fun with it and making snide remarks, even more than usual for this group.’’
Beadle understands why some might question her decision to leave ESPN, which is perceived as the ultimate career destination in sports broadcasting. But with NBC, CBS, and perhaps even Fox launching all-sports channels and bidding competitively for talent (NBC reportedly coveted the versatile Scott Van Pelt, who chose to remain at ESPN), there are perhaps better opportunities outside of ESPN than ever before.
“It’s funny, I’ve gotten a lot of positive reaction, but there’s also, ‘Why would you leave one for the other?’ ’’ she said, deadpanning, “mainly from college kids on Twitter, which is always insightful.
“For me, I understand that ESPN is where a lot of sports broadcasters want to go, but for me personally, it’s not just the NBC Sports brand, it’s everything that NBC entails. There’s room to do so much under one umbrella.
“And for me, someone who didn’t just set out to do one thing or another specifically, I’ve just taken this whole ride as-is. I like certain things, I don’t like others, and I like what NBC has to offer. I can do sports and I can do entertainment, and whatever they offer I’m going to try at least once to figure out what I love and what I don’t.’’
One thing already Beadle knows she doesn’t love is the sometimes overwhelming notoriety that comes from being someone with appealing looks and personality in a prominent role. Her personal life is ground well-covered on popular blogs such as Deadspin and The Big Lead, and so is her professional life, to some degree.
When NBC announced her hiring Monday, James Andrew Miller, the author of “Those Guys Have All The Fun: Inside The World Of ESPN,’’ tweeted “W/ @MichelleDBeadle departure, thus ends the rivalry w/ @ErinAndrews, one of the most intense [intra-company] feuds in the net’s history.’’
“None of that really bothers me too much,’’ Beadle said. “I’m not out there. I don’t go to events to have my picture taken. I don’t really care if my name is mentioned on a blog. It’s not my thing. I’m not going to hire a publicist or anything like that, it’s just not what I’m interested in.
“It is interesting what people will attack you for or comment on - your looks or whatever - because in the end it’s just my job. It’s a really fun career, and I love it, but I’m still going to live my life.’’
Scott heads to ESPN
Randy Scott, who helped stabilize “NESN Daily’’ with his sharp writing and amiable manner during his year and a half with the network, is leaving for ESPN, where he’ll begin in mid-June as an anchor on ESPNNews. It’s a terrific, deserved opportunity for him, and a smart hire by ESPN . . . In an agreement with ESPN, CBS Sports acquired the rights to broadcast men’s college basketball games from the ACC, Big 12, and Pac-12 beginning next season. The deal provides for 26 appearances per year, except for the first year, which calls for 20, from the three conferences. That includes six ACC appearances during the first year, then 12 through the remainder of the agreement . . . Let’s see. ESPN/ABC never replaced NBA analyst Mark Jackson, who left broadcast buddies Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy to coach the Golden State Warriors. And Stan Van Gundy has some free time on his hands after being fired as the Orlando Magic coach this week. How about bringing him aboard in Jackson’s old role for a game or two to see if it works. Don’t know about you, but I suspect dueling Van Gundys would be extremely entertaining.