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Series / SportsNation

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SportsNation is a part of ESPN's afternoon block of "journalists yell about sports" shows (along with Numbers Never* Lie, Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable, Pardon the Interruption, Around the Horn, and formerly Jim Rome is Burning), hosted by by Marcellus Wiley (formerly Colin Cowherd), Max Kellerman (formerly Michelle Beadle, who left ESPN and joined NBC Sports in May 2012, then Charissa Thompson, who replaced Beadle, then left in June 2013 for Fox Sports 1), and Michelle Beadle (who returned to ESPN in January 2014). Unlike the rest of said shows, this one utilizes gratuitous amounts of Web 2.0 wizardry to gauge the response of viewers voting on the SportsNation section of ESPN's website, in a format that often involves guessing the predictions of the users in various formats, inspecting the top 3 best/worst/embarrassing moments of the day, and looking at sports-related viral videos.


The show usually follows this pattern:

  • The first segment, The A Block, is just discussion over poll results. Nothing too fancy.
  • Three Cheers.
  • A desk game with a guest playing against Colin.
  • Three Jeers.
  • Power Rankings.
  • Game Time, the segment where the show temporarily turns into a Game Show (coincidentally, a few of them seem a lot like games from The Price Is Right:
    • The B.S. Meter: How B.S. is this statement?
    • Number Crunch: Guess the percentage of voters who picked a particular choice. (in a "starts with X or ends with X"-type array)
    • Walk the Plank, where the player has to (again) guess the percentage of voters who picked a particular choice. For every percentage point they're off, their cartoon avatar gets one step closer to walking off the plank. Many bad pirate-themed puns ensue.
    • Multi-Poll Choice, in which Michelle has to (once again) guess the percentage of voters who picked a particular choice, out of four answers. Colin dresses as Ron Burgundy while hosting the segment and makes many bad Burgundy-esque jokes.
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  • Three Cheers (three clips unrelated to the first Three Cheers, effectively making it Six Cheers).
  • Have Some!, a segment showing certain athletes being told to "have some" by having otherwise successful plays be foiled.
  • Another desk or screen game.
  • Weird Web Stories.
  • Pulse of the Nation, a segment like the A block but with another guest joining Colin and Michelle at the desk.
  • Three Tears
  • Winners and Losers
  • Goodbye

This series provides examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody:
    • "SportsNation's Mad Money", BOOYAH!
    • Colin's Ron Burgundy imitation.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Fans joke about this for Colin and Michelle.
  • Amusing Injuries: "Have Some!" is based on things like particularly fearsome NFL hits. Three Tears/Jeers might have them too or in the latter people just tripping over themselves in silly ways.
  • Audience Participation: The show is built around the polls in which the audience votes on ESPN's SportsNation website, for which the show was named.
  • Aside Glance: When Charissa Thompson guest-hosts, she glances at the audience/camera every time Colin or someone else says some variation of the phrase "numbers don't lie."
  • Catchphrase: Cowherd opens every episode with "HELLOOOOOO nation! I'm Colin Cowherd, that's Michelle Beadle! This is SportsNation, the show that [insert topical reference here]."
  • Crossover: Apart from various other ESPN shows' hosts occasionally appearing or guest-hosting, one of the show's Halloween episodes had the set dressed to look like the Pardon the Interruption set. Tony Kornheiser even made an appearance, telling Colin and Michelle to "stop stealing [PTI's] stuff!"
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Michelle calls the randomized board sometimes used at the :40 segment (the "Another desk or screen game" segment mentioned in the show's pattern above) "The Awesome Board of Awesomeness." (Occasionally, when Michelle hits the randomizing button, especially when there is a person's picture on the board she doesn't want to choose, she'll say "No whammies!")
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Colin invokes this with his never-ending man-crush on Tom Brady. In fact, early on in the show's run, whenever Brady was mentioned, a clip of Colin saying "I love Tom Brady" would pop up.
  • Guest Host: It's probably easier to make a list of the ESPN personalities that haven't guest-hosted or appeared on the Nation. Much like Pardon the Interruption there have even been shows where both Colin and Michelle have been absent.
    • As of January 2011, Michelle's sub will usually be Charissa Thompson. Colin's replacement list remains fluid, with Skip Bayless or Charissa's co-host Michael Smith usually filling the void.
    • As of the show's move to Los Angeles in 2013, Charissa is now the permanent female host, with Marcellus Wiley replacing Colin as permanent male host (Colin stayed in Bristol).
    • As of June 2013, Max Kellerman becomes the permanent foil to Wiley after Charissa's move to Fox.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Pretty much the entire point of "Walk the Plank".
  • Inter Service Rivalry: The show has visited both West Point (Army, for those of you unaware) and the Air Force Academy and jokes were had at the other academies' expense.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: The advert for the show on ESPN America has a clip of Michelle doing a sexy dance around Colin who claims "I am unaffected by this".
  • Rule of Three: Three segments - Three Cheers, Three Tears and Three Jeers - of three clips each.
  • Running Gag: Far too many.
    • The aforementioned Brady man-crush.
    • Michelle's use of "The Akron Hammer," followed by a hammer sound effect, as a nickname for LeBron James, before retiring it after LeBron's move to the Miami Heat.
    • The hosts' use of extremely lame pirate-themed puns when playing Walk the Plank, complete with rimshots.
  • Sexy Santa Dress: Michelle wore one of these for the show's first Halloween episode, which was Christmas-themed, and boy did she wear it well.
  • Something Completely Different: The show has had several special episodes, including sports video tournaments and live shows from locations around the country.
    • One week in 2010, the episodes were filmed live at several of the campuses of the Big Ten Conference.
    • The 2011 Halloween episode was filmed on the Live With Regis And Kelly set.
    • The 2012 Halloween episode took Colin's Ron Burgundy impression to its logical conclusion and made the entire set up to look like the newsroom from Anchorman. Charissa even dressed up as Veronica Corningstone and they presented a list of the 31 best sports trick plays in the style of an old newscast.
  • Spin-Off: ABC's Winners Bracket (formerly carried during ESPN Sports Saturday, which mostly serves as a space-filler outside of the college football season). Same set, same Beadle, but a weekly show with a bracket tournament of that week's highlights (and a countdown of the exact opposite).
    • A special episode of Winners Bracket featured a 50th anniversary tribute to Wide World of Sports (which, ironically, Sports Saturday was a cheap successor to in a way)
  • Take That!: In response to the NFL's recent crackdown on violent hits, December 1, 2010's episode featured the game Were They Suspended?
  • Walking Tech Bane: A minor example - Skip Bayless can never get the BS Meter to work right when he guest hosts the show.


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