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After nearly 30 years on the air, ESPN has decided to end its Sunday morning sports talker “The Sports Reporters” in May, as first reported by Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch on Jan. 23. Its final edition will air on Sunday, May 7.
Conceived in 1988, “The Sports Reporters” was, as described by its producer Joseph Valerio, “the first [national] sports TV show based on the less-than-telegenic notion of having sportswriters sit around mulling national stories.”
The show’s two primary hosts were legendary sportswriter Dick Schaap from 1989 until his death in 2001 and longtime ESPN sports personality John Saunders from 2001 until his death in 2016.
Some of the nation’s most famed sports writers were regular panelists on the show including Mitch Albom (Detroit Free Press), Bob Ryan (Boston Globe), Mike Lupica (New York Daily News), and William C. Rhoden (New York Times).
Over the past decade, several noted female sportswriters and commentators also made regular appearances like Jackie MacMullan (formerly of Boston Globe, now of ESPN) and ESPN’s Jemele Hill.
“The Sports Reporters” was the forerunner that spawned today’s current studio sports discussion shows including the popular “Pardon the Interruption” (another original Joseph Valerio production hosted by two former regular “Sports Reporters” panelists from Washington, D.C., Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon), “Around The Horn”, and “First Take.”
Once “The Sports Reporters” concludes its run in May, ESPN will fill its Sunday morning slot with the hourlong sports newsmagazine “E:60.”