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ESPNews getting multimedia makeover

Pasadena - ESPNews is getting a face-lift in September, moving to a multi-element screen with video, and real-time stats and news.

The network, which gives sports junkies Sportscenter-like reports 24-hours a day, unveiled its new look Friday at the Critics Tour in Pasadena. The new format will be about 90% live on a 30 minute news wheel and during ESPN's SportsCenter at 11 p.m. and 1 a.m., ESPNews will present new in-depth programming that compliment the day's top story.

The screen will feature a running ticker with scores and stats, "The Bottom Line", that remains on the screen constantly, even during commercial breaks.

On a separate front, ESPN is the latest cable net to embark on original programming, unveiling a slate of new documentaries and reality-based series for the fall and winter seasons in Pasadena.

ESPN's senior vice president and general manager Mark Shapiro says fans want sports programming that goes beyond games and sports news, said Mark Shaprio. He added that EPSN's products will be the highest quality. "If we're going
to do original, we understand the financial commitment
in production and off-channel advertising," he said.

ESPN is jumping on the reality trend with Beg, Borrow
and B.S.
, which sends 12 contestants across the
country on sports challenges, and The Wild Onion, an
extreme competition set in Chicago. The sports net
also is producing its first made-for-TV movie, A
Season on the Brink
, based on the book by John Feinstein, which tells the story of
controversial college basketball coach Bobby Knight, The movie, which is written by David Rintels and
produced by Stan Brooks, will air in March 2002.
- Susanne Ault