ESPN2 serves ‘Pizza’ at breakfast

Ayem skein aims for slice of male aud

NEW YORK — ESPN2 has given the go sign to the most ambitious regular series in its 10-year history, “Cold Pizza,” a two-hour weekday morning show live from New York.

ESPN veep of programming and production Jay Cohen said the broadcast-network morning shows like “The Today Show” and “Good Morning America” appeal “more to females than to males. ESPN2’s viewers are predominantly men 18-34, and we want to give them something to watch in the morning.”

Co-hosts of the show are Jay Crawford, who has resigned as sports anchor of WFTS Tampa, and Kit Hoover, who leaves her post as an entertainment reporter for Fox News.

Still to be named are a news anchor and a reporter. ESPN2 has had “Cold Pizza” in development since early this year.

Beyond sports

“Sports will be the bedrock of the show,” Cohen said, “but there’ll be plenty of nonsports coverage as well.” The hosts, guests and regular contributors of “Cold Pizza” have a broad mandate to delve into areas like “pop culture, lifestyle features and consumer advice,” according to ESPN2, even if the topics have no direct link to sports.

“Cold Pizza” premieres at 7 a.m. on Oct. 1 — the date, not so coincidentally, of ESPN2’s 10th anniversary.

The network has built a studio on 34th Street and 8th Avenue, a block away from Madison Square Garden. Members of the public will be able to watch the show in real time from an observation area inside the building.

News and features

Cohen plans to produce three or four news updates within the two-hour cablecast, covering both sports and general news. One regular feature will focus on movies, TV shows and music that intersect with sports.

“Cold Pizza” will encourage sports personalities appearing on the show to discuss topics well beyond the narrow range of sports. The “Cold Pizza” set will include a media center, where contributors will demonstrate and critique videogames and high-tech gadgets.

The original-entertainment division of ESPN, which commissions scripted TV movies and series for the network, will produce “Cold Pizza.” ESPN2 reaches 84 million cable and satellite homes.