Mohr Puts the 'E' Back in ESPN

Bill Goodykoontz,
The Arizona Republic

You, the sports purist, can bemoan the fact that ESPN has given actor and comedian Jay Mohr his own show - his own entertainment show, no less - as you pop the top on another malt beverage and curse the diminishing power of the batteries in the remote.

But you, you with the chips in your mouth, you have never played two-on-two basketball with a pal against Phoenix Suns Penny Hardaway and Shawn Marion.

Mohr has, as we will see in an early installment of Mohr Sports, his new half-hour show premiering tonight before moving to its regular Monday slot next week. Mohr didn't say who won, but the details don't sound pretty.

"You've never really played basketball until a guy dunks with his (groin) on your shoulder," he says.

Told you.

Mohr, as frequent listeners to Jim Rome's radio show can attest, is a sports nut. He hosted Fox's pre-pre-game football show, NFL This Morning, and one of his best-known acting gigs was as a sports agent in Jerry Maguire. And he's not worried that the trend of adding more entertainment to the sports mix on pre-game shows, along with shows such as Fox Sport's Best Damn Sports Show Period (the title is a lie, by the way), means that comics, actors and others who aren't dyed-in-the-locker room sports types are taking over the industry.

"Let's not forget what ESPN was in conception," he says. "It was entertainment sports programming. I think if the biggest concession you make to get back to entertainment is to hire a Jay Mohr or a Chris Connelly for (ESPN's) Unscripted, that's an hour of 24. I really don't think that's too dramatic a slide."

As for what Mohr Sports will be, look for a monologue, sit-down guests and musical guests, all based on a sports foundation.

"We're not reinventing the wheel," Mohr says. "It's The Chris Rock Show, except I'm the host and we're not on HBO - we're on a Disney-owned cable station, so the language will be toned down a bit."

He didn't see A Season on the Brink, apparently.

Mostly, though, the show is more or less Mohr.

"We're going to sink or swim on my shoulders," he says.

Fine. But after the basketball story, let's lay off the shoulder comments, shall we?

Source: The Arizona Republic

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