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AMPTP Leaves ESPYS Without A Host As Possible SAG Strike Looms

By Andrew Sanford | TV | July 11, 2023 |

By Andrew Sanford | TV | July 11, 2023 |


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The WGA strike is still ongoing. Despite what some Producers want you to think, the fallout has been immediate. It has forced productions to shut down, put others on hold, and forced us to become much too familiar with the defacto face of the AMPTP David Zaslav. The man embodies everything wrong with the people who put money over everything else. Now, we’ll see another awards show affected by the strike as the ESPYs will go without a host on the same night SAG could join writers on the picket line.

The ESPYs are pretty fun. There’s an equal mix of athletes with exuberant, fun personalities and those who look more terrified by a microphone than staring down a game-deciding play. Professional athletes are a lot like professional actors. Some are electric, no matter the circumstance. They are charming and enchanting and can work a room or crowd with ease. Others are much more soft-spoken and don’t respond as well to attention outside of work.

With the ESPYs, the more bombastic athletes get their time to shine. Not everyone can get invited to host SNL, so this is their chance to show their chops (and maybe snag an endorsement deal or two). Still, with no host or writers at this year’s ESPYs, even the most affable athletes may have a hard time scoring. Reading cue cards is one thing, but riffing is a whole other kettle of fish.

One person who may not have an issue is former football player, occasional pro-wrestling announcer (how I know him), and guy who gets Aaron Rodgers to say dumb stuff on-air, Pat McAfee. McAfee revealed on his podcast that he would be given a mic at some point during the ESPYs. He’ll get a chance to talk at the ESPYs, and I think he’s a pretty safe/dependable choice. Again, I am primarily familiar with him through his work at the WWE, where he can be fed lines because they are notoriously anti-union, but as long as he doesn’t bring up Dave Portnoy, I’ll be happy.

The extra wrinkle to this no-host ESPYs is that it falls on the night SAG may go on strike. It’s a strange convergence of events that should have little to do with each other. The only way they could get more connected is if Fran Drescher decided to make an appearance at the awards instead of doing her duties as President of SAG. But surely she wouldn’t be off getting dressed up and hob-knobbing with celebs when something so serious looms on the horizon. Right?