Monday, May 5, 2003

Rome TV show on ESPN is on tap


Burn, baby, burn with Jim Rome

By Rory Glynn
Enquirer contributor

This is a busy week for Jim Rome. In addition to Saturday's tour stop at the Cintas Center, his new TV show, Rome is Burning, will debut on ESPN at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The show marks Rome's third foray into television and his second stint at ESPN. His first, talk2 on ESPN2, included the unforgettable 1994 incident in which quarterback Jim Everett, angry at Rome's constant references to him as "Chris," toppled a table in Rome's direction.

"Certainly, it's funnier now than it was then," Rome says of the incident. "It's one of those classic, unforgettable TV moments. Certainly I regret it that it happened.

"The truth is, none of us is the same as we were 10 years ago. I'm a little wiser, a little smarter, a little more experienced .  .  . This time around, I don't think you have to worry about any tables getting knocked over."

The show will include commentary from Rome, an interview segment and a debate segment with Rome and a panel - a nod to the popularity of the network's Pardon the Interruption

"What I love about Jim is that there isn't a topic in the sports world that he doesn't have an opinion on," says Mark Shapiro, ESPN's executive producer of programming and production.

"It's unique, it's insightful, it's fresh, it's direct, and at times, it's biting. At the same time, I would challenge folks to find a better interviewer."

Shapiro produced Rome's talk2 show, and the two have remained friends and have looked for an opportunity to work together again.

It's Rome's first regular TV gig since he quit his Fox show, The Last Word last year after a five-year run, when the demands of doing both radio and TV five days a week stretched him too thin.

The weekly show will let him strike a balance between his two careers and family life, Rome says.

Plus, the opportunity to return to ESPN was too good to pass up.

"I've had a good run in radio, but I don't think I've hit that home run in TV yet," Rome says.




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