Kenny Mayne, an iconic face and voice of ESPN for two decades, has reached a new, multi-year agreement to remain with the company in the role he’s most closely associated with: SportsCenter anchor.
“I did what?” Mayne asked.
Mayne, who returned to the SportsCenter anchor desk in 2013 after a five-year absence and is well known for his offbeat style, dry humor and unique sayings, will continue as a guest anchor of the 1 a.m. ET edition of the program, which airs from ESPN’s Los Angeles studio and is hosted by Neil Everett and Stan Verrett. He also will continue to be part of SportsCenter on the Road at select events and will produce features for SportsCenter.
“Happy to be back for more. It beats real work,” Mayne said. “I fly to LA for a week, watch sports and make up words. Sometimes I literally make up the words. Pure gibberish. But Stan and Neil seem to get me.”
In his new deal, he will expand his presence on SportsCenter as a featured contributor to the midnight ET edition of the program hosted by Scott Van Pelt from ESPN’s Bristol, Ct., studios.
“For 20 years, Kenny Mayne has placed his own indelible, if somewhat askew, stamp on SportsCenter,” said Rob King, ESPN senior vice president, SportsCenter and News. “We are truly delighted that he’ll continue entertaining fans, both from the SportsCenter set and from all corners of the sporting world.”
Mayne joined ESPN in May, 1994, as an anchor on ESPN2, providing five-minute score and news reports, and as a feature reporter. He also served as the original host of ESPN2’s former auto racing programs rpm2day and rpm2night. He occasionally anchored SportsCenter until assuming that role fulltime in August 1997, and he remained in the position until 2008.
From 2008–2011, he produced and starred in an original scripted series on ESPN.com titled Mayne Street, then in 2011, he shifted gears and debuted Kenny Mayne’s Wider World of Sports on ESPN.com. He also previously hosted ESPN’s horse racing coverage.
Mayne has been a staple of ESPN’s “This is SportsCenter” commercials during the campaign’s 20-year run, appearing in more than 50 spots. He also was a contestant on the second season of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars in 2006 and since then has occasionally appeared on the show with NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice in “DanceCenter,” a SportsCenter-themed segment.
Prior to joining ESPN, Mayne had served as a freelance reporter and field producer for the network from 1990-1994.
In this video, some of Mayne’s ESPN colleagues react to his new deal:
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