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Tony Reali Hosts Around the Horn – 20th Anniversary Special with Super-Sized 20-Person Panel Featuring Bomani Jones, Mina Kimes, Woody Paige, Sarah Spain, Pablo Torre, and More
ESPN will celebrate two decades of scoring – and muting – sports debates with a one-hour Around The Horn – 20th Anniversary Special hosted by Tony Reali on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. The special will feature a super-sized 20-person panel of guests discussing the history of the show and everything from the scoring system to best/worst takes. Past clips, feature elements and behind-the-scenes footage of a day-in-the-life of the show will also be part of the presentation.
Around the Horn premiered November 4, 2002 on ESPN in its familiar 5 p.m. ET lead-in spot before Pardon the Interruption (which celebrated its own 20th anniversary last fall). Originally hosted by Max Kellerman, ATH became a destination for many of the nation’s leading sports columnists to share their thoughts and opinions on daily sports topics, while having their arguments scored. Panelists appeared from remote sites in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles and New York, giving the show different perspectives from all regions of the country.
As Around the Horn evolved through the years, so did the group of regular panelists. The show has provided opportunities to many talented and diverse new voices who continue to be seen and heard across ESPN platforms and throughout the media industry today. In all, 54 different panelists have appeared on the show throughout its 20 years.
The panelists who will appear in the 20th anniversary special include JA Adande, Kevin Blackistone, Tim Cowlishaw, Courtney Cronin, David Dennis Jr., Elle Duncan, Israel Gutierrez, Frank Isola, Bomani Jones, Emily Kaplan, Mina Kimes, Joon Lee, Harry Lyles Jr., Jackie MacMullan, Monica McNutt, Woody Paige, Bill Plaschke, Bob Ryan, Jorge Sedano, Ramona Shelburne, Michael Smith, Sarah Spain, Justin Tinsley, Pablo Torre and Clinton Yates.
“It’s overwhelming to think we have influenced the sports debate landscape now for 20 years. Along with PTI, I’m proud of how we have set the bar for how these shows are done, and we’re still here,” said Aaron Solomon, Around the Horn’s coordinating producer since 2003 and part of the show staff since its inception. “It’s a testament to the people who work here – to the passion they have to come into the office and do this every day, and to that new life and freshness they bring to every show.”
Over the past two decades, Around the Horn has produced more than 4,500 shows. Reali, who took over the scoring controls and mute button from Kellerman in February 2004, has been the face of the program for 18 years, hosting more than 4,200 episodes.
“I hope viewers can see themselves in Around the Horn – in one of the four panelists or myself,” said Reali. “I think we’re relatable, having that conversation you’re having at home with your friends. I know we’re unpredictable. I don’t even know the banned word list. But most of all I think we feel. So people may forget what we say or what stories we debated over 4,500 episodes, but I think they will always remember how we feel and how we make them feel.”
Added Erik Rydholm, Around the Horn’s longtime executive producer: “Around The Horn is a daily collaboration of some of the most thoughtful people in sports journalism. I’m so proud of this milestone, and I can’t wait to watch the special to finally learn how the scoring works.”
Around the Horn is based in Washington, D.C., where it is produced by Rydholm Projects. In addition to Rydholm and Solomon, the production team features several team members who have been with the show for nearly all of its two-decade run on ESPN, including producer Josh Bard, director John Dursee and associate director Myriam Leger.
The Around the Horn studio where Reali hosts each day has been located at ESPN’s Seaport District Studios in New York since November 2018.
ESPN Daily podcast to highlight Around the Horn’s 20 years on Tuesday, Dec. 13
In addition to the one-hour Around the Horn television program, the ESPN Daily podcast will highlight ATH’s anniversary with a special episode on Tuesday, Dec. 13. Host Pablo Torre – a veteran panelist himself – will welcome Tony Reali for a conversation where the longtime host will finally explain how the show’s scoring works. The ESPN Audio team will also incorporate some of the interviews that ATH‘s producers have collected for the TV special.
Around the Horn 20th Anniversary Fun Facts (as of Dec. 1, 2022):
- First show: November 4, 2002. Original panelists: T.J. Simers, Los Angeles Times; Bob Ryan, Boston Globe; Jay Mariotti, Chicago Sun-Times; and Woody Paige, Denver Post.
- Total shows: 4,507
- Hosts: Max Kellerman (Nov. 2002 – Jan. 2004), Tony Reali (Feb. 2002 – present), who has hosted 4,200+ shows.
- All-time panelists: 54. Full list.
- Most-tenured panelists: Bob Ryan, Woody Paige, Tim Cowlishaw and JA Adande have all been panelists on the show since ATH’s first week on the air in November 2002.
- Newest panelist: Courtney Cronin (debuted June 1, 2022)
- Panelist Records:
- Most Wins: 1. Woody Paige (650); 2. Tim Cowlishaw (514); 3. Bill Plaschke (409)
- Most Appearances: 1. Woody Paige (2,861); 2. Tim Cowlishaw (1,953); 3. Bill Plaschke (1,659)
- Highest Winning Percentage: Michael Smith, 30.2% (min. 100 appearances)
- Highest Point Average: Bomani Jones, 23.4 (min. 100 appearances)
- Most Times Muted: Woody Paige, 274 (*stat only kept since 2019)