Athens, GA (Mar 7, 2008) - In a move that may be a business response and a proactive effort to protect the ESPN brand from public embarrassment and other risks created by talent missteps at ESPN (and other outlets), ESPN has created a new talent office. Laurie Orlando has been named Senior Vice President, Talent Development & Planning at ESPN and will head this office, according to Steve Anderson, Executive Vice President,News, Talent & Content Operations.
In this newly created position, Orlando (pictured left) will oversee this new office and the relationships with the on-air personalities who represent the ESPN brand across all multimedia platforms. Orlando is focused on negotiation and facilitation of contracts; identification and recruitment of new talent; and establishing development, communication, coaching and feedback processes. Orlando is based in Bristol, Conn., and reports to Anderson.
“Laurie’s depth of experience and the strong relationships she has established within the sports and entertainment industry make her the ideal person to oversee ESPN’s new Talent Office,” said Anderson. “She will work hand-in-hand with our domestic and international production and content development teams across multiple platforms.”
It seems logical that this new office has been created, and has been a long time in coming. In the March 2, 2008 edition of the Orlando Sentinel, wrote:
During the past year, ESPN has unveiled more fluffy on-air promotions that grate the nerves of hard-core sports fans, rushed to break news stories with shaky sources that later proved unreliable, and several of its on-air personalities were caught on tape making embarrassing comments...
There have been some less-than-sensational moments during the past year when the on-air personalities ESPN constantly hypes became news.
Chris Berman, who arguably has become more popular than the sports stars he covers, was angered when old footage of him cursing at staff and co-workers before he went on the air was posted on YouTube.com.
Dana Jacobson was suspended by the network for getting drunk and making religious slurs at a roast with fellow ESPN personalities Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic.
Orlando joins ESPN from MSG & Fox Sports New York where she was senior vice president, executive producer. Prior to that, she spent nearly five years at College Sports Television (CSTV) as vice president of programming, original programming and development, and vice president of remote & feature production. She has also held significant production and programming roles at Oxygen Media and Classic Sports Network.
This is the second ESPN stint for Orlando, who worked for ESPN Classic as a coordinating producer in 1999. In her earlier role, Orlando oversaw the development, supervision and execution of all original, documentary and long-form programming, including the Sweet Science documentary series and other critically-acclaimed original programs.
Orlando was graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor of science degree in international relations, as well as a bachelor of arts in television and film writing from the University's Newhouse School of Public Communications.
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