ESPN Strikes Multi-Year Pact With Elle Duncan

Elle Duncan faces a tricky task each time she shows up on ESPN in the early evening.

The hosts of the network’s morning editions of “SportsCenter” come armed with highlights from the games that took placed the night before. But when Duncan appears to co-anchor the 6 p.m. “SportsCenter” broadcast with Kevin Negandhi, fans want to see something new. Alas, the night’s games have yet to start.

“The challenge of the 6 p.m. show is making sure we are doing an appropriate amount of reflecting and also looking ahead,” Duncan says in an interview. “We are always working to show video without showing stuff you’ve already seen.” The 6 p.m. broadcast “is one of the more unique ones,” she says, because “the morning shows react to last night and the night shows react to the stuff that was already on.”

Duncan will have many new chances to guide sports fans at the interesting hour. She and ESPN have struck a new contract that will keep her at the Disney-backed sports-media giant for the next few years.

In addition to her “SportsCenter” work, Duncan has been a co-host of the weekly ESPN podcast “First Take, Her Take” with Kimberley A. Martin and Charly Arnolt since June of this yea,r and she is among a rotating group of panelists on ESPN’s afternoon program “Around the Horn.” She also has appeared as a panelist on “Highly Questionable.” Earlier this year, she and Negandhi contributed to ESPN’s coverage of the NFL Draft, starting each day hosting the network’s morning show Get Up, followed both nights by leading ESPN Radio’s NFL Draft broadcasts.

“Elle has been a fantastic team player since joining us and has handled every assignment with professionalism and a great attitude,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN’s executive vice president of event and studio production and executive editor, in a statement. “She and Kevin Negandhi on the 6 p.m. ‘SportsCenter’ are a destination for fans for breaking news and a look ahead to the big matchups of the night.”

Duncan says “SportsCenter” has provided her with some interesting moments on air, like one time last year when she was hosting solo and had to report on many sports events shutting down due to the pandemic as they happened. “It was nuts,” she recalls, but handling breaking news like that “is how you earn respect in this industry and make a name for yourself.”

Before arriving at ESPN in 2016, Duncan was an anchor, host and reporter for two years for the New England Sports Network in Boston. Prior to joining NESN in early 2014, she worked in a number of on-air positions in her home city, Atlanta, on both television and radio, including as a sports anchor and reporter for WXIA-TV, Atlanta’s NBC-TV affiliate. She also worked as a television sideline reporter for the Atlanta Hawks and on SEC and ACC college football telecasts.

She says she had fun in Atlanta, where she also worked a radio host and an entertainment reporter, but learned serious lessons in Boston. “The acumen of the Boston sports fans is so high. They have incredible accountability.”

She says she’s eager to do as much as she can at ESPN, whether it involves TV, podcasting or Snapchat. “I’m looking forward to doing more of everything.”

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