Cold pizza is no longer just a quick breakfast after an all night study session; it’s also ESPN2’s show that airs weekday mornings. Cold Pizza began in late October 2003 as a show that would bring everything to its audience from sports to lifestyle. The broad approach was narrowed down to mainly sports-oriented pieces. Now it’s one of ESPN2’s most popular shows, especially in the 18 to 30-something bracket of viewers. The program features interviews with college and pro athletes, coaches and other notable figures, as well as a session featuring the “feasty boys” who demonstrate tailgate-cooking recipes.
During football season, a portion of the New York-based crew travels to various colleges around the country to highlight some of the top teams. Their ninth week brought them to UM last Friday, where co-hosts and producers alike exclaimed they were in paradise shooting on location from outside the UC.
“We don’t really decide where we’re going until the week before,” said Tony Burton, one of the show’s producers. “It makes it easier when we can manage to stay in the same time zone since it’s a live show. Miami was an easy choice because it’s almost like a vacation for us, and the football program is amazing.”
One of the show’s two female anchors, Thea Andrews, explained the best part of her job was being able to travel and meet very accomplished people who have done so many interesting things.
“I’m originally from Canada where hockey is the number one sport,” Andrews said. “I’ve come to love football too. I’m fascinated by the business of sports and the cultural role that they play in society.”
Earlier in the week, Andrews taped a segment with football Head Coach Larry Coker.
“He’s so reserved and relaxed, which is uncommon in most head coaches I’ve met,” Andrews said. “The players must have a great deal of respect for him.”
Sideline veteran Zach Leibowitz finds a symbol on each campus that he is on and then presents it on Cold Pizza in a humorous way.
“At Michigan it was the brass letter M, at Wisconsin it was the band, and in Miami I will do a segment on the school’s mascot, Sebastian the Ibis,” Leibowitz said.
One of the more comical features of the show are the two stout feasty boys who walk through a tailgate recipe usually having some kind of relation to the region from which they are broadcasting. For Miami, feasty boys Jon Mayer and Jim Stump stood in UM shirts cooking succulent seafood pouches containing mussels and other items.
Joining the food segment was former Hurricane football player Jesse Armsted, who was on the ‘Canes National Champtionship teams in 1989 and 1991. He played for the New York Giants for nine years, the Washington Redskins for two years and is currently a Carolina Panther.
“It’s good to be back here and it reminds me the thing that I miss most about playing college ball is the friendships that were made and being able to walk around and talk to people about the game,” Armsted said.
Armsted concluded with a few words of advice for current ‘Canes, especially athletes. “Getting your degree is a must because no matter what happens, whether you continue to play professionally or not, you will always have that degree,” he said. “Most of all, just enjoy the game.”
Cold Pizza airs on ESPN2 Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Stacey Arnold can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.