3. Creating Around The Horn
RCS: You are also the creator and executive producer of Around the Horn. How did that begin, and how, from a production perspective, is it different than PTI?
Erik Rydholm: PTI had been on for about a year when Mark [Shapiro] and Jim [Cohen] approached me and my group about creating a sister show. We sketched out an idea for a talk show based on a game show construct -- where panelists would be scored for their opinions. But we couldn't come to terms, so Mark and Jim hired a brilliant, funny man named Bill Wolff to flesh out the concept and make it work. And he did so beautifully. But he, Max Kellerman, the producer, and the director all left about two years later and ESPN asked me to oversee the show.
And it's been a blast. We have this small little staff led by Aaron Solomon and Tony Reali that just knocks out the show every day. Those two really saved the show by keeping it up and running after Bill and the others departed. And they're the ones who work with the guys every day to make it work.
What's interesting is that PTI always received very positive reviews, and ATH often received a harsher judgment, but both shows continue to grow. I prefer to evaluate the success of a show based off the numbers of people watching. I figure if they don't like it, they won't watch it.