Access Hollywood’s Michelle Beadle is diving back into the world of sports, with her new series “The Crossover” for NBC Sports.
The show, which debuts on Monday night at 6 PM ET/3 PM PT and airs weeknights on NBC Sports Network, will showcase Michelle and co-host Dave Briggs tackling the biggest stories in sports and pop culture.
As she gets ready to kick off the new project live from New Orleans – where the normally New York City-based show is shooting during Super Bowl week – Michelle sat down with AccessHollywood.com to talk about her vision for the show, some of her favorite interviews over the years, and the difference between talking with athletes and celebrities…
Access: In the first promo for “The Crossover,” we saw Gary Busey, Dennis Rodman, Jose Canseco & Lorenzo Lamas on a spinning wheel – explain please.
Michelle Beadle: Ha, I don’t believe I can. It was one of those far-fetched ideas pitched… and they happened to be able to pull it off. I didn’t really know it was happening until I got to LA and realized all those dudes were in the building. It was one of those things where you don’t need to talk at all that day, you just sit back and look because it’s as weird as you would imagine.
AH: Any ‘scary’ moments during the shoot with that interesting group?
MB: You know what, if you’ve never been around Gary Busey, he likes to tell stories about when he died, and he randomly – I’m gonna call it a bark, for lack of a better word, but he literally will just in the middle of people doing things [bark] really loud. I got used to it eventually, but it’s just not what you’re used to (laughs).
AH: ‘The Crossover’ aims to take the worlds of sports & pop culture and blend them together – why do those two topics go so well together?
MB: Because they’re both forms of entertainment. I know there are people on both sides of the fence that want to believe that sports and entertainment are both a lot more serious than they really are, but they are where we go to get away and get a few hours of being entertained by people who are more talented than we are. I look at it that way. I’m not a stats person, I don’t look at a bunch of numbers – I just like really good stories.
AH: Is that the goal of the new show — to deliver those types of stories?
MB: Absolutely… I’ve been doing sports now for 10 years and I’ve gravitated towards the types of projects that are fun, so that’s where I find myself once again. It’s all I really want to do. I want to have a place where people – for a half-hour a day – can just come and hang out. We’re like the people at the bar you talk sports with. No yelling. No screaming. Just easy.
AH: We hear there’s a giant monitor – 7 feet by 13 feet – set up for social media on the set. What kind of role will social media play in the show?
MB: I like hearing opinions. No matter how smart you think you are or how right your opinion is, you can find out from anywhere that somebody has a different way to look at things that actually might make more sense. Twitter has opened up the world for all of us. People that you might normally never have been able to have a conversation with are now just a keyboard away. I like it. It provides a different way to look at things.
AH: What will be the biggest challenge for the show?
MB: There are a billion – and I think that’s actually an accurate number – there are a billion sports shows out there. We’re all doing the same thing. We’re all talking about the same thing. What it boils down to is, do people like us? Do they like Dave and me? Do they feel some sort of a connection and do they want to hang out with us for 22 minutes a day? So for me, that big challenge is getting out there, getting seen, hopefully putting together a really good show.
AH: When it comes to interviewing celebrities compared to interviewing athletes, is one easier to talk to than the other?
MB: No… celebrities come with a bigger posse, but athletes can sometimes be a harder interview. The celebrities come with way more rules.
AH: Do you have a favorite interview of all time?
MB: There are two. [Soccer legend] Pele and [former NBA star] Dikembe Mutombo. Those are two people who I grew up loving but more importantly, they were just those types of people you encounter very few times in life where they enter the room and they’re just different. They’re special — without sounding too cheesy! Growing up with my mom who is Italian and a soccer fan, Pele is like a god. And Dikembe Mutombo with the finger wag, that’s part of my childhood. So to find out that they were just lovely men was a bonus.
AH: Lastly, since you’re in New Orleans, we need a Super Bowl prediction.
MB: I have San Francisco. I think this was one heck of a crazy year in football. There was never a clear-cut favorite throughout the year that we’ve seen in years past. You’ve got two teams that consider themselves underdogs. Baltimore craves that and they love the fact that nobody was talking about them until it got to the end. For me, I love the new kid. I love Colin Kaepernick. It’s just a great story. He looks the part of somebody… he’s all tatted up and he’s not what the old guys want to think a quarterback is supposed to look like. I’m going against the establishment.
MB: Gimme 21-10. I hadn’t even thought about a score! I’ll probably change that nine times during the week.