Begun, The Worldwide Leader Hologram War Has

I think we can all agree that mankind was just pretty much creeping along in the dark until we developed the ability to project TV pundits as holograms. This idea is nothing new, of course - CNN was using it during Presidential election coverage, and Walt Disney populated his Disneyland Haunted House ride with ghost holograms in the 1960s. But now it’s ESPN’s turn.

Debuting a gimmick that they will in no way overuse and beat into the ground within a week, the WWL demonstrated its new hologram capabilities in a demonstration they dubbed “the ultimate interview,” featuring Chris Berman, Bob Ley and ESPN executive vice president of technology Chuck Pagano, all seen above. Now ESPN correspondents can be “beamed in” during live studio broadcasts, saving the networks thousands in … well, will it save anything? What’s the difference between that and a split screen? Let ESPN explain.


ESPN Exec VP/Technology Chuck Pagano and anchor Chris Berman were seated together in one room, while anchor Bob Ley, in a room down the hall, was “beamed” into the panel. “It’s a way to bring people from the field in and bring people from the studio out,” Pagano said. The technology, which is the next step following the debut of the EA Virtual Playbook during NFL coverage last season, will be introduced in ESPN programming next spring and will be utilized in the net’s coverage of the FIFA World Cup from South Africa.

CNN’s use of holograms during election night last November served as a spark for ESPN’s interest in developing the technology. “Can we do it better? Can we do it more robustly? Can we do it in a better quality fashion? That was the proper motivation,” Pagano said.” “But we also looked at it from a production enhancement (standpoint). Not just bringing the talent from the outside, how do we extend the internal studio to the outside world?”

Of course CNN’s hologram experiment ended in tragedy when Wolf Blitzer attempted to use the technology to create an army of hologram Jessica Yellins, with which he planned to take over the world. But megalomaniacal supervillains aside, why is ESPN spending money on this? As Dr. Malcolm said in “Jurassic Park,” “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could do something, they didn’t stop to consider if they should.” Jon Stewart seems to do quite well on “The Daily Show” with his correspondents right next to him in front of a green screen.

So soon ESPN will be giving us 3D football, with perhaps sideline reports from an Erin Andrews hologram (prevents random groping and her hearing catcalls).

(ESPN hologram demonstrates how the network will actually suck competing talent and ideas from the surface of the Earth)