‘GameDay’ producer: Lightning in area would force show indoors

Joseph Diebold, Campus Editor

“College GameDay” producer Lee Fitting outlined this morning the circumstances that would force ESPN’s football preview show to adjust its plans for tomorrow’s scheduled broadcast.

“It depends on how bad the weather is,” Fitting said at an on-campus news conference. “We can broadcast in pretty bad weather as long as there’s not lightning in the area. If there’s lightning then what we’ll do is we’ll move a couple guys to the bus and broadcast from there … but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.”

Fitting added that if the show is unable to broadcast from its lakefront location, it would enlist the services of ESPN’s studio crews at the network’s Bristol, Conn. headquarters.

The National Weather Service is predicting showers and thunderstorms in Evanston tomorrow, but “mainly after 1 p.m.” The show is scheduled to go on the air at 8 a.m., with fans allowed into the viewing area as early as 5 a.m.

(Northwestern prepares for ESPN’s ‘College GameDay’)

Weather forced “GameDay” inside the last time the show visited Evanston, in 1995. Host Chris Fowler recalled the circumstances that led the show to air from inside Welsh-Ryan Arena.

“I remember waking up in the middle of the night, looking outside and seeing snow and ice, snow blowing sideways, and thinking, ‘Oh my God,'” Fowler said at the news conference.

He said the 1995 broadcast was “in the hall of fame of the weirdest-looking ‘GameDay’ we’ve ever had.”

“We felt bad about that because we didn’t get to do the normal show. Very few people got to see it or hear it,” Fowler said. “But our crew did yeoman work to even get us on the air. That’s a famous chapter in the history of the show, one I hope we never repeat.”

— Joseph Diebold