What: "Up Close"
When: Weekdays, 3 p.m. (repeats at midnight)
When Roy Firestone hosted this show, some considered him the best interviewer in sports television, while others considered him too syrupy and melodramatic. But the result usually was an informative, sometimes provocative, interview.
It has been almost three years since Firestone moved on to do periodic "Up Close Prime Time" specials and pursue his career as a stand-up comic and entertainer, but with the changeover to Chris Myers, the show hasn't suffered.
It's still one of the best sports shows on television.
But that's not to say Firestone, 43, and Myers, 38, have similar styles. About the only thing they have in common is both are from Miami.
Firestone was usually the star. It was his show, his interview. His theatrics were such that the movie "Jerry Maguire" contained a spoof on Firestone's ability to make guests cry.
Myers' approach is more straightforward and low-key, but works just as well. He makes sure the guests are the stars. Before they go on, he tells them, "Look, people are interested in stories and in knowing what you're about. I'm not going to ambush you. If there are tough questions I'm going to ask them. But think of it as a conversation, not an interrogation."
Because the 30-minute shows are basically unedited, athletes like coming on because they know they're not going to be quoted out of context. This summer, Albert Belle actually asked to come on after he saw Myers interview Keyshawn Johnson. Robert Parish chose "Up Close" to announce he was retiring from basketball. Deion Sanders talked about his newfound religion and how he used it to cope with divorce.
Myers went from late-night "SportsCenter" host to "Up Close" host in January 1995, moving from Bristol, Conn., to Agoura Hills. The shows are taped in Hollywood.
He may not get the tears Firestone did, but Myers, a genuine nice guy who is well-liked by those who know him, deserves cheers.