Chance at ‘Dream Job’ thrills student

MU student to compete for ESPN job
Friday, February 6, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 9:02 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

An MU student has landed himself the ultimate journalistic opportunity: a top-12 spot on ESPN’s reality TV show, “Dream Job.”

Mike Hall, 21, will begin competing later this month for a one-year, on-air contract with ESPN’s SportsCenter.

“I have two basic passions in life,” Hall said. “One is sports, and the other is performing.”

Hall, a broadcast journalism major, grew up near Chicago as an avid White Sox fan, and came to MU in hopes of becoming a sportscaster. Now he will have that chance.

Casting for the show began last October. Urged by friends, Hall attended first-round interviews in St. Louis. He went on to the regional finals in Chicago, then the national finals in New York City in mid-December.

Each trial included sports trivia and debate, among other activities. Hall said being told to emulate a hockey puck, interviewing Barry Sanders and meeting ESPN’s Stuart Scott were some of his favorite moments.

“I’m thrilled,” Hall said. “I didn’t think there was a chance. I’m happy no matter what.”

Hall credits his experience in the improv group Comedy Wars to his success on “Dream Job” thus far. He has been involved with the group since his freshman year and now leads it.

“I would say my strongest attribute is improv,” Hall said. “I have no problem making stuff up.” He said being comfortable under the kind of stress sportscasting can bring is what makes him suitable for the position.

“Dream Job” will run for six Sundays beginning Feb. 22.

Each week, the contestants will perform a variety of tasks, and a panel of judges will vote them off until a single winner remains.

The public will also have a hand in the decision by voting online at, or text messaging via cellular phone.

Hall will be flown to New York City each weekend to compete live on national television.

The show will air at 9 p.m. through March 28.

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