September 1, 1959|
Kent, Washington, U.S.
|Known for||Work with ESPN, Dancing with the Stars, others|
|Website||Kenny Mayne bio|
Kenneth Wheelock "Kenny" Mayne (born September 1, 1959) is a sports journalist and comedian for ESPN. He currently appears as host of Kenny Mayne's Wider World of Sports on ESPN.com, and he appeared as a weekly contributor to "Sunday NFL Countdown" with his weekly "Mayne Event" segment.
A native of Federal Way, Washington, Mayne was an honorable mention junior college All-American quarterback in 1978 at Wenatchee Valley College in Wenatchee, Washington. He graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1982 with a degree in broadcasting. He was the backup quarterback and was ahead of future NFL star Randall Cunningham on the depth chart.
While at UNLV, Mayne played football for two years and he later signed as a free agent with the Seattle Seahawks. He has been the manager for the American League team in the Legends and Celebrity All Star Softball Game since its inception in 2001, but in 2010 he elected not to appear in the game.
After beginning his television career with a brief stint as a reporter for KLVX-TV in Las Vegas, Nevada, Mayne spent seven years (1982–89) at KSTW-TV in Seattle, Washington. Eventually he became a weekend sports anchor and weekday news reporter. Mayne resigned from KSTW in 1989.
ESPN hired Mayne in 1994 after Mayne had sent ESPN a note inquiring whether the network would hire him. The note simply asked to check a box, including one option that read, "We'll hire you when there's an ESPN5."
Mayne started at ESPN in 1994 as a SportSmash anchor on ESPN2, and soon moved over to the main network. He served, for a time, as co-anchor of the 11PM SportsCenter with Dan Patrick after Keith Olbermann left ESPN. He left SportsCenter two years later, moving to an assortment of late night ESPN shows which were usually re-aired throughout the next morning. Included in his repertoire was the game show 2 Minute Drill. Mayne is now most often seen as the host for ABC and ESPN's horse racing events. He provided offbeat feature stories on Sunday NFL Countdown in a weekly segment called The Mayne Event.
In 2011 ESPN launched Kenny Mayne's Wider World of Sports, a series of videos on ESPN.com highlighting Mayne's trips around the world. In the first season the show visited six countries (England, Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, Thailand, and New Zealand) with Mayne participating in events like the King's Cup Elephant Polo tournament in Thailand, the world's longest par-3 hole (Extreme 19) in South Africa, and a road bowling match in Ireland. A television version of Kenny Mayne's Wider World of Sports, featuring highlights from the internet series, aired on ESPN/ABC in December 2011. Season 2 of Wider World of Sports featured visits to the Netherlands for canal jumping, Nicaragua for volcano boarding, Italy for the Palio di Siena horse race, Bosnia and Herzegovina for bridge diving at Stari Most, Switzerland for hornussen, and Scotland for the Highland Games.
Both seasons of Kenny Mayne's Wider World of Sports have been honored in the Online Film and Video category of the Webby Awards, which annually recognize the best websites, videos, apps, and social media on the internet.
Mayne returned to SportsCenter on October 15, 2013 after a five-year absence. A new contract with ESPN signed earlier that month set Mayne to anchor 70 episodes of SportsCenter and host 10 special features per year through 2015. At the time Mayne described the new deal was "sort of a part-time job" and implied dissatisfaction with some of the caveats. The deal effectively ended Mayne's role on horse-racing and terminated his Wider World of Sports series instead focusing his role primarily on SportsCenter. He commented on the restructuring of his contract by saying "for some readers it looked like I had the keys to the place, and they took the keys away".
In January 2006, Mayne participated in the second season of ABC's Dancing with the Stars with partner Andrea Hale, but after a disastrous cha-cha, Mayne was the first contestant to be eliminated. In an interview with Brian Falvey in the Spring of 2007, Mayne joked that he left the 2006 Rose Bowl at halftime to get up early the next day to practice for Dancing with the Stars. Subsequent seasons have seen Mayne return to the show for DanceCenter, a parody of SportsCenter, alongside former contestant Jerry Rice and judge Len Goodman. DanceCenter appears on the results show night of the week in which either five or six contestants remain.
Mayne was also in the 1998 film BASEketball, which featured the creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. He was alongside Dan Patrick and appeared on SportsCenter to cover the latest BASEketball playoff competition. In 1999, he played himself on an episode of The Drew Carey Show entitled "Tracy Bowl".
Before agreeing to the deal with ESPN, Mayne had talks with Comedy Central about doing a sports-themed The Daily Show-style program and was a finalist to be the host of the syndicated version of Deal or No Deal. He confirmed both discussions.
Mayne has recently appeared in commercials for Progressive auto insurance, and Top Flite golf balls. In November 2006, Mayne hosted the pilot episode of the CBS Primetime gameshow Power of 10 which would later be hosted by Drew Carey. Power of 10 producer Michael Davies was impressed with his performance on 2 Minute Drill, and wanted him to host one of his other game shows. After Mayne hosted the pilot, he declined the opportunity and it went to Drew Carey.
In 2008, Mayne penned his first book, An Incomplete And Inaccurate History Of Sport, a collection of offbeat musings on sports and pop culture. In 2010, he appeared in the animated film Kung Fu Magoo as himself.
- Mayne, Kenny (July 11, 2012). "Kenny Mayne's big break". ESPN. Retrieved December 11, 2012.
I WAS NEVER going to be Joe Montana. But I can honestly say that at one point I was ahead of Randall Cunningham on a depth chart.
- Biodata, premierespeakers.com; accessed December 13, 2014.
- Hiestand, Michael (1999-09-14). "ESPN's trash talker Mayne works his way to top of heap". USA Today. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
- "ESPN Kicks Off Its Scripted Web Game on 'Mayne Street'". Tubefilter News. 2008-08-25. Retrieved 2008-08-25.
- Kenny Mayne's Wider World of Sports, Season 2, winners.webbyawards.com; accessed December 13, 2014.
- Mayne interview, thewrap.com; accessed December 13, 2014.
- BASEketball film profile, imdb.com; accessed December 13, 2014.
- About Kenny Mayne, nypost.com; accessed December 13, 2014.
- Kenny Mayne at the Internet Movie Database
- "Kenny Mayne's Wider World of Sports
- Kenny Mayne
- Extensive audio interview with Mayne on public radio program The Sound of Young America