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Frazier, Kevin

Kevin Frazier

1964–

TV show host, journalist, sportscaster

Kevin Frazier came to prominence in broadcasting as a popular sportscaster. But in 2004 Frazier swapped sports for Hollywood when he joined the weekend edition of Entertainment Tonight. His vibrant personality shone in his new setting as he seemed to revel in the fast-paced drama of Hollywood reporting.

Kevin Frazier was born on May 20, 1964, in New Jersey. As the son of legendary basketball coach Nathaniel Frazier, Frazier was steeped in sports from a young age. He watched his father coach at the University of Illinois, Morgan State University, and under Willis Reed with the New York Knicks. Frazier even attended Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, while his father was basketball coach there. Given his exposure to some of basketball's great minds, Frazier held a childhood ambition to follow in his father's footsteps, to become a coach. He served for two years as assistant coach to his father before completing his bachelor's degree in communications in 1989.

Despite his enduring love of sports, Frazier quickly discovered his own talent: reporting. Straight out of college Frazier landed a job as a news and sports reporter and photographer at WCBD-TV in Charleston, South Carolina. In 1991 he moved to Baltimore, Maryland's WBFF-TV when his boss transferred there to work on a new Fox news show. Frazier soon proved himself adept at all sorts of television work. Besides news and sports reporting Frazier anchored, did commentary for University of Cincinnati basketball games (1993–95), and was a sidelines reporter on Fox's NFL coverage. By 1995 Frazier's popularity as a sports journalist and anchor made him a stand-out choice for the debut of a new LA-based Fox Sports News (aka National Sports Report) show.

Frazier's career with Fox saw him covering all the major sports events, including NBA Finals and the NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four. He hosted pre-game shows and was a sideline reporter for NFL on Fox. He also hosted College Football Saturday.

His television personality won him appearances in Hollywood. He played himself in the movies Rat Race (2001) and Juwanna Mann (2002), and in the sitcom Inside Schwartz, which had a short run in 2002 as part of NBC's "Must See TV" slot. Despite his growing celebrity, Frazier retained a sense of awe about his experience. In an interview with John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer on July 9, 2002, Frazier gushed: "I got my picture taken with Jill Hennessy (NBC's Crossing Jordan). Hot actresses actually acknowledged me. I did the red carpet thing (at a party) and, for some reason, the TV Guide Channel interviewed me." His obvious enthusiasm added to his appeal.

When the nature of programming on FX Network changed, Frazier decided to join ESPN's sportscasting team as anchor of Sportscenter, as a studio host on NBA Shootaround, a pre-game news show, and as an anchor for Fastbreak Tuesday. The Contra Costa Tribune reported Frazier's decision to move to ESPN as an opportunity he could not resist. "We've done the dance a couple of times," Frazier said. "But when ESPN came calling and said they had some NBA for me, I said, 'Wait a minute.' That's my true love. I couldn't pass that up."

While at ESPN, Frazier continued to make appearances elsewhere. He appeared as a regular guest on Jim Rome is Burning, a sports conversation show. But he became increasingly involved with other areas of the media, making guest appearances on several TV shows, including One on One and The Ashlee Simpson Show. The lure of Hollywood cinched his next move.

In 2004 Frazier left ESPN to host the weekend edition of Entertainment Tonight and took the switch from interviewing sports stars to movie stars in his stride. He told ESPN interviewer Miki Turner: "It's a lot like basketball in a sense because athletes are big stars and these people are big stars. So it's all the same." But he also noted the differences: "Athletes are forced to talk to the media. The weirdest thing about [Hollywood] is that actors aren't forced to talk to the media. I know that there are 82 times a year I can talk to Shaquille O'Neal and he has no choice. There are not 82 times a year where I get a shot at Brad Pitt." He thrilled to his new challenge. In his first season Frazier travelled with the Oscar statuettes from Chicago where they are made, to the 2005 ceremony, and interviewed stars such as Kevin Costner and George Clooney.

Frazier's move to ET did not come as a surprise to many in the sports media business, where he had increasingly specialized in celebrity-style interviews of athletes. But the process of becoming a celebrity in his own right seemed to have come as a surprise. When asked if appearing in a sitcom was his long-time dream he told John Kiesewetter in 2001: "No way! No way!" Yet Frazier's star seemed to be on the rise.

At a Glance …

Born Kevin Frazier on May 20, 1964, in New Jersey; married Andrea (marriage ended.) Married Yasmin Cader, 2006. Education: Morgan State University, BA, communications, 1989.

Career: Morgan State University, Baltimore, OH, assistant basketball coach, 1980s; WXIX-TV, Cincinnati, OH, sports reporter and anchor, 1991–92; WBFF-TV, Baltimore, MD, sports reporter and anchor; WCBD-TV, Charleston, SC, FX Network, The FX Sports Show, Fox Sports News (later National Sports Report), reporter and anchor, 1995–02; ESPN, 2002–04; Entertainment Tonight, weekend edition anchor, 2004–.

Sources

Periodicals

Broadcasting & Cable, August 5, 2002, p. 28; February 21, 2005, p. 16.

Cincinnati Enquirer, July 8, 2001; January 9, 2002.

Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, CA), July 18, 2002.

Philadelphia Tribune, April 15, 2003, p. D1.

On-line

"Kevin Frazier Bio," ET, http://et.tv.yahoo.com/about/bios/kfrazier/ (June 22, 2006).

"'Sportscenter' anchor goes Hollywood," ESPN, http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page3/story?page=turner/kevinfrazier&title=%27SportsCenter%27+anchor+goes+Hollywood&id=1950184 (June 22, 2006).

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