GrassRoots TV personality targets her ‘Dream Job’
February 26, 2004
Lori Rubinson, a familiar face in Aspen as the host of GrassRoots Television’s “Aspen Sports Update,” hits the big time Sunday night.
Rubinson, who made her television debut last summer as a guest on the Andrew Cole Show on GrassRoots, is one of 11 remaining finalists in the ESPN “Dream Job” reality-style show where, eventually, one winner will secure a one-year contract as a SportsCenter broadcaster.
Rubinson, 39, who has made her career in marketing until recently, will appear live with six other finalists on ESPN on Sunday at 8 p.m. in the second installment of the program.
A native New Yorker, Rubinson lived in Aspen two years ago before moving back to New York. She came to Aspen last summer for a visit and appeared on Andrew Cole’s show, an NFL preview program. The experience turned out to be life-changing.
“At the end of the hour, I thought, ‘Wow, if somebody would pay me to talk sports, how great would that be?'” Rubinson said yesterday in a telephone interview from Manhattan, headquarters of the “Dream Job” show.
Back in Aspen later this past fall, Rubinson pitched GrassRoots with an idea for the “Aspen Sports Update,” a highlight show from the week that was in Aspen High School sports. GrassRoots bought it, she said.
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“Then I came back to New York for a week or so to settle up my life here and move back to Aspen, and I read about this nationwide ESPN casting call. I thought, ‘Wow, that’s bizarre considering I’d just decided what I wanted to do with my life ” get into broadcasting. It was a longshot ” there were thousands of applicants ” but I auditioned … and got called back for the third round of auditions and eventually they picked 12 of us to do the show.”
In the meantime, Rubinson came back to Aspen to launch “Aspen Sports Update” ” “which is a little catchier than the Lori Rubinson Show,” she chuckled.
Hosted by regular SportsCenter anchor Stuart Scott, the “Dream Job” program debuted last Sunday with the first of six finalists. A panel of four judges, including venerable sports journalist Tony Kornheiser, as well as Internet voting by the public that counts for a fifth vote, will eliminate one participant after each show. Last Sunday, the first of the 12 finalists was cut.
On Sunday, when the second batch of six finalists take the air, a second would-be broadcaster will be cut.
“Generally speaking, we’re in the dark about what’s going to happen,” she said. “They took the first six people and had them write up highlights [last Sunday],” two-minute segments over a half-hour earlier in the day, “and then at night they had to sit down and deliver the highlights using the Teleprompter and monitor.”
Since Internet voters count for one vote, Rubinson has appealed to the local populous: “Tell Aspen people that the whole point is to vote someone off ” so don’t vote for me.”
Contestants on the show cannot have professional broadcasting experience, but Rubinson says several of her rivals worked for college TV stations. She counts her experience at GrassRoots as a big asset.
“There’s no question, having done GrassRoots, it makes me a little bit more comfortable in front of the camera. Obviously, it’s a little different at GrassRoots with Corby Anderson [the station manager] on the headphones versus having a couple million people watching and having Stuart Scott standing next to you. But I really, really appreciate the opportunity the folks at GrassRoots gave me to be able to do this,” she said.
“It being a reality-type TV show, that was one thing that made me hesitate” during the audition process, Rubinson continued. “I think I’m the last person to go out for a reality show. But this is my dream job and I thought it was worth it. And, it’s not a reality show in the sense of them caring what we look like in our pajamas or making us eat worms. It’s all related to ESPN and sportscasting.
“And obviously I’m playing to win, but if I don’t I’d absolutely try to put together a reel and look for an opportunity to do this elsewhere.”