By Randy Mastronicola, Portraits by Ian Bailey
CHARISSA HAS BEEN IN THE PUBLIC eye for twelve years and she has become one of the most recognizable television hosts and broadcasters on the sports and entertainment landscape today. The road was not always smooth but in many ways—it was. Charissa’s career path has given her the opportunity to cover a lot of terrain.
She was raised in Seattle, Washington. Hence, her lifelong passion for all things Seattle sports. Charissa graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara and deftly made her way to FOX Sports. Her goal was always to be an on-air personality. She smartly accepted a position in the company’s human resources department—because, well, how many recent college grads walk in the door and get hired as a sports television host?
Charissa found ways to work on her craft and network at the network by nudging her way into the highlights department quarters and she learned some of how it all went down—like logging video and how to edit game clips. She stayed with it, made her bones and was eventually offered a gig as a fill-in host on a Colorado Rockies all-access show. FOX took note of the ease and breeze of her skills in front of a camera and she was ready to take off.
Her career progressed nicely as she navigated through hosting duties at Yahoo Sports as she expanded her sports coverage profile. Charissa worked her way through some of the world’s biggest stage sporting events like the 2010 Winter Olympics, FIFA World Cup, Super Bowl XLV and the BCS National Championship.
ESPN CAME CALLING.She co-hosted Numbers Never Lie and filled-in on a number of other shows for the network. She stayed at ESPN for three years and honed her skills and developed into one of the most keenly watched up and coming sports personalities in the game. It was evident she would become a star. Her earthy demeanor belied her model/actress good looks and that made her even more accessible to male viewership. Her appeal went beyond “off the charts” because her sports knowledge was organic to her personality and she gained credibility because of that.
In 2014, Charissa joined Mario Lopez and Tracy Edmonds as a co-host on the nightly syndicated entertainment show Extra. She was able to reinforce her belief that she could integrate her two areas of broadcasting interest and work in both the entertainment and sports realms.
Charissa has proven herself to be one of the most well-liked and entertaining personalities working in sports television. FOX Sports has proven to be her enduring professional home as well. She is currently the host of the FOX NFL Kickoff each Sunday morning. Charissa’s duties on the broadcast showcase her versatility as a moderator and interviewer. Quite simply, she leads the pack as host.
How do you feel about your career progression at FOX Sports, seems like your role is constantly expanding?
To have my position—I’m very appreciative to be a FOX employee and to have a seat at the table. I feel like it’s an exclusive club to be able to work in that space. Growing up, viewing Sunday football with my father—that was my church and to now call it my profession is a privilege. I keep wondering when security will carry me out. [Laughs]
I started at FOX in human resources after college in 2006. What I’ve done is not lost on me. Don’t tell this to my agent but I’d do this for free. [Laughs
The arc of an athlete’s career—basically, you peak in your late twenties and then you are past your prime in your midthirties— you seem to really be hitting your stride.
That’s an interesting way of giving up my age. [Laughs] It’s taken me twelve years to get to this point. I use a lot of concealer. [Laughs] Just like an athlete, you have to work and expand your craft. That’s why I’ve made efforts throughout my career to bridge entertainment and sports coverage. I remember Michael Strahan when he was still playing and how he took a position on the Best Damn Sports Show Period. He was lining it up beyond his playing career. Looking forward to his next career move and that made an impression on me.
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