After thirty years as a network television sportscaster, and with a vast array of credits in television, radio, movies and the internet, Jim Lampley is one of America’s most accomplished sports broadcasters. Along with his ex-wife Bree Walker Lampley, he also runs a successful entertainment production company in Hollywood and has begun to expand his career in commentary beyond the boundaries of sports into politics and public affairs. His journey has been blessed by an unusual variety of firsts, onlys and somethings entirely different.
Right now, Jim is best known for his work on HBO Boxing telecasts. In seventeen years, he’s called more than three hundred championship fights, and for his work on that telecast in 2004 he is one of the five 2005 nominees for the Best Play By Play Emmy Award. Calling the fights and helping to host the Olympics on NBC are Lampley's only on-air television commitments now, as he moves the bulk of his career to the producing side. Lampley is also committed to joining a new group blog spearheaded by progressive social activist Arianna Huffington and featuring such other leading lights as Norman Mailer, David Mamet, David Geffen and many others from the cutting edge of American culture. The blog is to be called The Huffington Post.
Lampley’s production company first completed the feature film WELCOME TO HOLLYWOOD, debuting in theaters summer of 2000 and then later on HBO and Cinemax. The mock-doc flick follows the artfully unconstructed star-trip failure of one Nick Decker, who seeks the Hollywood high wire and trips over about forty legitimate movie stars on the way down. The company has a variety of other theatrical and television film projects set up and underway, including an HBO original film project on John L. Sullivan set to star Dylan McDermott as the Great John L.: a book adaptation about slavery and the young Mark Twain, currently in development at Dreamworks and to be directed by Barry Levinson; an award-winning avante garde documentary about high school football in Eastern Pennsylvania titled THE LAST GAME, now in general video distribution; an original movie for FX Network about Curt Flood, the St. Louis Cardinal centerfielder who sued baseball for the removal of illegal labor restrictions and changed the history of sports; a one-hour drama pilot for FX set in the world of heavyweight boxing; and a partnership with PUNK'D producer David Frantzke to develop THE SKIP LIGHTNING SHOW, a comic sendup of television sports which would star Lampley in the title role.
In addition to the lengthy development slate at Crystal Spring, Lmapley and his partners are joining with celebrated filmmaker Ron Shelton to form a new company, Knockout Pictures, which will specialize in the making of sports-based entertainment projects for both televison and motion picture distribution. The new company is already negotiating for video rights to the wrold's largest unexposed library of classic big fight films.
Jim Lampley first appeared on national television in 1974. He was chosen from a talent hunt to help inaugurate a new role called the “college age reporter” on ABC’s national telecasts of college football. Lampley concluded graduate school at the University of North Carolina, and a few weeks later launched the first of three seasons spent prowling the sidelines in Birmingham, Columbus, Lincoln, Ann Arbor, and so forth. It set him up for a thirteen-year matriculation at ABC Sports, working football, baseball, Wide World of Sports and five Olympic Games.
In 1987 Lampley left ABC and went to work for CBS in Los Angeles. In the next five years he anchored sports and then, for three and a half years, the 6:00 and 11:00 news at KCBS-TV; functioned as the sports correspondent for “CBS This Morning” in New York; took over hosting boxing and Wimbledon for HBO; hosted sports talk radio shows on WFAN in New York and KMPC in Los Angeles; and went to the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics as a news anchor.
In 1992 Jim Lampley went to work for NBC Sports, for whom he hosted golf and NFL football in 1993 and 1994, and anchored late night Olympic coverage at Barcelona and Atlanta. In 1995, he added reporting on the magazine show “Realsports” to his duties at HBO, and on that program twice won the Emmy Award for Best Sports Journalism, along with a third Emmy for writing. In 1998, he anchored the Nagano Winter Olympics and the Goodwill Games for Turner Sports. He went to Sydney in 2000 and Salt Lake City in 2002 to anchor literally hundreds of hours of programming for MSNBC and CNBC. His appearance as NBC daytime host in Athens last summer marked his twelfth Olympic assignment as a broadcaster, duplicating the number attended by ABC’s Jim McKay. He is arranging with NBC now to host from the studio again at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy and the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.
Jim Lampley has four children ranging in age from thirteen to twenty-five and lives most of the time in Southern California.