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UC Magazine

TV connections with University of Cincinnati alumni, p. 4

Sports commentators on TV

Cris Collinsworth speaking at a College of Law event.

Cris Collinsworth speaking at a UC College of Law event.

Cris Collinsworth, JD ’91

Analyst, TV host, Emmy-winning sports broadcaster, former NFL player with the Cincinnati Bengals ('81-88). He won 12 Sports Emmy Awards, including a record eight Emmy Awards for Outstanding Sports Studio Analyst and four Emmys for Outstanding Event Analyst.

  • “Inside the NFL” ('09-present, HBO)
  • "NFL Pro Bowl" (’14, ’13, ’10, ’09 commentator)
  • "NBC Sunday Night Football" ('07-13, for which he received the ’11 Emmy for Outstanding Event Analyst, his fourth in that category. The show is NBC’s highest-rated prime-time series.)
  • "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (’13, ’11, ’10 & ’06)
  • "NFL Characters Unite" (’12 documentary, playing himself)
  • "Super Bowl XLVI" (’13, commentator)
  • "Mike & Mike" (’12, guest)
  • "Inside the Vault" (’11 TV series)
  • "Madden NFL" (’11, ’10, ’09)
  • "XXI Winter Olympics" (’10, Vancouver)
  • "Rome Is Burning" (’08-09 TV series)
  • "Entertainment Tonight" (’08)
  • "NFL Thursday Night Football" (’06, announcer)
  • "Costas Now" (’05, three appearances)
  • "Super Bowl XXXIX" (’05, commentator)
  • "Fox NFL Sunday” (’03)
  • "XXIX Summer Olympics" (’08, Beijing)
  • "Entertainment Tonight" ('08)
  • "NFL Thursday Night Football" ('06)
  • "Super Bowl XXXIX" ('05, commentator)
  • "Big Game XXIX: Bugs vs. Daffy" (’01, TV special,  pre-game/halftime commentator)
  • "Big Game XXVIII: Road Runner vs. Coyote" (’00, TV special, pre-game/halftime commentator)
  • "Guinness World Records: Primetime" (’98, host)
  • "AFC Championship Game" (’97 & ’96)
  • "Wimbledon" (’94 mini-series, reporter)
  • Super Bowl XXIII & XVI (’89 & ’82, as a Bengals wide receiver)

Lewis Johnson wearing headphones while broadcasting.

Lewis Johnson, Univ ’86

Sports reporter and commentator covering track and field for both NBC and ESPN, as well as college football for NBCSN. Named one of 2012's Best Sideline Reporters by SI.com for his work with NBC. Founder of Lewis Johnson Media Group. UC Hall of Famer competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1988 and ’92, competed professionally in Europe for seven years, then transitioned into broadcasting with ABC Sports and ESPN in 1993.

  • XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia  (’14, reporter covering bobsled, luge and skeleton sled)
  • Indoor USA Track & Field Championship Series (13, on-air emcee)
  • Athletes in Action Super Bowl Breakfast (’13, special guest)
  • ING New York City Marathon (’13, on-air emcee, ESPN, marathon sponsored by the Internationale Nederlanden Groep financial institution)
  • NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship (’13, Atlanta, on-air emcee, Turner Sports/CBS Sports)
  • NCAA Division II & III Men's Basketball Championship (’13, Atlanta, on-air emcee, CBS Sports)
  • XXX Summer Olympics in London (’12, marathon reporter)
  • USA Track and Field's Jesse Owens Awards (’12, co-host)
  • XXI Winter Olympics in Vancouver (’10, reporter covering of bobsled, luge and skeleton, as well as helping to navigate the tragic story of the Georgian luge athlete who lost his life in a training-run accident and the triumphant saga of America’s triumphant gold medal-winning team in the four-man bobsled
  • NFL’s “Football Night in America” (several appearances on NBC’s pre-game show)
  • “Friday Night Lights” (’10, TV Series, playing a newspaper reporter)
  • XXIX Summer Olympics in Beijing (’08, track-and-field reporter)
  • XX Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy (’06, alpine-skiing reporter)
  • Toyota Gator Bowl (’06 and ’04, sideline reporter)
  • XXVIII Summer OIympics in Athens (’04, diving and track-and-field reporter )
  • NBA All-Star Game (’02, sideline reporter)
  • XIX Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City (’02, Special Features Unit reporter covering Opening and Closing Ceremonies, bobsledding and speed skating, including a feature on gold-medal-winning U.S. speed skater Derek Parra’s visit to Home Depot, where he worked while training, and an interview with bobsledder Vonetta Flowers, who became the first African-American athlete to win a gold medal at a Winter Olympics
  • NBA All-Star Game (’01, sideline reporter)
  • XXVII Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia (’00, track-and-field analyst who twice joined Bob Costas in the studio to report on breaking news: 1) U.S. shot-putter C.J. Hunter’s pre-Games positive doping charge and 2) French sprinter Maria Jose-Perec's mysterious disappearance into Australia


Tony Trabert

Tony Trabert

Tony Trabert, A&S ’52, HonDoc '07

TV co-host and featured guest. Won the NCAA singles title while at UC, then captured three of the four Grand Slam singles titles in 1955 -- the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

  • "Hall of Fame: Golden Anniversary" ('04)
  • "ESPN SportsCentury" ('01)
  • "Hart to Hart" ('80, playing himself on this TV series)
  • "Celebrity Tennis" ('74-78, co-host)
  • "The Ed Sullivan Show" ('55)

Cara Hannah Sullivan, Cler '97, MFA (CCM) '02

Emmy-winning wigmaker, hairdresser.

  • NBC's "Saturday Night Live" (won the 2013 Emmy for “Outstanding Hairstyling for a Multi-Camera Series or Special,” along with her SNL team, for episodes hosted by Jennifer Lawrence and Zooey Deschanel; also nominated for an Emmy in 2011)
  • “The Normal Heart” (2014, HBO movie starring Julia Roberts and Mark Ruffalo)
  • "Today Show"
  • "Late Night with Conan O'Brien"
  • "Access Hollywood"


Cindy Chiang Halvorsen, Eng ’04

Senior associate brand manager at Kraft Foods in Chicago

  • "The Amazing Race" winner with then-fiancé Ernie Halvorsen (one of 11 couples who, on  Sept. 25, '11, began racing 40,000 miles through 10 countries)

Note: UC’s 2002 homecoming queen, Cindy won $1 million in prize money, which she and Ernie said they would use to create a worldwide charity to help people in need. At UC, she was a UC Honors student, creator of Camp Bearcat, recipient of the '04 Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence and a Cincinnatus scholarship winner.


Asha Daniels, DAAP ’13

Fashion designer.

  • “Under the Gunn” competitor (’13, season one of Tim Gunn’s ”Project Runaway spin-off on the Lifetime channel)

On one episode she won the weekly competition for a performance outfit she designed for teen pop star Zendaya, and which Zendaya wore at one of her concerts.

LINK: Read original story and update story.


Rodney Van Johnson, Ed '85

Actor. UC Track and Field Hall of Fame.

  • "Raising Whitley" (’13-present, Oprah Winfrey Channel, reality show in which he has been a surrogate father to a good friend’s adopted son — on the show and in real life; new episodes with him begin Jan. '15)


* RodneyVanJohnson.pdf
Download a copy of UC Magazine's 1997 story on Rodney Van Johnson.

Molly O'Connolly, A&S ’00s

Co-host and paranormal investigator, working as part of a crew traveling around the world to locate historic spirits with bone-chilling secrets.

  • "Killer Contact" (series premiered in SyFy channel December 2013)


Jay Peterson, M (A&A) '98

Assistant English professor at Atlantic Cape Community College in southern New Jersey, appeared on two episodes of a popular TV game show, meaning he won one episode.

  • "Jeopardy!" (Oct. 20-21, 2011, winning $26,201)


  • Read a story about Peterson's TV appearance.
  • Watch the show through the "Jeopardy!" archive.

Michelle Yi, DAAP '07

Fashion design senior appeared in the following:

  • "Survivor: Fiji" (Feb. '07, CBS)

Note: Although she was voted out on day 22 in episode nine, Yi said, ''Survivor has been an amazing experience. I think I'm just affirmed that I know what kind of person I am and I know what I'm capable of, and that I'm just as strong as I thought."

LINK: Read "UC Magazine" article in which the CCM electronic media chair discusses reality TV.

Althea Harper, DAAP '08

Fashion designer. Judged for her ability to design fashions within certain restrictions, she was one of the three finalists in "Project Runway." Afterward, she began managing her own fashion line.

  • "Project Runway" ('09, Lifetime TV series w/host Tim Gunn)

Bob Gordon, CCM '75, MBA '77

Producer specializing in live shows, president of Gordon Television Group and assistant professor at Middle Tennessee State University. He produced the following:

  • "Daniel O'Donnell Live from Nashville" (’11 PBS concert special) Watch a trailer here.
  • “Gospel Music Association Dove Music Awards” (six productions of the live show, 1993-96, ‘01, ’10)
  • "The Chieftains: Down the Old Plank Road — The Nashville Sessions" (’03, PBS concert/documentary featuring The Chieftains, Martina McBride, Ricky Skaggs, Earl Scruggs, Emmylou Harris, Allison Krauss and others — available on DVD)
  • “Nashville Celebrates Elvis” (’08, benefit concert featuring Wynonna, Amy Grant, Vince Gill, Pat Boone, B.J. Thomas, Ronnie McDowell and Elvis' original and Vegas bands)
  • Chonda Pierce (comedy concert DVDs of her shows “Staying Alive … Laughing,” ’07; "A Piece of My Mind,” ’06; "Be Afraid … Be Very Afraid,” ’02; and "Best Bits,” ’06.)
  • Barbara Mandrell (’97, final career concert for TNN, plus another TNN special and a home DVD performance)
  • Alabama’s “Christmas Greetings” (’96 concert taped for TNN, The Nashville Network)
  • "Chet Atkins and Friends — Live" (’87 Cinemax concert, featuring Mark Knopfler, Michael McDonald, Everly Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings — re-released on PBS and available on DVD)
  • "Willie Nelson/Wrangler Jeans Music Invitational" (‘86, filmed for TNN)

LINK: See his Alumni Dream Job submission.

Ken Tankersley, Ed '78, MA (A&S) '82

Assistant professor of archaeology and an archaeologist. Since 2007, he as been a consultant for the History Channel, National Geographic Television and the Discovery Channel. He was previously a consultant for Nova, Animal Planet and the Natural History Unit, British Broadcasting Corporation. His  work has been featured in the following medial outlets:

  • PBS
  • National Geographic Channel
  • Discovery Channel
  • History Channel
  • Animal Planet
  • BBC
  • NOVA
  • All Things Considered
  • Science
  • National Geographic News
  • Wall Street Journal
  • New Yorker magazine
  • Scientific American

LINK: Read his entire profile.  

Betsy Werbel, CCM '96

Broadway actress.

  • HGTV’s “Dear Genevieve” (’12, episode titled "Enchanted Living Room" in which the show remade the living room of her new New York apartment)

LINK: See her Broadway credits.

Shantia "Tia" Pearson, Ed '08
Rose Valentino, Ed '05
Mandy Curfiss, Ed '02

All three work for the Cincinnati police department. Sgt. Pearson is an Iraq War veteran. Officer Valentino works the midnight shift in Over-the-Rhine. Officer Curfiss is a former victims' advocate in the Prosecutor's office.

  • Starring on "Police Women of Cincinnati," TLC's reality-based docu-series premiered in January 2011.

Alex Linz, CAHS '05

  • "The Amazing Race: Family Edition" ('05, Linz won the $1 million race, competing with his three Cincinnati siblings, Tommy, Nick and Megan)

Andrew Savage, JD '88

-- A Chicago attorney

Lillian Morris, Bus '80

-- A Cincinnati Boy Scout leader

  • CBS's "Survivor: Pearl Islands" ('03, both were castaways in the 13-week show)

Dave Abbott, CCM '79

A musician and contract manager

  • "Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions" ('99, annual championship winner, qualified after winning on five consecutive nights)

Scott Caudill, A&S '83

Administrative manager for MTV Networks

  • '01 Super Bowl halftime show (responsible for organizing and transporting 3,000 teen-agers to appear on the field for the 'N Sync and Aerosmith show)

Note: Also worked with NBC Sports' Olympics units for the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea; the '92 games in Barcelona; and the '96 games in Atlanta.

Lindsey Hall, CCM '04


  • "Jimmy Kimmel Live" ('09)

Melissa Wehrman, DAAP '01

Featured bachelorette, eliminated at end of second episode of the following show:

  • "For Love or Money" (NBC's summer '03 reality dating show that awarded $1 million to a winning bachelorette)

a Mark Hutker home

Mark Hutker, DAAP '82

Architect. Designed one of the featured homes, '08 inductee into the New England Design Hall of Fame. Visit Mark's website. In November-December 2010, Hutker Architects was included in Residential Architect magazine’s list of the "50 architects we love."

  • "Top 10 Most Amazing Homes" (HGTV, '03)

LINK: See the UC Magazine story on Hutker.

Televised opera performances


Barbara Daniels, MM '71, HonDoc ’93

Soprano opera singer.

  • Puccini's ''La Fanciulla del West'' ('92 TV movie, starring Daniels and Plácido Domingo)
  • "Il Matrimonio Segreto" ('86 TV movie, starring Daniels and the Cologne Opera)
  • Handel's "Agrippina" ('85 TV movie, starring Daniels)
  • "Metropolitan Opera Centennial Gala" ('83 TV special)

LINK: See her opera credits.

Kim Criswell singing into a microphone, wearing an evening dress.

Kim Criswell, CCM '79

Vocalist, recording artist, actress living in London. Her '92 London appearance in "Annie Get Your Gun" earned her a Laurence Olivier Award nomination as Best Actress in a Musical. Since then, she has made London her home. In 1989, she received a Helen Hayes Award for her performance in "Side By Side By Sondheim" in Washington. Two of her albums, "Anything Goes" and "Annie Get Your Gun," earned Grammy nominations.

  • "BBC Proms" ('09-10, a vocalist on three episodes of this TV series)
  • "So You Think You Can Dance" ('09 Fox TV series, performer)
  • "Richard Rodgers: Some Enchanted Evening" ('02 TV special documentary)


Kathleen Battle, CCM '70, MM '71, HonDoc '83

Soprano opera singer.

  • "Kathleen Battle at the Metropolitan Museum" ('93 TV special, nominated for a primetime Emmy, Outstanding Classical Program in the Performing Arts)

LINK: See her opera credits.

Larry Patterspm

Larry Patterson, A&S '66

Producer. Won an Emmy award for the following:

  • Special on the Houston Grand Opera's production of "Treemonisha"


All Famous Alumni categories …

-- page compiled by Deborah Rieselman / updated 10-14