Harvard Grad Loses In ESPN Finale

America spoke, and so did the judges.

Harvard grad Grant Thompson ’98 will not be the newest Sportscenter anchor.

After 11 weeks of competition on ESPN’s flagship reality show, last night’s “Dream Job” season finale pitted Thompson, 28, against 22-year-old David Holmes of Uniontown, Ohio. The prize for the winner is a one-year on-air contract with ESPN.

Thompson, who has been working as a screenwriter and actor in Los Angeles, tripped up while hosting his closing “My SportsCenter” segment.

It is standard practice for the show to throw obstacles at competitors. In his case, ESPN blanked the teleprompter while Thompson introduced Spurs-Heat highlights from last night.


Flustered, Thompson—who had won over judges and online voters over the weeks with his poise—never fully recovered.

“That was not the Grant Thompson we’re accustomed to seeing,” said Al Jaffe, an ESPN executive and panelist on the show.

“I wasn’t very impressed,” ESPN television analyst Stephen A. Smith said.

A late push—including a strong on-air interview of New England Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest—helped Thompson stay in the game.

His earlier victory against Holmes in the sports trivia segment gave him cause for hope.

In the end, his finale mistakes were too much to overcome.

Jaffe, Smith, ESPN “Cold Pizza” host Kit Hoover and the online voting public all opted to cut Thompson.

ESPN Around the Horn panelist Woody Paige voted against Holmes, saying he chose to consider the candidates’ body of work spanning the whole season.

A visibly gracious Thompson congratulated Holmes as confetti fell from the studio ceiling.