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Lisa Guerrero, Sportscaster with Style
An Internview with Lisa Guerrero by Rachel L. Miller

Since this article ran in 2002, Lisa Guerrero has been been added to the Monday Night Football roster, as the sideline reporter for the top-rated ABC Sports show.

"Lisa will be a terrific addition to 'Monday Night Football'," said George Bodenheimer, president, ABC Sports. "I'm very confident that she will have great chemistry with John and Al, and with her knowledge and experience covering the NFL, she will provide great insights about the game and its players."

Al Michaels, one of TV's most respected journalists, has been the play-by-play voice for MNF since 1986. "Lisa will be a great asset to 'Monday Night Football," said Michaels. "Living in Los Angeles, I am very familiar with her work, and she will bring to the show a first-rate knowledge of the NFL, combined with inquisitiveness and vibrancy. I've watched her develop into a top-notch reporter and am delighted she will be joining us for what I know will be a successful run," he added.

Lisa Guerrero
Photo © 2000 Fernando Escobar

You probably recognize Lisa Guerrero.

If you're a sports fan, the striking brunette may look familiar from her daily update anchor position on Fox Sports Net's The Best Damn Sports Show Period.

Or perhaps you've seen her doing her weekend job of reporting the latest sports news on L.A.'s KTTV-FOX 11. Maybe you recognize her from yet another sports job — reporting nightside for FOX Extra Innings and FOX Overtime?

Or maybe she made a lasting impression when she posed a difficult question to Dennis Rodman during a press conference, leaving him crying and her fellow sports journalists stunned?

Still no? Not a sports fan, you say?

Well, then, chances are you've seen Guerrero play evil Francesca Varga on Aaron Spellings' Sunset Beach, or travel to Egypt with Hugh Downs as the reporter for the network special Live From Egypt - Opening the Tombs of the Golden Mummies.

Or, still, you could've caught Guerrera in a guest spot on a television show such as In the Heat of the Night, Cybil, Matlock and Frasier.

Oh yeah, and there's still over 200 commercials to her credit.....

Whew. So it might just be stating the obvious to say that Lisa Guerrero is working pretty much non-stop, putting in 12-hour days on the Best Damn Sports Show Period, weekends for KTTV-FOX 11 and some nights for Fox Extra Innings and Fox Overtime.

At the moment, she's focusing primarily on her sports reporting career, which has skyrocketed in the past few years.

Lisa Guerrero"Sportscasting has gone really well," Guerrero said. "Since I left Sunset Beach, it's been non-stop. All that growth happened really fast, and at the rate it's going, I want to stick with it."

But there are more choices looming on the horizon for Guerrero as her career in sportscasting continues to grow.

"In terms of broadcasting, you have to make decisions about where you want to spend your time," Guerrero admits. "When I'm anchoring, I miss chasing stories in the field. Finding balance in the biggest challenge."

One of Guerrero's first challenges when entering the industry was gaining the respect of the athletes she was assigned to interview.

"I was so afraid that the athletes wouldn't talk to me because I'm a woman," she remembers of her first sports reporting job in Boston. "You just have to hope that they'll grant you an interview. Athletes don't want to talk to you, it's the least favorite part of their job. So the hardest part is actually getting the interview."

And sometimes being a female sports reporter doesn't help in this male-dominated industry.

"There's that initial reticence for some athletes to take you seriously. Constantly there's a credibility issue; you're judged on how you look. If you look good, people assume you aren't credible. It's a battle you'll always fight if you're on TV and a female."

As she wrote in her recent website journal, "When I first began sports reporting in 1992, a TV executive suggested that I cut my hair short, wear conservative suits, lose the lip-gloss and stop smiling. 'After all,' he said, 'you need to be CREDIBLE.' As if credibility goes hand in hand with looking like a lacrosse coach."

(You tell 'em, girl!)

Guerrero is quick to add that in recent years, with female reporters no longer being an oddity in the locker rooms, it's not as big as an issue as it used to be 20 years ago.

Lisa Guerrero
Photo © 2000 Fernando Escobar

Plus, she's already proven that she can run with the pack, if not ahead of them, by landing exclusive interviews and breaking stories. Case in point: Guerrero interviewed Shaquille O'Neal last year during his media boycott and broke the news that he wouldn't participate in the 2001 NBA All-Star Game.

However, her hard work and preparation would amount to little if not coupled with her passion for sports, which developed at an early age.

Guerrero attended numerous sporting events as a child, alongside her father and brother, taking a special interest in football and baseball. A born athlete, Guerrero excelled in softball, playing first base and lending a hand at the pitching mound as well.

After Guerrero's mother died when she was 8, Guerrero's father placed her in theater therapy to help her deal with the trauma. In record time, she quickly developed yet another love: the love of acting. And as she grew up, both passions played a large part in her life, finally merging when Guerrero joined the Los Angeles Rams cheerleading squad in the mid-80s.

From there, she served as entertainment director for the Atlanta Falcons before going on to hold similar positions for the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams.

And it was while working for the Patriots that she got her big break into sportscasting.

"I was at WEEI, a sports radio station in Boston, talking with the morning sports guy," Guerrero remembers. "'You should be on TV,' he told me. 'I want to produce your show.'"

And he followed through with not only a weekly TV show on Sports Channel - New England, but also a correspondant position at WEEI.

"That led to getting an agent, moving back to L.A., and things happened pretty fast," Guerrero said. "I don't have a broadcast degree — I didn't pursue this in a traditional sense."

Then came the day which validated both of her long-standing dreams. She was offered a sports reporting job at KCBS and a lead role on Sunset Beach — both on the same day.

"I was a ball of tears," she said. "As an actor, you work hard for years to get a steady gig. When that came along the same day as the reporting job, it was a culmination of many years of work. On that day, my dad said that I should go out and buy a lotto ticket."

So for the year of 1999, Guerrero worked non-stop, without a single day off. Fifty-one weeks of work. No weekends off.

"I was working Monday through Friday for Sunset Beach, memorizing 20 to 30 pages of lines a night, then turning around and doing the reporting job on weekends," Guerrero says. "For that year, I didn't have a life. Didn't go on a date, didn't go out with friends."

But being a workaholic had its definite perks. Before she knew it, Guerrero was meeting and interviewing some of her childhood idols.

"I always idolized Tommy Lasorda; I thought he was bigger than life," she remembers. "He was the first interview I ever did and I was really, really nervous. Ultimately, he educated me. I've interviewed him six or seven times since and he is still the person who has impressed me the most."

Probably one of the instances in Guerrero's career that most impressed the industry was when she asked the question that was on everyone's mind during a L.A. press conference for Dennis Rodman.

"It was pretty wild," she says with a laugh. "Rodman was vascilating whether or not to sign with the Lakers. He had spent three weeks of toying with the media, with the Lakers, so he called a press conference at Planet Hollywood. There's no Lakers personnel there, just Dennis Rodman, his entourage and (wife at the time) Carmen Electra.

"He's 45 minutes late, which will make everyone else late for their deadlines, and make me late for returning back to the soap opera. He's filthy, dropping 'f-bombs' and talking about masturbating with Carmen Electra," Guerrero says with disgust. "And this was all being carried live on ESPN."

"He basically said he hadn't made a decision; he just wanted to see if we would all show up," she continues. "He said that if he signs with the Lakers and becomes a distraction, he'll quit."

And then it was Guerrero's moment to shine — to say what everyone else was thinking.

"I asked him, 'Aren't you a distraction already?' Then I called him selfish. Everyone was silent for a moment. I was wearing this pink suit, sitting in the back row. People probably thought I was reporting for Entertainment Tonight," she adds. "And he looked at me, silent. Then he just started crying, saying, 'I'm not selfish.'"

Rodman left the podium and ended the press conference, leaving the audience stunned. Fellow journalists rushed to Guerrero, asking if the whole situation was some sort of stunt, if it was planned in advance.

Lisa Guerrero
Photo © 2000 Fernando Escobar

Of course it wasn't, but the incident was enough to land Guerrero in the public eye, and stir up interest in this gorgeous, brainy reporter — both the L.A. Times and Sports Illustrated published articles about her shortly after the press conference.

And the recoginition hasn't stopped since. Although she's not currently acting, Guerrero is looking for the right opportunity to prompt her return.

"I will always consider myself an actress, whether or not I'm on a show or in a film," she said. "I will definitely find a time to get back into it. And I do miss it."

But until her contract is up with Fox in May, she's more than content to keep asking the tough questions, dig in for the next big sports story, and take an occasional drive up the coast in her BMW Z3 convertible.

When she finds the time, that is.