Michael Strahan gets back in the game as host of the inaugural Kids’ Choice Sports Awards

What does it take to pull off a live TV event like the inaugural Nick Kids’ Choice Sports awards? The event airs tomorrow at 8p on Nickelodeon and features host Michael Strahan, Legend Award winner David Beckham, Pharrell and Florida Georgia Line, and CynKids got the playbook from producers Jay Schmalholz and Shelly Sumpter Gillyard. Here’s seven things I learned about the inaugural KCS:

1. The sports world affords a very narrow window where athletes from all sectors can gather. Their schedule dictated the timing of Kids’ Choice Sports.
2. Nickelodeon created a sports council comprising performers, athletes and agents to helped network execs suss out some of the categories. It’s a mixed bag of straight-up sports honors and tongue-in-cheek kudos like King and Queen of Swag.
3. This event will also go green. In unexpected ways. “Slime is a big part of the Kids’ Choice DNA,” says Schmalholz. “With this show we have the ability to tie it into sports. Without giving away too much, we can look forward to athletes triggering the slime.”
4. You don’t have to be a sports freak to get into the action. “We wanted to cast the net wide,” Gillyard says. “With the voting, there were entry points for kids so that even if you’re not a big sports fan you could get vested in the event. “
5. Halftime is big. Florida Georgia line will take the stage, and the Verizon Power Dunk challenge, between NFL stars Larry Fitzgerald and Earl Thomas III, will commence. Voters will determine in real time what’s in the tankmaple syrup, whipped cream or slime.
6. One lucky kid gets to be part of the action. After hosting tryouts at the Culver City mall this week, the kid with the best arm gets the chance to sink a half-court shot, live, as part of the halftime showand take home $50,000.
7. The producers are really embracing the live crowd. For the first time at a Nick event, fan bags are being placed on every seat full of things to participate in the show like rally towels, foam mohawks and light-up wristbands.

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