First but Not the Last: Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer on Being the NFL's Only Female Broadcasting Duo
For four consecutive seasons, Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer have commanded the booth for Amazon Prime Video's coverage of Thursday Night Football.
They also continue to be the only all-female broadcasting team to lead a primetime NFL night since 2018, when they made history as the first female duo to call a professional football game.
But that title is only the latest bullet point on their long list of firsts.
Storm, 59, has been with ESPN since 2008, anchoring its long-running SportsCenter program. Her resumé is impressively stacked with years at NBC Sports and CBS News as host of The Early Show (2002-2007) as well as CNN (1989-1992), where she was the first female host of CNN Sports Tonight.
Kremer, 62, was ESPN's first female correspondent starting in 1989. She was with the network through 2006, appearing on SportsCenter, Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown. These days, Kremer — who won the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award in 2018 — is the chief correspondent for the NFL Network and marking 15 years with HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.
"I literally can't think of where two women are broadcasting entire seasons of any major sport anywhere on the planet and certainly not for four seasons," Storm tells PEOPLE about her role at Prime Video alongside co-host and friend Kremer.
"You can go through every major sport, and it just isn't being done. It might be done once a season or once in history for a sport, but there's no sport other than football on Amazon where two women are broadcasting for a full, entire season, for four seasons in a row. It just hasn't been done. It's really amazing," Storm says.
While Kremer jokes: "Very simply, man, I hope I'm not walking into a broadcast booth in 20 years on a darn walker. So I hope that 20 or so years from now, there's going to be many more women that have earned the opportunity to do what Hannah and I do."
Storm and Kremer tell PEOPLE about their history-making feat with Amazon Prime Video, longevity in their storied careers, and being examples for the next generation of female broadcasters.
How do you feel about still being the only female broadcasting team covering the NFL?
HS: It's important that we're doing it for a fourth-straight season because I think the sustainability and longevity of us being able to do this makes it so much more impactful. I think if we were doing this as a one-off, or just for a short period of time, it would feel more … almost like a gimmick or like a publicity stunt than a real, viable broadcasting option. The fact that we've done it for four years is not only, obviously, a validation of our hard work and the fact that the Prime subscribers like what we're doing, but at the same time, it just lays this out as a real, true career option for people who might be interested in doing something like this. I love it in that regard.
AK: I'm very proud that we are the only all-female booth to call NFL games, but on the other hand, it's not so easy that anybody could do it. That also is an important point to make, that not everybody can sit there and do what we do. In my assessment, in a third of the way through our fourth year, is that Hannah and I just continue to be a great team. I feel like we complement each other so well and we play to each other's strengths. We trust each other. I think it's such an important message in this day and age, when — I hate to say it especially in a male-dominated profession — I always feel like men wait for women to be catty with each other. We are two women who support each other, trust each other and genuinely love each other. I think that's a pretty cool dynamic that we bring not only to our personal lives, but I think it comes out in our broadcast.
Amazon Prime Video will take over exclusive streaming of Thursday Night Football full-time next season. As two broadcasting veterans, how has working on a streaming platform been different?
HS: I love both the broadcast side, obviously which is my entire career, and the streaming side. With Amazon in particular, what's really different is that what we do is not necessarily tied to ratings per se, although it's important to understand the breadth of the people that we reach. It is tied to the Prime subscribers in the sense that they have to be happy with what we're doing. They have to be interested in what we're doing, and they have to see us as something that they find that they want to search out. And so, because of that, because people who click on Storm-Kremer are people who really want to watch us, we sort of have this built-in reservoir of goodwill. ... I love the freedom of what we've been able to do in terms of actually what so many people did have to do during the pandemic, which is broadcast remotely. Obviously, we've been able to do that now for four years, and that has been tremendous because it's afforded, for me personally, a lot of flexibility in my schedule.
AK: Listen, I have maintained this always: I'm going to do the same broadcast and put in the same amount of preparation and approach it the same exact way if I have two, 200, 2,000 or 200 million people watching. It's just that simple. I never think about any kind of numbers. I never think, "Oh my God, it's a streaming service." To me, this is where the future is going. Sports is trying to establish its niche, and I hope that Hannah and I are going a long way towards doing that. I think that it's tremendous that Amazon has made an 11-year commitment to Thursday Night Football.
In her memoir, Katie Couric details how she felt she had to "protect her turf" amid a competitive morning news show culture and few anchor roles for women. Have you ever felt that way in sports broadcasting or between other colleagues?
AK: That's not my mentality. I've been doing this a long time. I'm really proud of my longevity. I spend an incredible amount of time working with young women, mentoring young women, being there as a resource for young women. I truly believe there's room at the table for everyone. I think that when people, women in particular, start you get on that hamster wheel of protecting your turf, I just think it's a bad thing. Listen, everybody is insecure. Show me one person, male or female in our business, that doesn't have a degree of insecurity. I just don't know that they exist. Everybody feels that way, but also, you have to be confident enough to say either my performance is going to speak for itself, my work ethic is going to speak for itself. I don't feel proprietary in that way. I feel if anything, the more that you get on in this business, the more you really have to truly be the role model and to truly be someone who can be a resource for young people.
HS: It's funny that you bring that up because I've had this exact same conversation with Aaron Rogers and with Tom Brady. I've had those conversations in the last couple of weeks. In fact, as we were preparing for Thursday Night Football, Andrea and I spent a long time with Tom, and then also Aaron. One of them is 44, the other one is almost 38. The question is "What is it that gives you joy? What is it? Why are you still out there? What are you doing?" I would say that their answer to that was very, very similar to mine. You're not looking over your shoulder. You're not comparing yourself to other people. You're not protecting your turf in the sense that you're worried that someone's going to take your job. I think if you're pretty confident, you can't really let those things come into play. More so, one of the things that I love doing is what both those guys said, which is working with new people, meeting people, hanging out with people of all ages. I never feel threatened. I always feel like one of the great joys of working is working with other women, and young people coming up in the business, male and female. For me, that's just really fun and I love it.
Andrea said in an interview years ago that "to be in demand like this is very empowering." Do you still feel that way?
AK: I have always maintained that I will continue to do what I do as long as, obviously, somebody wants me to do it for them, and until I feel that the quality of the work I'm doing is just not there. I am not going to be somebody who hangs on. I am not going to be someone who is going to let anything slide. I've never cut corners in my entire career and I'm not going to start now. I'm incredibly, pleasantly surprised at this point in my career that the Amazon opportunity presents itself. HBO Real Sports, I'll be going into my 15th year with them. With CBS, the all-female sports show that I co-host We Need To Talk, and the NFL network. I have amazing opportunities, but I will tell you that when I tell that to some people, they kind of look at me like, "Well, but you've earned them. You're leaving that piece out." I never think of it that way, but I guess I have. I'd like to think that in this day and age, there is still room and still space for someone to have their work speak for itself.
HS: Andrea and I are part of, really, the first generation of people who were doing what we do. There wasn't anyone before us, right? So the fact that as you look at men in our business, they have sustained great careers. They have sustained careers where they are challenged, they have huge assignments, they are making good money. I mean the whole gamut well into the '70s and '80s, in many cases, doing premier events. The men in our business have always been valued for their experience. I think Andrea and I are establishing what that can look like for women. We are showing that experience is valued, that decades of credibility are valued and are relevant. We are doing extremely challenging and satisfying work deep into our careers. And it is unchartered waters for women in sports. We're showing what it can be like to have longevity, what it can be like to be involved in all of the new ways that sports is being consumed, and what it can be like to do something, still, that no one's ever done. I think it's extremely gratifying.
What is something that audiences don't see or hear on-camera or in the booth during a Thursday Night Football broadcast on Prime Video?
HS: Usually once a broadcast, Andrea will just say something — she's got a very irreverent sense of humor — and we'll look at each other and start dying laughing, like literally under the table. We laugh so hard, and then I start snorting. That happens probably once every game day, either before the game or sometimes during commercials. Then I have to take a piece of paper and literally put it on the side of my head so I do not look at her. I even turn my chair the other way sometimes for a minute until I compose myself. She's a little devil, that one.
AK: This happened two weeks ago. Something happened and I guess I have the unique ability to make Hannah laugh so hard that she'll literally start crying. It's pretty amusing. Part of what I hope is the magic of our broadcast is being able to joke with each other and have fun with each other. There was one time, without getting into any specifics, we were doing an interview in one of our production meetings and we're listening to the subject. Something happened and Hannah starts laughing. She gets under the table because she could not stop laughing, and she couldn't look at me.
When you look back at all the events you hosted or were broadcasting, what makes you say, "I can't believe I did that" or "I got to be a part of that?"
HS: Michael Jordan's career was just really unbelievable, and I was there for pretty much all of his great moments. He really started when I was covering the NBA on NBC. He was winning championships. Being a part of those moments was just unforgettable, some of the game-winning shots, the things that he did. Covering his career, when I really look back on it, was covering one of the greatest athletes of all time. I've had so many, many moments: Olympics, World Series, interviewing the president of the United States. The things I did when I was at CBS News were incredible. Even when I was starting off, I wanted to do the Olympics and I wanted to do morning TV because the only women that were doing sports at the time were the morning TV anchors and they were going to the Olympics. I was able to do both of those things.
AK: I must admit it's sort of hard to give one answer to that because, from a work perspective, I would say that nothing, nothing, nothing substitutes for hard work. From a personal standpoint, I think it's the thing that I wish I'd learned earlier that I do remind people is enjoy the moment. Enjoy the ride, enjoy the journey. It sounds really cliche. I had a very specific time when I learned that. It was in 2008 in Beijing at the Olympics. I was covering swimming for NBC, and I woke up the morning that Michael Phelps was in the position to win his eighth gold medal, which is an accomplishment I don't think we'll ever see again. I just remember thinking, "Wow, this is going to be so historic today." I'm sitting there going, "Wow, he's going to potentially win this eighth gold medal, get out of the pool and come talk to me."
I've always said that I've covered the two greatest Michaels in all sports: Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan. I called, of course, all six of Jordan's championships, and then probably the biggest story that I ever broke was Jordan coming back, and then I did the first interview with him when he did come back.
Throughout her career, Kremer never imagined a highlight would include being impersonated on Saturday Night Live. In May 2020, cast member Chloe Fineman portrayed Kremer.
When they did a parody of The Last Dance, my son goes, "Mom, I know you're in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but you've been portrayed on Saturday Night Live. You've really made it!" So, you know what? If my kid was proud of me for being on SNL, that's great. That's great. It kind of made me chuckle.
Storm and Kremer call Thursday Night Football for Prime Video every Thursday at 8:20 p.m. ET.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
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