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Women’s History Month Interview Series: Q&A with Fox Sports Live Host, Charissa Thompson

Charissa Thompson is a well-known talent in the sports and entertainment industry.

Charissa Thompson is a well-known talent in the sports and entertainment industry, working in roles with Fox Sports and EXTRA! The Californian’s dream of being a reporter started at the age of 9 as she used a paper towel roll and tennis ball as a microphone to interview her older brother around the house. Now, with a real microphone and the backing of two major networks, Thompson is making a name for herself at sporting events and red carpets across the country.


Photo Credit: Frat House Sports

Photo Credit: Frat House Sports


Anna Negron (AN): Where did you go to school and what opportunities were you able to explore before making it to the “big time?”

Charissa Thompson (CT): “I attended University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). I wanted to go to school in a beautiful place! Hahah! I graduated with a degree in Law and Society (which clearly has nothing to do with sports! But that was my backup plan… Being a lawyer)! Since UCSB didn’t have a broadcasting school, I did various internships on the side. I worked at the local ABC affiliate in Santa Barbara and NBC affiliate in Los Angeles! It was the best “hands on” experience!”


AN: What drove you to become a sports reporter?

CT: From the time I was a little girl it’s something I always wanted to do. I interviewed my brother (who was 11). I was 9 and made a little video with a paper towel roll and tennis ball acting as a microphone!


AN: Did you face any setbacks as you made your way into the industry? If so, how did you overcome them?

CT: Setbacks? I wouldn’t call them setbacks. Just more “push back” from people that questioned my abilities. Overall, I would consider myself very lucky. I started in the HR department at Fox Sports. I took the position at Fox knowing I just wanted to get my foot in the door. HR was the last place I should’ve been! I was out of control!! Haha! But Fox became family to me and really helped cultivate my on-air experience. I moved to Denver, became a Production Assistant and that lent itself to trying my hand at reporting once the girl they had on air previously, contract expired.


AN: As a woman in sports, what do you find to be the best aspect and the worst aspect of working in the industry?

CT: “I have to credit the woman that came before me… Linda Cohn, Melissa Stark, Robin Roberts, Leslie Visser. All these amazing women really carved out a path for the current women on air.”


Charissa Thompson – ‘Extra’ Set Photos – Los Angeles, April 2014

Charissa Thompson – ‘Extra’ Set Photos – Los Angeles, April 2014

AN: What woman or women has/have served as your role model(s) and inspiration?

CT: All the ones listed above! Andrea Kramer and Katie Couric (outside of sports)


AN: I recently saw on Twitter that you were looking for people to share stories of doing “good” in the community. What is this new project and what do you wish to accomplish with it?

CT: “I want to create a community (platform) for people doing good out there to have their stories recognized and acknowledged. Not only for a thumbs up of ‘job well done,’ but to hopefully bring light and advance their causes. Charity and “good deeds,” people doing things to help others is my real passion (Sounds cheesy but true). ”


AN: Reporters like yourself and Erin Andrews are crossing over into other realms of the entertainment industry and hosting shows outside of sports. How did the opportunity to become a host for EXTRA come about, and how has it impacted your career?

CT: “It’s opened up a whole new door. It’s been an incredible opportunity and I’m so thankful for it. It came about when Maria left and went to E! I truly feel lucky that my boss “Lisa G” took a chance on me and affords me the opportunity to work with amazing people like Mario and Tracey every day!”


AN: Many aspiring journalists, myself included, look up to you and value your accomplishments. What advice would you give to up-and-coming graduates as they enter the “working world?”

CT: “Jalen Rose gave me great advice one time… Appreciate your position but plan your promotion. Now that might seem a little arrogant, but I take it as always striving to do more. Don’t overlook anything but keep working and out work everyone else. That and a good attitude will open up a lot of doors. A lot of people want to be “on TV” because it looks glamorous, but like most professions, there is more to it than what meets the eye.”

“Also, always know your camera man/woman’s name…. Audio, Stage manager, anyone that is helping you. Make sure you are kind and appreciative of what they are doing to help YOU!!”


AN: You have impeccable style! Who or what influences your outfit choices?

CT: “Well thanks 🙂 I don’t get to dress myself on Extra! But at Fox and in my everyday life, I am always in heels, Jordan’s or converse! I like to think of my style as boho chic. That’s super obnoxious, but I live in Venice and like that hipster vibe when I am just relaxing. When I am out, I’m most likely in leather and a mean pair of heels! Ha… My feet hate me!”


AN: What is your most memorable interview to date?

CT: “Hmmm… That’s tough. I don’t want to pick one because there are still a lot of people I still really want to talk to!”

Erin Andrews and Charissa Thompson (Via

Erin Andrews and Charissa Thompson (Via

AN: With that, what’s your favorite sports memory?

CT: Favorite sports memory?!! Working the [MLB] All-Star game in New York City for FOX. I got to meet and interview the game’s greats—Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Reggie Jackson! It was amazing. And being on the field for the 2010 Super Bowl when the Giants beat the Patriots!”

“Oh and getting kicked off the field at the NFC championship game that same year in Green Bay! That is a great story! Hahahaha.”


AN: Favorite Sports movie?

CT: Bull Durham


AN: If you could have dinner with three people, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

CT: “Jimi Hendrix. Michael Jackson. Michael Jordan. Self-explanatory isn’t it?! They’re all legends!”


AN: (If you ever have one) What is a typical day-off for you?

CT: “Going to Yoga or a long run, brunch with friends, mimosas, a nice dinner or movie and chillin’ on my couch! Or taking a trip to Santa Barbara for the night! My favorite place in Cali!”


AN: March is Women’s History Month. What type of legacy do you hope to leave, not only through your career, but as a woman?

CT: “Legacy is a word with an incredible amount of responsibility attached to it, and it would insinuate that I am important enough to be a legend! Which I’m not. So instead I will say… I hope I remembered for being first and foremost—a nice person, who loved her family and friends, loved her job and worked her ass off! But all the while laughing and learning!!”

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