"The show was called Coyote Clubhouse, and it was one of those Saturday morning programs geared toward children," she recalls. "They sent me to do a piece on how to take care of your family pet. I was so bad. It was just awkward television. Fortunately, they gave me another chance, and I realized the second time that this is a really fun way to pay rent for the rest of my life."
Now, more than a decade later, Michelle is one of the leading female voices on the NBC Sports Network and other NBC properties, bringing her sharp wit and conversational style to a variety of network programs. She was a key member of the 2012 London Olympics broadcast team, is a correspondent on Access Hollywood, and regularly appears on TODAY.
Although Michelle doesn’t take herself too seriously, she is adamant about the importance of creating opportunities for women in the male-dominated sports broadcasting field. She built much of her reputation co-hosting sports opinion shows, effectively disproving the notion that only men can talk authoritatively about sports.
"There’s a great value in diversity in general, but especially gender diversity," she says. "If you watch sports at a bar with a group of friends — both men and women — every one of us is going to take something different out of the game. When you bring in more opinions and perspectives, it makes the discussion that much more enriching."
One of Michelle’s biggest strengths is her versatility. She’s spent time as a sideline reporter, show host, and studio anchor, and she advises young women just entering the field to think big. "It seems like the entry point into sports for women is sideline reporting," she says. "But I think we’re moving past that. Now we have women in the front offices of sports teams, we have women talking about sports, we have women hosting shows and calling games. It’s really great to see."
She credits NBC Sports with creating these sorts of opportunities for women. Michelle cites not only her own contributions, but also those of such NBC broadcasters as NBC Sunday Night Football reporter Michele Tafoya, longtime tennis analyst and former pro Mary Carillo, and Rebecca Lowe, who was recently hired as the U.S.-based studio host of NBC’s Barclays Premier League soccer coverage. "Rebecca’s extremely well-respected in the field," Michelle says. "And the fact that a woman is going to be the face of Barclays Premier League soccer, which is an enormous global property, is just awesome."
"NBC gets it," Michelle continues. "You want to find the strongest, most opinionated, most well-versed people when launching a network — whether they’re male or female. If they’re doing their jobs and doing their jobs right, people will connect with them and the shows will be successful."