The Big Lead is reporting that Jim Rome will be leaving ESPN for CBS this month, and that his show “Jim Rome is Burning” will be heading with him. ESPN later confirmed the report of Rome’s departure. Rome has been on ESPN for the past eight years and his new home will be the CBS Sports Network, formerly known as CBS College Sports and CSTV. CBS Sports is available on most cable systems across the country, including DIRECTV, Dish Network, Comcast, Cox, Time Warner, and so on.
CBS is likely to make Rome one of the cornerstones of the network, considering that the current “highlights” on it include deals with PBR (rodeo), MLL (lacrosse), Army & Navy football, and a lot of college hockey. Also in March, the network features a lot of March Madness coverage as a good companion to the main coverage on CBS’s main channel. But then again, with Turner Sports getting in on the act this past year, there’s less of a need for CBS Sports Network to be prominently involved. In his new role at CBS, Rome will be making some appearances on Showtime, also owned by CBS.
At any rate, Rome’s departure was likely caused by his show getting jerked around over the last couple of months. He went from being on at 4:30 on ESPN as a lead-in to Around the Horn and PTI, to being on at 4:30 on ESPN2, with the then untested (and now, generally reviled) Dan Le Batard show as a lead-in. Deadspin also surmises that comments from ESPN executives in the ESPN book released in the spring have something to do with Rome’s departure.
Here’s a classic Rome clip to pay tribute to his most recent run at ESPN…
Is it a big loss for ESPN or a big catch for CBS? What do you think?