Fox Sports Detroit has fired Red Wings analyst and Hockey Hall of Famer Larry Murphy. Murphy was canned by the network on March 12th, and was reportedly told the reason for his dismissal was due to low ratings for Red Wings broadcasts. Via MLive.com…
“I was shocked, didn't see it coming,'' Murphy told MLive.com. “They said they just needed a change, ratings weren't what they were. That was basically it (for an explanation). “I'm still trying to figure it out.''
Murphy had worked full-time for the Red Wings for three years, serving as an analyst in the broadcast booth, studio, and between the benches.
It's a little bizarre for FS Detroit to tell Murphy he was fired because of low ratings when the commentators on a game have little to no effect on how many people tune in to watch a game. The statement from FS Detroit makes no mention of the ratings, and seemingly ignores the other tasks that Murphy has performed in his television career:
“We wanted our primary team of Mickey Redmond and Ken Daniels to call the remaining games as the Red Wings make a push for the playoffs. We thought it was only fair to let Larry know as soon as possible that he would not be scheduled for any more assignments. We thank Larry for his contributions to our telecasts over the years and we wish him well.”
They want to keep their primary broadcast team together, and to do that, they fire a guy who can also work as a reporter or in the studio in addition to in the booth? The decision has brought some outcry from Red Wings fans as a #BringBackMurph movement has broken out in social media.
It's an extremely strange situation, especially since this happened during the regular season, and makes me think there's more to the story. Maybe there's a little bit of embarrassment that the Red Wings are the only American team to see their ratings slip this season, and the braintrust at FS Detroit felt that axing Murphy was the easiest (and least sensical) decision.