Fox Sports has added some very large former ESPN personalities in Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock this year, leading one to believe that “The One for Fun” is now “The One for ESPN castaways.” With former ESPN exec Jamie Horowitz now at the helm, FS1 is looking more and more like the most tiring parts of the “Embrace Debate” movement at ESPN by the day. (Hello, Rob Parker.)
With all the former Bristolites moving west it’s easy to forget about some of the FS1 originals that have tried to give the network a true alternative voice. Thankfully, FS1 won’t be moving on from that original mission to be different from ESPN entirely. (At least not yet.)
Fox Sports Live lead anchors Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole will continue with FS1 for the next two years, agreeing to a new contract extension with Fox that will keep them at the network until 2017.
Onrait made the reveal on a Sports Illustrated podcast with Richard Deitsch:
“We had our options picked up for those two years so you are stuck with us for a couple of years,” Onrait said. “We want to stay with the company for a long time.”
Fox expressed interest in re-signing the Canadian duo earlier this year and it’s really a no-brainer on their parts. Onrait and O’Toole are one of the best things about FS1 and their presence is something that actually delineates FS1 from their competitors. And as FS1 picks up more live sports rights, ratings continue to improve for the network’s flagship program. The last month has seen the most-watched episode of FS Live average 164,000 viewers according to our ratings guru Douglas Pucci. The program cracked 1.7 million viewers a couple weeks ago after MLB postseason action.
With Onrait and O’Toole on board for a couple more years, let’s hope FS1 gives them and the likes of Katie Nolan more airtime as FS1 originals and less to ESPN’s recyclables.