Mike Francesa’s often–rocky relationship with Fox has come to an end. Francesa announced live on his show Wednesday at 3 p.m. Eastern on WFAN and Fox Sports 1 (interestingly enough, in the first segment of his show shown on FS1 Wednesday, as his earlier hours were bumped to Fox Sports 2 to make room for Colin Cowherd’s new show) that Friday would be his last show simulcast on Fox’s channels, which came true exactly according to what @SprtsRadioMongo tweeted Tuesday night. Here’s what Francesa had to say:
“Let me take a second here to tell you that as of this Friday we will be parting ways with Fox. They’ll be with us the next couple days, they’re with us now obviously on Fox 1 and elsewhere, and we have reached an agreement to go our separate ways. I’ve reached an agreement with Fox to do that, my parent company CBS has reached an agreement with Fox to do that. So, uh, they’ll be with us today, obviously the rest of the program, then tomorrow, and then Friday will mark our last program with Fox and that will finish our simulcast relationship with Fox.”
Francesa went on to acknowledge the rocky relationship, but tried to avoid blaming Fox.
“I know that there has been a lot of discussion about it, I know that there’s been a lot of hand-wringing and a lot of different things during the time we’ve been with them. Let me just say this to put a ribbon on it and tell you what is going to happen from here. First, the blame is mine. I tried to do something a little different. I knew I was trying to put a square peg in a round hole when I did this, I knew where the show fit and where it didn’t, but the Fox guys were eager. And I’m not going to say money wasn’t an issue, because it was. I mean, their offer was the biggest. They were very eager to try it, they really wanted to. I had some trepidation, but I also saw the promise in it and it never really worked out. Again, the judgement was mine, I made the decision. Not CBS; I did, CBS backed me on it. After that, where things went from there doesn’t matter. Fox had good intentions, they paid us very well. It wasn’t a good fit for them, it wasn’t a good fit for us, and now we’ll each go our separate ways. I wish them well. Sometimes, things don’t work out. I’ve been very fortunate in my career that most things have worked out very well. This one didn’t. I take all the blame in every way. It was my mistake, my judgement, and again, I tried to do something that I knew was going to be hard to do and it didn’t really work out, so we will end the relationship very amicably Friday; Fox will go its way and we will go our way.”
He then said that there’s no simulcast lined up to replace Fox, and that it may take months to land one if it happens at all, but there have been some talks on that front.
“For the immediate future after Friday we will just do radio. We will begin negotiating with some folks and we have had some preliminary discussions about carrying the show. There is interest in carrying the show. Obviously, the transition…first of all, I need time and we need time to make a deal. That won’t happen overnight. We haven’t, you know, even started that yet. That’s going to take a little while. Then to get things turned around and get it changed over, you know, equipment-wise, technically, new crew, everything else, so it’s going to take a while. We’re going to be just on radio with no simulcasts for at least the next couple of months, at the least. If we don’t make a deal with someone else, I’ll just keep doing it on the radio, which we did for a very long time.”
Francesa noted that his show aired without a simulcast for 13 of its 27 years, so this isn’t unprecedented territory for him. He said he wouldn’t discuss who he’s talking to about the simulcast, but said discussions are ongoing. Before going to break, he then reinstated that he wants to leave on good terms.
“Just so everyone knows, we end this amicably. There are no hard feelings. It’s a business relationship that did not fulfill its lofty expectations. It happens. Again, I take all the blame. I made the mistake. My fault. It was my error in judgment, no one else’s. We wish Fox well, we will finish the week with them, and then we will be on to other things.”
Here’s the video of Francesa’s announcement:
— Chris Poulos (@Poulos) September 9, 2015