SportsCenter

More details are emerging on the anticipated next round of ESPN layoffs, which Sports Illustrated‘s Richard Deitsch reports may extend beyond what was initially anticipated and may hit the SportsCenter franchise particularly hard. Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News first reported the next round of layoffs in late October, writing that they would come in late November or early December with “40-60 positions potentially being impacted.” Deitsch’s piece says more than 100 people are now expected to be laid off after Thanksgiving:

ESPN will lay off more than 100 staffers after the Thanksgiving holidays, multiple sources tell Sports Illustrated. The layoffs, which were described by a person briefed on the plans, will hit positions across ESPN including front-facing talent on the television side, producers, executives, and digital and technology staffers. The SportsCenter franchise is expected to be hit hard—including on-air people—given the frequency of the show has lessened considerably on main network ESPN.

…Part of the reason ESPN will conduct the moves in late November/early December, two sources said, is to get employees an additional year in the stock vesting program.

…Multiple ESPN employees in speaking with SI said the atmosphere in Bristol is tense, especially in the SportsCenter division. Asked to characterize how employees are feeling, one longtime on-air anchor offered one word: “Queasy.”

This follows the 2015 layoffs of around 300-350 employees (4.3 per cent of ESPN’s estimated 8,000-person workforce at that time) who were mostly involved in production and other behind-the-scenes roles, and the April layoffs of over 100 employees, including many TV anchors and analysts as well as numerous digital reporters. The reported hit to SportsCenter appears to be additional evidence of that franchise’s diminishing role at ESPN, and suggests that they’re further de-emphasizing straight news and highlights on TV.

It should be noted that this comes following some moves in ESPN’s senior executive ranks. In June, Connor Schell was promoted from senior vice president and executive producer for ESPN original content to executive vice president, content, essentially ESPN president John Skipper’s old job as content chief. That led to executive vice-president Norby Williamson (production, executive editor), senior vice-president Rob King (SportsCenter, news and information) and senior vice-president Stephanie Druley (events, studio production) all reporting to Schell rather than directly to Skipper, and to executive vice-presidents Marie Donoghue (global business and content strategy) and John Kosner (digital and print media) leaving the company.

In September, further changes were made, with Williamson taking over SportsCenter in addition to the rest of his studio production duties and King shifting to oversee 30 for 30, ESPN Films, stats and information, the ESPN app and “ESPN’s entire portfolio of newsgathering and storytelling assets.” So this marks the first major changes to SportsCenter with Schell and Williamson fully in charge of the property.

Awful Announcing has learned that many of SportsCenter‘s biggest on-camera names likely appear to be safe, as do several hosts of sport-specific shows. But there’s plenty of uncertainty ahead for many involved with SportsCenter, and for many others at ESPN.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing.

  • Mike

    Too bad Skipper won’t be on the list.

  • Anthony Sortini

    get rid of jemelle hill, michael smith, ramona shelbourne, mina kimes and sarah spain. I want them to get rid of pablo torre but sorry it will not happen.

    • Aplethora

      Agree totally with your list. It’s the right time to put Bob Ryan out to pasture, too.

    • Christopher Bates

      Dammit, Anthony Sortini wants his sports from white men only. ESPN, are you listening?

      • Anthony Sortini

        Give me Stephen A Smith , Bomani Jones, Louis Riddick, Doris Burke, Linda Cohn, Stan Verett all day. The people that I named are just horrible at their job

        • Morgan Wick

          You lost the AA crowd when you named freaking Stephen A. Smith as your first example of a tolerable/praiseworthy black man on ESPN.

      • Deon Hamner

        All white for alright for the Alt-Right…

    • DrewShervin

      If Sarah Spain does SportsCenter is a string bikini I will watch.

      • Robbymack87

        #youtoo

    • sTim

      So the women and minorities. Can’t say I’m shocked to hear that kind of nonsense once again.

      • Anthony Sortini

        Awwweeee sorry buddy that is wrong. I have no problem with Dan Le Betard, Bomani Jones, Stephen A Smith, Molly Q, Israel Guttierez & Lz Granderson who are both gay minorities or Doris Burke and Jackie MacMullen. Not about the color of their skin but the content of their character.

    • thetruthwillsetyoufree

      that mendoza chick that does mlb has to be FIRST to go!!! jemele is a close second.

    • Robbymack87

      hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. I see what you did there

  • This will no doubt go to pay for those new Star Wars films Disney just announced.

  • Real Talk

    Hard times for world wide leader in sports

    • Karl Kolchak

      ESPN couldn’t “lead” a pack of girl scouts to their cookies.

  • Gus the Mynah Bird

    Get rid of every sideline reporter. During a game I don’t need stories about the left tackle’s grandma’s battle with incontinence.

  • Son of Rusty Shackleford

    I still don’t believe the Especially Stupid People Network is going to pour buckets of their dwindling dollar$ into a boutique program for Mike Greenberg. My Spidey sense tells me they’re going to scale things way back, or else palm him off to ABC. He’d make a taller replacement for George Steponthelotofus and would be equally as vapid. As regards Jeme-me-Me-ME-le Hill, Sarah Got Some ‘Splainin’ To Do and Stephen You-can’t- spell-Azzhole-without-A Smith, the door can’t hit them on their backsides soon enough.

  • 2noxtnt

    Last one out the door, please think of the environment and turn the lights off.

    Thanks!

  • Jeremy Toney

    I bet they’ll get rid of Jemele Hill, Michael Smith, Sarah Spain, Sage Steele, Will Cain, David Lloyd, possibly Ramona Shelburne, possibly Max Bretos, possibly Zubin Mehenti, and that dude from SportsNation just to name a few. I expect Lisa Kerney, SVP, Nicole Briscoe, Kevin Connors, Kevin Negandhi, Rachel Nichols, Linda Cohn, John Buccigross, John Anderson, Jay Harris, Randy Scott, Cari Champion, Wendi Nix, Trey Wingo, Molly McGrath, Molly Qerim, Jen Lada, Laura Rutledge, Peter Burns, Dari Nowkhah, Olivia Harlan, Julie Stewart-Binks, Taylor Twellman, Ian Darke, Elle Duncan, Antonietta Collins, Michael Eaves, Dianna Russini, Adnan Virk, Ryen Russillo, Katie Nolan, Adrian Wojanowrski, Suzy Kolber, Adam Amin, and Cassidy Hubbarth to be safe from layoffs.

    • inku palios

      Will Cain will stay, since the network needs a conservative voice. Also, both Jemele Hill & Michael Smith will be safe. I think Sage Steele goes along with Chris Mortenson & some of the older hosts.

    • Dale Moog

      WOW the fact that you just went like 100 deep on the ESPN depth chart is either really cool or really creepy. I am not sure.

    • Anthony Sortini

      I am praying they get rid of smith, hill, spain and shelbourne. They are so trash

  • Jeremy Toney

    I also bet they’ll bring back Lindsay Czarniak, Jade McCarthy, Sara Walsh, and/or Bram Weinstein and bring in Ryan Field and Danielle Trotta in 2018.

  • Jeremy Toney
  • Lorenzo St. Dubois

    ESPN ruins everything it touches. They’ve made baseball, golf and basketball unwatchable. I welcome their demise.

    • TheOriginalDonald

      I welcome the demise of the Trump Administration.

      • Lorenzo St. Dubois

        Which has what to do with my comment or this story?

      • Karl Kolchak

        Bad case of Trump Derangement Syndrome, apparently. Grow up.

        • thetruthwillsetyoufree

          still,,, a year after the election the snowflake crowd still can’t seem to be able to deal with it… quite pathetic actually!

    • GameFederer

      Agreed on all counts. If I want to watch MLB I watch TBS. If I want to watch NBA I watch TNT. If I want to watch Soccer I watch NBCSN. If I want to watch football I watch NBC or most of the time CBS. ESPN and FOX make sports broadcasts look cheap and outdated. The only thing ESPN does remotely good is Saturday Night College Football on ABC.

      • Dale Moog

        Except when they used to rig the sound for the last two years of Brent when they would pod the natural sound WAY up to kill Brent’s mic

    • Northwest Hooligan

      ESPN doesnt show golf moron

      • Lorenzo St. Dubois

        Yeah they do. Moron.

      • QED – quod erat demonstrandum

        No hooligan is right. No golf coverage other than an insignificant tourney few have heard of…called The Masters

        http://www.espn.com/golf/story/_/id/19002048/masters-2017-tournament-news-schedule-live-scores-tv-coverage

        Tough start to the week for hooligan – sticking his own schvantz in his mouth.

        • Northwest Hooligan

          Read the whole thread moron, it was in response to this:

          “ESPN ruins everything it touches. They’ve made baseball, golf and basketball unwatchable.”

          CBS Sports produces the coverage, and the only thing ESPN does is in-studio hosting.

    • thetruthwillsetyoufree

      YES!!! hopefully that woman they have as the third person in the baseball booth will be the first to go!!!! followed closely by jemele hill and wilbon!!!

  • Rey Henry

    let me guess. none of the 47 debate shows will be effected.

    • Yehuda Hamer

      The ones who debate for the non liberal view might be effected.

    • QED – quod erat demonstrandum

      affected.

      -2 points

  • Mister Buttinski

    Please fire Tom Rinaldi!

    P.s. ESPN still sucks. Quit watching 18 mos ago.

  • Karl Kolchak

    Too bad Sportscenter can’t go announcerless. It would be a huge improvement.

  • DrewShervin

    Any chance of overpaid SVP being dumped.

  • Yehuda Hamer

    They will lay off whoever votes Republican or is a Conservative for sure. From all the talk shows whoever is for the boycotting of Kapernick, etc.,

  • OOS

    You did it to yourselves.

  • Roger Bournival

    PLEASE let Kenny Mayne be at the top of this list!

  • time for the athletic to scoop em up!

  • BobLee Says

    Bring back Australian Rules Football and Curling. I miss the dude in the raincoat waving the flags.

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  • YouAreWrongAndDumb

    Good! I rarely root for people to become unemployed, but I actively dislike most on air ESPN talent.

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