Katie Nolan’s exit from Fox Sports is all but official, as she and the network are working on an early release from her contract. General speculation has her going to ESPN next, a move that appears to be a certainty.
Sporting News’ Michael McCarthy reported that ESPN was recruiting her back in February, and ESPN oracle Jim Miller reported that Nolan would make the jump either when her contract with Fox Sports ran out or a release was agreed upon. Nolan’s contract is believed to run until the end of the year (though some believe the deal actually last longer), but it seems apparent is that ESPN and Nolan have been talking since FS1 took her show Garbage Time off the air in February.
Miller appeared on The World’s Fastest Growing Sports Media Podcast with Robert Seidman (aka @SportsTVRatings), and the conversation began with the news that Nolan was negotiating her release from Fox Sports. Miller then revealed (at the 2:35 mark of the podcast) that ESPN offered Nolan a position she wasn’t interested in.
“My understanding and my sources, which I believe,” said Miller, “tell me that she was asked to be part of the Mike Greenberg show and she declined to be a permanent fixture on that.”
Miller went on to explain that ESPN may not have wanted her in a set role on the upcoming morning show either, preferring someone else in that role. He clarified further on Twitter.
— jamesmiller (@JimMiller) September 29, 2017
Michelle Beadle, along with her NBA Countdown co-host Jalen Rose, are reportedly going to be part of the Greenberg show. That seemingly wouldn’t leave much of a role for Nolan, other than perhaps appearing for commentary or a pre-produced segment. But as Miller mentioned, Nolan might prefer sort of a roving role, especially if it allowed for recurring appearances on the Erik Rydholm group of shows which includes Pardon the Interruption, Around the Horn, Highly Questionable, and a new show featuring Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre.
Of course, Nolan could also be hoping for her own show, but where that would fit on the ESPN schedule is a considerable obstacle. Replacing Beadle on SportsNation seems like an ideal fit. But the show tapes in Los Angeles and Nolan is located in New York, and the belief is that she doesn’t want to make a cross-country move. If that’s not a possibility, then a featured contributor type of role across various shows, and maybe something like a podcast, would raise her profile more than being a cog on Greenberg’s morning show.
But if Nolan has something specific in mind that doesn’t mesh with what ESPN has to offer her, how likely is the possibility that she doesn’t go to there at all? ESPN obviously wants to hire her, but just how badly does the network want to be in the Katie Nolan business if an ideal fit can’t be found?