In a surprise move, ESPN’s Kaylee Hartung will reportedly be heading to CNN.

That’s according to The Big Lead:

Kaylee Hartung is leaving ESPN for CNN, a highly placed source with knowledge of the information tells The Big Lead. Unauthorized to speak publicly on the matter, the source requested anonymity.

This is unexpected on the surface; Hartung had seen her role within the ESPN family increase very quickly over the past few years, from her initial start at the Longhorn Network to the main sideline reporter during the SEC Network’s primetime game of the week, along with various other sideline duties.

The switch to CNN might seem to be incongruous, but Hartung’s background prior to her stint with ESPN was solidly in the world of political journalism:

Before crossing over to sports, Hartung spent five years in CBS News’ Washington Bureau. She produced, photographed and edited her own reports for She also worked as an associate producer for “Face the Nation” and assistant to the program’s host, venerable newsman Bob Schieffer.

Hartung graduated from Washington and Lee University where she majored in broadcast journalism and politics.

It’s pure speculation, but this move looks like it could be Hartung moving back to a field closer to her passions. It is also possible that she maintains a sports presence as well, as CNN shares a parent company with all the Turner Sports properties. Indeed, she’s worked there before, having covered things like the NCAA Tournament and the PGA Championship.

Twitter has so far been full of reactions that demonstrate how beloved she’s become, especially among SEC fanbases:

According to TBL’s report, she’ll start at CNN in April as a national news and feature correspondent. CNN will certainly not lack for viewership over the foreseeable future, given the current political climate, and if Hartung’s move really is a passion play of sorts, hopefully she gets what she wants out of it.

Plus, she could always come back to ESPN, a path traveled by various reporters and anchors before her.

[The Big Lead]

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.

  • One Voice

    Seems like a shortsighted move, as CNN is dying as a network. No credibility and falling viewership.

    • Shawn Diiorio

      she’s probably getting paid. and it’s possible she wanted to leave sports behind as well.

  • Shawn Diiorio

    seems like there’s a real revolving door for people in this industry right now.

    It’s money.

  • Tom Stein

    This is a big loss for ESPN.

  • Ferd Berfel

    It would be a pretty easy transition in one regard: She wouldn’t have to change her political leanings going from ESPN to CNN. Otherwise, meh. Sideline reporters are little more than eye-candy packages asking coaches obvious-to-the-point-of-stupid questions.

    • Guest

      Being on ESPN doesn’t necessarily mean she is liberal. For example, Sage Steele is a fairly outspoken conservative.

  • YouAreWrongAndDumb

    She’s pretty but hardly irreplaceable.