There’s still no decision on who will replace afternoon host Mike Francesa or former morning co-host Craig Carton on New York’s WFAN, but it sounds like one is coming soon. Newsday‘s Neil Best writes that WFAN is facing some time pressure, with sales staff soon needing to sell Q1 2018 ads, and that “station management would like to settle all this by early next month, but nothing has been decided or signed.”
But the most interesting part of Best’s article may be some of the unexpected options he floats out there, including current ESPN New York host/contributor and former CBS NFL analyst and New York Jets’ linebacker (and interview trademarker) Bart Scott. Here’s what Best writes about some afternoon show options, including Scott:
If WFAN decides to go the ex-jock route, the most intriguing option is former Jets linebacker Bart Scott, whose colorful personality was on display during fill-in appearances over the summer.
Scott currently is heard on ESPN New York radio, but assuming that is not a long-term deal, WFAN could be a fit – as long as he takes a crash course in knowing and caring about baseball, a must for any New York host.
Chris Simms has been a regular at WFAN and also could be a candidate if it wants a former pro athlete in the room.
Chris Carlin and Kimberly Jones were a popular fill-in pair earlier this decade and would make good sense now, too. Carlin is at WFAN’s sister station in Philadelphia and Jones works for the NFL Network, so there could be some hurdles there.
An unconventional two- or three-person crew would make sense, because inevitably the program that replaces Francesa’s will be closely scrutinized for content and ratings. The more different it is, the better for all concerned.
Scott would certainly be an unconventional hire, and one far different from Francesa, but the WFAN afternoon slot is a long way from what he’s doing now. Scott does have some media experience (working on CBS’ That Other Pregame Show in 2013 and The NFL Today from 2014-16), but he only joined ESPN New York in September. There, he serves as a cohost of New York’s Game Day Sunday mornings with Anita Marks and Chris Canty and Inside The Jets Monday nights with Eric Allen, and appears on The Michael Kay Show and Humpty & Canty.
Cohosting NFL-specific shows twice weekly at off-peak hours is very different from holding down a daily afternoon show, especially one as high-profile as Francesa’s long-time slot, and Scott would definitely have to prove that he can knowledgably talk about sports beyond football.
But maybe Scott could be a decent part of a two or three-person mix. And there might be more than two or three people eventually involved; it’s worth remembering that WFAN programming director Mark Chernoff has previously talked about splitting up Francesa’s 1-6:30 p.m. slot, commenting in February “I can’t say that the next person or team doing the show will do five-and-a-half hours.” And Best’s piece notes that the midday show of Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno is likely to get an extra hour post-Francesa, running from 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. instead of 1. (Then again, Chernoff said in June his goal was to have a succession plan in place by Labor Day, so not everything he says comes true.)
In any case, Scott is definitely an interesting name to add to the discussion here, and a much more outside-the-box one than the rest of the mentioned candidates. As for the morning show, the only candidate Best mentions specifically CBS Sports Radio morning co-host Gregg Giannotti, who co-hosted with Esiason for a week in September and could presumably slide over without too many problems given that WFAN is owned by CBS. So that discussion may not be as notable, unless Chernoff goes outside of the box.
At any rate, we should soon know where WFAN is going with their morning and afternoon shows. And it will definitely be interesting to see who they tab as successors to Carton and Francesa.