Back in May, news broke that ESPN Radio show Mike & Mike would be packing up and moving from Bristol to New York City this winter. Another change that would go along with the move would be the permanent addition of a third voice, former NFL Network personality Molly Qerim. Qerim was supposed to join the show over the summer, before the move to New York.
But it looks like those changes have been pushed to the backburner. On Wednesday, ESPN released a statement from executive VP John Wildhack revealing that the move wouldn’t be happening after all.
At the Upfront, we announced that Mike & Mike would be moving to New York in February 2016, a very aggressive timeline. After carefully considering and working through all aspects of a potential move, we have decided that the show will remain in Bristol for now. This opportunity with Mike & Mike remains worthy of strong consideration for continued growth of one of our most successful franchises. As part of our overall strategy, we remain committed to integrating content across Mike & Mike, Good Morning America, and the new 7-9 a.m. live SportsCenter, which will debut in February.
As for Qerim, ESPN made no mention of her in the release, and John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal revealed that Qerim would be working as the host of SportsNation on July 1st and 2nd, and would be taking over from Cari Champion as the interim host of First Take on July 13th.
I wonder what happened to facilitate an about-face from ESPN so soon after the initial announcement about the show moving to New York. There hasn’t been much chatter about the thought process behind the show staying in Bristol, so all we have now are hypotheses… and I can’t think of anything off the top of my head.
Qerim’s new (interim, at least) role is a tough break for her sanity, but might result in her being exposed to more viewers. For as much as we lambaste First Take, it draws plenty of eyeballs to ESPN. If she can hold her own moderating Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith, she could be in line for bigger things at ESPN than being the third wheel on Mike & Mike.