Craig Carton currently spends 22.5 hours each week talking to a sports audience, but apparently, that’s not enough. According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, WFAN stalwart Carton will launch a new national morning show on FS1 this coming fall.
The TV project won’t keep Carton from hosting his daily afternoon show with co-host Evan Roberts on WFAN. But it will pit him against his former radio partner Boomer Esiason. Esiason’s WFAN show Boomer and Gio with Gregg Giannotti is simulcast by CBSSN every morning from 6 – 10am, and that’s presumably at least part of the period when Carton will be on FS1 in a few months.
According to Marchand, “Carton and FS1 have a content development deal for the TV show, meaning he and the network will work together on the rest of its makeup.”
Currently, there are no voids in FS1’s lineup. That means Carton’s addition could spark a shakeup for the network. FS1 boasts a weekday schedule beginning with Nick Wright’s First Things First at 7:30am, followed by Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe’s Undisputed from 9:30am – noon. Colin Cowherd’s radio show The Herd airs on FS1 at noon, leading into Marcellus Wiley and Emmanuel Acho’s Speak for Yourself at 3pm.
Bayless signed a $32 million deal with Fox last year, so it’s hard to imagine Carton’s addition would cut into Undisputed’s airtime. FS1 could carve a window between First Things First and Undisputed for Carton, or they could bump Wright entirely from their morning lineup. Moving Wright would only make sense if Fox has another role in mind for him, considering he seems to generate more national appeal than Carton.
Either way, the addition of Carton seems like a strange fit on FS1. A network that for years has poached national talent is now partnering with a radio host whose appeal is solely local in New York. Carton has undoubtedly helped bolster WFAN’s lineup, reinforcing the station as New York’s sports radio leader, but it’s difficult to predict his presence would have a similar impact nationally for FS1.
Outside of New York, Carton is most recognized for making national headlines in 2017. That’s when he was arrested and convicted of fraud, landing him in federal prison for nearly one year. Inside New York, Carton is mostly recognized for his brash radio commentary which has proved to accumulate listeners and generate ratings throughout his career. Carton’s antics are usually excused on local radio, but national television demands a different level of awareness and sensitivity, as ex-WFAN host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo found out last week.
FS1’s decision to team with Carton marks the second time the network has partnered with a WFAN host. In 2014, Fox Sports began simulcasting Mike Francesa’s WFAN afternoon show, a partnership that proved to be a disaster as the radio host often griped about getting preempted by soccer. Francesa and Fox eventually parted ways in September 2015.
Unlike Francesa, Carton’s show with FS1 won’t be a radio simulcast. But details regarding what the partnership will be remain scarce and curious.