NFL Network will soon be without five current shows, and there’s a chance for more cuts as well.
That’s according to this New York Post report from Andrew Marchand, in which Marchand says the NFL Network budget will be reduced by $20 million.
The less-than-hoped-for budget has made negotiations with on-air personnel tense, and there is a feeling some will either not be retained or be forced to take pay cuts, according to sources.
The moves have been made as part of the NFL’s overall budget, which includes what is expected to be an amped-up celebration of the NFL’s 100th season this year. NFL Network has apparently absorbed part of the project into its budget.
NFL Network is definitively cutting five programs. Sanders’ “21 & Prime,” “Power Rankings,” “Pick ‘em,” “Playbook” and “Mic’d Up” are off the air. The future of the weekend edition of “Good Morning Football” is in question.
The network countered by saying their programming budget has actually increased, but will be spent in different ways, including celebrating the league’s 100th anniversary season throughout the year via new shows.
“As part of an increased investment in programming and content for 2019, NFL Network will unveil several shows geared towards a celebration of the NFL’s 100th season,” an NFL network spokesman, Alex Riethmiller, said in a statement to The Post. “These shows will replace a handful of existing shows from our 2018 schedule.”
Riethmiller did not delve into the exact budget costs in his statement or the discrepancy with sources, who associated the cuts of the shows and the expected tense on-air personnel negotiations with the $20 million difference.
It seems like the network statement is implying that there will be an increased investment in new programming, which doesn’t exactly explain away the $20 million figure nor the axing of five shows, the possible reduction of more, and the looming specter of pay cuts. (It’s worth noting that NFL Network is currently embroiled in a carriage dispute with AT&T, with the channel pulled from U-verse and DirecTV Now.)
NFL Network deciding to shake up their programming schedule isn’t that surprising, of course. Networks do that all the time. But cutting the budget by $20 million is a bit of a surprise, given the overall revenue generated by the league every year, and the relatively widespread distribution NFL Network has achieved since its 2003 launch.