The chances of a more-permanent reunion of Mike Francesa and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo seem to be on the rise. Russo has shown some interest for a while, and back in April, ahead of the premiere of the 30 for 30 on their sports radio partnership (which airs on ESPN this coming Thursday), Francesa gave the idea a limited endorsement, saying “Would I listen? …Yeah, why not?” (which Russo described as the first time Francesa’s ever been open to a regular reunion). Now, at a Sirius XM town hall the two did Thursday, both The Sports Pope and The Mad Dog seemed even higher on the idea.
“First someone has to make an offer, which no one has yet,” the Pontiff deigned. “But if something comes up, I’ll always listen . . . Who knows? But I’m not saying the economics would work either, so I’ll have to wait and see. I don’t know if there’s something there or not.”
Doggie barked: “I think we both know we could easily do shows together. I think we both know we’d be amenable to it if they come up with the right forum (and) price . . . I wouldn’t think five days a week now. I think it would be sporadic — maybe one day a week, maybe something around big events.”
That’s still not firm, especially with no one making them an offer yet, and both of these guys aren’t going to jump at something for a minimal price. However, the interest from both of them is notable, and Russo’s idea of a one-day-a-week show or something around big events probably makes more sense than trying to do a daily show; Francesa’s just leaving that business, and Russo’s busy with his own satellite channel.
There’s a chance some lucrative offers could roll in once that 30 for 30 airs, especially if it’s well-received; that might spark further public interest in a reunion. And there are some format options for these guys; conventional radio obviously works, but there could be interest from satellite as well, and Francesa has even talked about possibly doing a podcast (despite his hatred for the form, he says he has a trick to monetize it). That could work too if the right media company is interested, or if enough sponsors step up to make it worth their while. We’ll see how this goes, but it’s significant that both Francesa and Russo seem more interested in the idea of a regular reunion than they had been.
[Newsday/photo by Cindy Ord, Getty]