Colin Cowherd, who has helped anchor ESPN Radio’s morning slate since 2003 and also had a presence on the ESPN’s television offerings, is leaving the network, President John Skipper announced Thursday morning.
“We’ve enjoyed a mutually beneficial run with Colin for over a decade,” Skipper said in a statement. “He came to national prominence on ESPN with his unique perspective on sports and society. Endings also bring new beginnings, for ESPN and Colin, and we thank him and wish him the best.”
Ryan Glasspiegel of the Big Lead was the first to report the news Thursday morning. Glasspiegel reports that “talks are progressing” between Cowherd and Fox Sports. Jamie Horowitz, the former ESPN producer who worked closely with Cowherd, is now the president of Fox Sports.
Here’s Glasspiegel with some speculation on Cowherd’s future:
Perhaps Fox has a multi-faceted plan that may include a Cowherd-driven Sunday morning football pregame show on Fox that airs before the Sunday NFL pregame show?
It’s not currently known what Cowherd would do for FS1. One potential idea is to put him at 6pm and attempt to better compete with SportsCenter with a talk-driven show, which Horowitz previously had a lot of success (depending on how you define the word) with at ESPN2.
Marisa Guthrie of the Hollywood Reporter also says Cowherd is headed for Fox Sports. As does James Andrew Miller, who co-wrote an oral history of ESPN:
— James Andrew Miller (@JimMiller) July 16, 2015
Cowherd’s contract with ESPN is set to expire this year and he’s in line for a sizable raise, which Fox Sports apparently has agreed to give him. Cowherd is the third big name to depart ESPN this year. The network cut ties with Bill Simmons earlier this year, declining to renew a contract that also would have called for a hefty bump in pay, and announced last week it wouldn’t be renewing Keith Olbermann’s contract, either.
Cowherd’s detractors are many — his one-note bashing of Washington Wizards point guard John Wall is just one example — but his presence at ESPN grew steadily ever since the network plucked him from obscurity to replace Tony Kornheiser on its morning-radio slate in 2003.
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