Katie Nolan has been twiddling her thumbs — and getting paid to do so — since February, when Fox Sports shelved her “Garbage Time” program with the promise that her role at Fox Sports 1 would continue in some form. But as the months passed and she continued to sit things out, it became more and more apparent that Nolan was not going to be in Fox Sports’ plans moving forward, and Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch reported last week that Nolan’s reps had begun negotiating an early release from her contract, which was scheduled to conclude at the end of the calendar year.
The plan, as speculated by nearly everyone who speculates on such things, was for Nolan to move to ESPN, and that day finally has arrived: The network announced Wednesday that it has hired Nolan to “appear across multiple platforms in a variety of projects.” She begins Oct. 16.
“Katie is smart, dynamic and brings to ESPN a fresh perspective and a great sense of humor. She is a rare talent and will represent our brand incredibly well as we continue to expand across the digital space,” Connor Schell, ESPN’s executive vice president for content, said in a statement.
Said Nolan: “I could not be more excited to have a prominent digital presence while also making appearances across ESPN studio programming. When I was a little girl, I always dreamed that one day announcements regarding my specific assignments would be forthcoming.”
ESPN did not go into specifics about Nolan’s role other than saying she “will have a prominent digital presence while also making appearances across ESPN studio programming.” We do have an idea of what she perhaps won’t be doing, however. According to Jim Miller, who literally wrote the book on ESPN, Nolan turned down a role on Mike Greenberg’s still-in-development morning show.
“My understanding and my sources, which I believe, tell me that she was asked to be part of the Mike Greenberg show and she declined to be a permanent fixture on that,” Miller said on The World’s Fastest-Growing Media Podcast. It could be because she didn’t want to play second fiddle to Michelle Beadle, who is expected to be Greenberg’s co-host along with Jalen Rose.
If Beadle joins Greenberg’s show, she will have to vacate her role as host of “SportsNation,” though that show is filmed in Los Angeles and Awful Announcing says Nolan would prefer to remain in New York.
“Garbage Time” was a critical success in some corners — and a Sports Emmy winner for “outstanding social TV experience” — but not a ratings hit (to be fair, the latter is an issue across Fox Sports 1’s nonevent lineup). And when Jamie Horowitz — the now-deposed Fox Sports honcho — and Charlie Dixon came on board, they reportedly weren’t keen on the shows (such as “Garbage Time”) that predated their arrival at the network and didn’t much care about any show that wasn’t part of FS1’s daytime shout-fest, which has been their focus.