Hinting that the recent breakup between Skip Bayless and ESPN was only the first domino to fall, a new report by The New York Post suggests that the cable sports network’s entire morning lineup may be in for a serious revamp.
The departure of Bayless for Fox Sports 1 — reportedly for more than $5 million a year — forced ESPN to reconstruct its segment leader “First Take,” where debate desk fixture Stephen A. Smith now squares off against Bayless’ replacement, Max Kellerman.
But the latest rumors focus on another fixture of the ESPN morning lineup, “Mike & Mike,” co-hosted by Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic.
“Last week, Sports Illustrated reported ESPN was thinking about moving Greenberg off his radio show, which is simulcast on ESPN2, in order to give him a ‘SportsCenter’-like morning show,” The Post reports. “Then on Wednesday, ESPN colleague Dan LeBatard seemed to inadvertently confirm the ‘Mike & Mike’ split was for real.”
LeBatard reportedly was joking about splitting with his own ESPN radio co-host, Jon “Stugotz” Weiner, when he said: “These marriages don’t tend to last. The nature of television partnerships and radio partnerships is that they flame out because forever contracts make it hard to be in these relationships and not get tired of each other.”
LeBetard then added, according to The Post: “Well, ‘Mike & Mike,’ it’s been reported … well, I don’t know what’s been reported out there, and what’s not out there, and what’s real and what’s not real, but it’s been reported that ahhh … OK, never mind.”
The Post notes that the Golic-Greenberg pairing is “one of the longest-running partnerships in sports radio and TV — more than 17 years.” But the report says ESPN is “in turmoil,” adding that the “Mike & Mike” partnership “is probably done.”