With the recent layoffs at ESPN, many looked to today's ESPN Upfront presentation to potential advertisers as the debut of the leaner ESPN. Many anticipated announcements were made, including the long-rumored Mike Greenberg morning show which will debut in 2018. In the presentation, ESPN head John Skipper said, "Let me be up front. ESPN is changing, and we’re making changes from a position of strength." Here are some of the changes.
- New Mike Greenberg Morning Show
- Monday Night Football Doubleheader Game
- Maria Taylor Named College GameDay and ABC Saturday Night Football Reporter
- Laura Rutledge Named New Host of SEC Nation
- New College Football Playoff National Championship Halftime Show
- New ESPN Radio Morning Show Hosted by Mike Golic & Trey Wingo
- New Bomani Jones & Pablo Torre Show on ESPN
- New ESPN/ESPN2 Weekday Programming Lineup
- Peyton Manning Hosting ESPYs
New Mike Greenberg Morning Show
Mike Greenberg’s long-rumored new morning show will premiere on January 1, 2018. The weekday program will originate from a studio in Manhattan and will air live from 7-10 a.m. ET on ESPN, re-airing each day at 10 a.m. ET on ESPN2.
“One of the many benefits of working at ESPN is that change and evolution are in our DNA,” said Greenberg. “My run with Golic has been an incredible experience that I’ll always treasure, but having the chance to engage multiple voices every morning in a dialogue on each day’s sports stories will be a great new challenge.”
Elements of the show are currently in development, but the program will feature a lively mix of news, opinion and analysis. Greenberg will be joined by several full-time co-hosts and a rotation of various guests and expert contributors, ensuring the top sports stories of the day are tackled from a wide range of viewpoints.
Monday Night Football Doubleheader Game
Veteran ESPN play-by-play voice Beth Mowins and new NFL studio analyst Rex Ryan will call the Los Angeles Chargers vs. Denver Broncos game from Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium on Sept. 11 at 10:15 p.m. ET as part of ESPN’s season-opening Monday Night Football doubleheader.
The Chargers-Broncos game will immediately follow ESPN’s MNF opener – New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings (6:55 p.m.), featuring Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden and reporter Lisa Salters.
With this assignment, Mowins – who has signed a new multiyear extension to remain with ESPN – will become the first female announcer to call a National Football League game since 1987 and the first female broadcaster to call a nationally-televised NFL game. Gayle Sierens was the last woman to call an NFL game – the regional broadcast of a 1987 regular-season finale game on NBC.
“Beth has been an important voice in our college sports coverage and she has experience calling NFL preseason games. She deserves this opportunity,” said Stephanie Druley, Senior Vice President, ESPN events and studio production. “ESPN is committed to putting talented women in high-profile positions and we look forward to Beth and Rex’s call of this game on our MNF opening night.”
Mowins added: “This is an amazing opportunity and I look forward to working with Rex and our entire ESPN team. As lifelong fans of the NFL Monday Night Football franchise, we want to bring the same passion to the broadcast as our predecessors have all done.”
Maria Taylor Named College GameDay and ABC Saturday Night Football Reporter
Maria Taylor, current ESPN and SEC Network host, reporter and analyst, will join the crews of College GameDay Built by The Home Depot and ABC Saturday Night Football. Taylor will take on the reporter role vacated by Samantha Ponder who was recently named the new host of ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown. She will begin her new duties in August as part of her existing multiyear contract.
“In a very short time, Maria has demonstrated versatility, presence and ease in her many roles. She is the rare ‘triple threat’ in this industry and we look forward to having her on the road with GameDay and SNF come fall,” said Lee Fitting, ESPN senior coordinating producer, college sports.
Laura Rutledge Named New Host of SEC Nation
Laura Rutledge has been tabbed as the new host of the national network’s traveling pre-game show SEC Nation, featuring Tim Tebow, Marcus Spears and Paul Finebaum. Rutledge was a reporter on SEC Nation last season and hosted the network’s studio show SEC Now year-round. She will replace the show’s previous host Maria Taylor.
“Laura’s work ethic and energy will be great for the show,” said Tom McCollum, senior coordinating producer. “She has excellent chemistry with the SEC Nation team and a track record of success in the hosting chair. We anticipate a seamless transition this fall.”
New College Football Playoff National Championship Halftime Show
Next year’s College Football Playoff National Championship on ESPN will have an A-list music act perform a halftime show for ESPN viewers for the first time in College Football Playoff history. The performance will take place outside Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Centennial Olympic Park as part of ESPN’s first live watch party, where non-ticketed fans can watch the game for free and attend the concert. As always, school bands of the respective teams will perform at halftime for fans in the stadium and as part of the ESPN Megacast.
New ESPN Radio Morning Show Hosted by Mike Golic & Trey Wingo
ESPN Radio will debut its new morning drive show hosted by Mike Golic and Trey Wingo later this fall, from 6 – 10 a.m. ET. The daily ESPN Radio program will initially be simulcast on ESPN2 before moving to its permanent simulcast home on ESPNU.
The show will also be heard on ESPNRadio.com, the ESPN app, SiriusXM Channel 80, Apple Music, Slacker Radio and TuneIn. A daily podcast will also available on ESPNRadio.com and through the ESPN app.
ESPN has signed both Golic and Wingo to new multiyear extensions. In addition to ESPN Radio, Wingo will continue to host the NFL Draft and appear on ESPN’s NFL television programming.
Mike Golic, Jr., who also signed a new multiyear agreement, will join the show every day from 6 – 7 a.m. He will continue to host ESPN Radio’s First & Last from 4 – 6 a.m. every weekday before transitioning to the new morning show at 6 a.m.
New Bomani Jones & Pablo Torre Show on ESPN
Bomani Jones, host of ESPN Radio’s The Right Time with Bomani Jones, and Pablo Torre, senior writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com, will host a newly created one-hour live program premiering Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018 on ESPN from noon – 1 p.m. ET. More details about the show will be announced at a later date. The program will also be streamed live on the ESPN app and WatchESPN across all devices and platforms.
“Had someone asked me a year ago who I’d want to work with on a new TV show, I would have said Pablo Torre,” Jones said. “Now that it’s going to happen, I couldn’t be more excited. We have a chance to make something new, fresh and entertaining, and I can’t wait to take on that challenge.”
Torre added, “Bomani Jones happens to be one of my best friends in this strange business, not least because I wind up laughing while being challenged and enlightened every time we talk. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to turn ourselves into a live sports television show that’s as fun to watch as it will be to make.”
New ESPN/ESPN2 Weekday Programming Lineup
With all of the recently announced changes, here is the ESPN and ESPN2 weekday programming as of Tuesday, January 2:
|6 a.m.||SportsCenter (Scott Van Pelt, reair)||SportsCenter (Everett & Verrett, reair)|
|7 a.m.||M.Greenberg Show||SportsCenter|
|10 a.m.||First Take||M.Greenberg Show (reair)|
|Noon||Bomani & Pablo|
|1 p.m.||OTL||First Take (reair)|
|1:30 p.m.||NFL Live|
|3 p.m.||The Jump|
|3:30 p.m.||SportsNation||NFL Live (reair)|
|4:30 p.m.||Highly Questionable||Intentional Talk|
|5 p.m.||Around the Horn||College Football Live|
|5:30 p.m.||Pardon the Interruption||Highly Questionable (reair)|
|6 p.m.||SC6||Around the Horn (reair)|
|6:30 p.m.||Pardon the Interruption (reair)|
Peyton Manning Hosting ESPYs
The 2017 ESPYS Presented by Capital One will be hosted by five-time NFL MVP and two-time Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning. The former NFL quarterback will be joined by top celebrities from sports and entertainment to commemorate the past year in sports by recognizing major sports achievements, reliving unforgettable moments and saluting the leading performers and performances. The 25th annual ESPYS will be broadcast live on ABC Wednesday, July 12, at 8 p.m. ET from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
“It’s an honor to be asked to host The ESPYS, and it’s even more meaningful that it’s the 25th year for this incredible event,” said Manning. “The ESPYS have been a part of my life during my entire career—I can still remember attending my very first show back in 1998 before my rookie season in the NFL. Over the years, The ESPYS have celebrated some of my favorite athletes and sports moments. In addition to recognizing a special year in sports, the 25th ESPYS will allow us to go down memory lane and pay tribute to those who have played such a huge part in this program’s success.”