ESPN is making major changes to its weekday afternoon lineup. That means yet another new role for popular on-air personality Cari Champion.
Champion slid into Michelle Beadle’s spot on SportsNation recently. Beadle is part of the network’s struggling morning show Get Up, along with Jalen Rose and Mike Greenberg.
SportsNation is not long for this world. The show will be canceled after the Little League World Series. Another new ESPN show, the Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre vehicle High Noon, will be moving into its 4 p.m. ET slot.
With that change, Cari Champion is heading back to SportsCenter, which will fill in the noon slot on ESPN.
Sports Business Daily‘s John Ourand broke the big ESPN news today:
ESPN is canceling “SportsNation,” the nine-year-old afternoon show that launched by using social media to focus on trending sports stories. The series’ last episode is Aug. 24. The move comes as part of a reshuffling of ESPN’s afternoon block of programming that will see “High Noon” move from 12:00pm ET to 4:00pm and “SportsCenter” taking over the 12:00-1:00pm hour. The changes will take effect Sept. 11, after Little League World Series and U.S. Open programming.
ESPN was sure to make it clear that none of the SportsNation personalities were losing their jobs. Champion is heading back to SC, while LZ Granderson will continue to host his ESPN LA radio show. Marcellus Wiley, the show’s other co-host, recently departed for FOX Sports 1, where he will replace Colin Cowherd on Speak For Yourself.
“Its time had come,” ESPN Exec VP & Exec Editor/Studio Production Norby Williamson said. “This is not an assessment of the show’s current staff. It was performing okay.” Williamson stressed that nobody from “SportsNation” was losing their job; everyone would be reassigned to other shows.
The reshuffle makes a lot of sense, especially in the late afternoon block. High Noon features two personalities that gained popularity through their associations with Dan Le Batard and his shows, but was up against The Dan Le Batard Show simulcast. Now, Jones and Torre will serve as a lead-in for Highly Questionable, which stars Le Batard and his father, and is Jones’ old show.