Michelle Beadle has fostered a reputation as an acerbic but knowing observer of sports and culture during her various tenures on ESPN2’s “SportsNation.” Now, after two notable runs at the program’s helm, she and her team will move to flagship ESPN, the Walt Disney-owned sports-media outlet said Thursday.
Under terms of the pact, Beadle will join ESPN senior writer and Ramona Shelburne for their new national radio show called “Beadle & Shelburne.” The new radio show will premiere Feb. 14, airing between noon and 2 p.m. Eastern.
Beadle has long been seen as a key member of ESPN’s talent lineup, and with her contract expected to expire, speculation rose during the summer over whether she might stay, given that ESPN parted ways with top personnel like Bill Simmons, Keith Olbermann and Colin Cowherd. Her hire suggests the sports outlet will continue to strike deals where it can see a feasible return on investment as the operating environment for media companies becomes more challenging.
ESPN must fight for viewers and subscribers who are growing increasingly accustomed to gaining access to video entertainment on demand or via video streaming. What’s more, the network pays heady rights fees to show off its top draws, like Major League Baseball or “Monday Night Football.” Yet it has continued to strike deals with personnel: In July, ESPN negotiated a new pact with late-night “SportsCenter” team Neil Everett and Stan Verrett.
As part of the pact, Beadle and co-hosts Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley will all move to ESPN where “SportsNation” will air at 4 p.m. Eastern, helping to spark the network’s late-afternoon schedule. The show will run for half an hour on ESPN, as opposed to the hour it has had on ESPN2.
Beadle returned to ESPN in March of 2014, as host of “SportsNation,” her second turn on the program, which she had previously hosted with Colin Cowherd before leaving in 2012 to try her hand at both sports and entertainment programming at NBCUniversal. She has also worked for YES Network.