Dana Jacobson Out At ESPN's "First Take" As Show Is Being Redesigned Around Bayless
ESPN’s Dana Jacobson yesterday tweeted that “she was leaving ‘First Take’ for other assignments,” but she “was pulled from the show, and has been reassigned into the ‘SportsCenter’/’Outside The Lines’/general assignment hosting pool,” according to SI.com's Richard Deitsch. Under "First Take’s" new Coordinating Producer Jamie Horowitz, the show has been redesigned around Skip Bayless “debating and defending his position like a modern-day F. Lee Bailey.” Horowitz is “liked by Bristol execs because of his ability to generate ratings and social media buzz, which he did when he helmed ‘SportsNation.’” Deitsch noted ESPN is starting to use “specific hashtags created for Bayless (i.e #WhenSkipMetTebow) because it's part of the Horowitz playbook.” In addition, the show “will now be anchored solely by Jay Crawford,” who is “considered a stronger anchor by the suits than Jacobson.” Crawford reportedly “was up for the evening ‘SportsCenter’ gig after Brian Kenny left (that job went to John Anderson) and no one would blame him for trying hard to hold onto” the ‘First Take’ role, which “affords him a very nice work week.” Deitsch wrote, “What I think bothers me most for Jacobson is that she now returns to the pool of ESPN talent that never gets pushed externally. Why? Because it's not [an] easy sell. Because they deliver news and do their jobs without shtick or screaming” (TWITLONGER.com, 12/27). USA TODAY’s Michael Hiestand notes the changes to “First Take” comes as the “show gets rejiggered to stress more debate and pontificating” (USA TODAY, 12/28).