People & Personalities: ESPN Extends Reilly; Leitch Full-Time At Sports On Earth
ESPN yesterday formally announced that it has reached an agreement on a multiyear contract extension with Rick Reilly, who will continue to write his "Life of Reilly" columns for ESPN.com and contribute TV essays through on-site coverage of "MNF" and other events. For each "MNF" game, Reilly will appear in both pre- and postgame segments. He joined the net in '08 after 23 years at SI (ESPN).
GREETINGS, EARTHLING: Will Leitch yesterday announced that he will join the staff of Sports On Earth as a full-time lead writer for the site. Leitch, who has been contributing part-time to the outlet since it launched last fall, also will host a daily podcast and occasionally write for MLB.com and USA Today. He will continue to write for New York magazine, but no longer on a full-time basis (THE DAILY).
NATIONAL PASTIME: In DC, Sarah Kogod noted MLB Network execs have added former MASN reporter Kristina Akra to "their roster of on-air talent this season." Akra will "be making her debut" April 1 on "MLB Now" with Brian Kenny and Harold Reynolds. MASN "hasn't announced a replacement" for Akra for its Nationals telecasts (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 3/25).
FOOT PATROL: SI.com's Richard Deitsch writes NBC Sports "made its first splashy hire" for its EPL coverage when it tabbed ESPN UK's Rebecca Lowe for its "studio host role" out of the network's Stamford, Ct.-based broadcast center. Lowe was "seen Stateside for ESPN's coverage" of the '12 UEFA Championships and '11 FIFA Women's World Cup. Prior to joining ESPN, "Lowe worked as a studio host for Setanta Sports and was a longtime contributor to the BBC." She said that she "focused on one or two games a week for ESPN UK but that number will be amped up." She also will be "in a studio fulltime as opposed to pitchside" (SI.com, 3/26).
KING'S GAMBIT: SI.com's Peter King in this week's edition of "Monday Morning Quarterback" wrote of his upcoming football-centric spinoff website: "I'm looking forward to sharing some of the details on the new site sometime this summer. Wish I knew myself; we're in the process of inventing the place right now. My responsibilities will shift some, but not markedly, and I'll share all of that with you when it's set." King wrote his "MMQB" column will "remain intact" (SI.com, 3/25).