Rick Reilly Giving Up Weekly ESPN.com Column For Exclusive Television Role
Longtime sports columnist Rick Reilly is giving up his weekly column for ESPN.com, moving exclusively to an on-air TV role. The move is part of a new deal signed with ESPN that will take effect July 1. In his new role, Reilly will present weekly video features for ESPN shows like "Monday Night Countdown," "SportsCenter" and "Sunday NFL Countdown." ESPN says that Reilly's reduced role will allow him to work on various books and screenplays and "travel the world." Last March, ESPN signed what they called a "multiyear contract extension" with the writer. ESPN hired Reilly from SI in '08 to write columns for ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. Reilly has been the center of several controversies over the past few months. Earlier this month, he apologized to FS1's Regis Philbin after describing him on-air as "the little guy in the makeup" (John Ourand, Staff Writer). Reilly's last column will be on June 30. USA TODAY's Chris Chase wrote Reilly in recent years has "earned criticism for various offenses such as misquoting his father-in-law, recycling old ideas and relying on the same jokes." It is popular to "accuse Reilly of mailing it in," but he was the "closest thing sportswriting ever had to a rock star" (USATODAY.com, 3/12).