ESPN Cancels "SportsNation," Will Move "High Noon" To Afternoon Slot
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. “SportsNation” launched in ’09 with Colin Cowherd and Michelle Beadle as hosts and became a staple of ESPN’s afternoon lineup. Host Marcellus Wiley last month left ESPN for Fox, and ESPN execs decided that the series that highlighted social media fads had run its course. “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. That includes Cari Champion, who once again will co-host the noon “SportsCenter” from L.A. with David Lloyd in Bristol. LZ Granderson will continue to co-host a radio show for ESPN L.A. and contribute to other shows. The changes put ESPN’s biggest brand -- “SportsCenter” -- back in the noon timeslot, underscoring the importance of the show to the network. "'SportsCenter' has had a lot of twists and turns over the years," Williamson said. "This will help bridge the gap from the AM 'SportsCenter' and the 6pm 'SportsCenter.'"
THE NEW NOON: As part of its move from noon to 4pm, ESPN will cut “High Noon” down from an hour to 30 minutes. Despite not being in the noon timeslot, the show will keep its name. Hosted by Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre, “High Noon” will lead off a two-hour block of programming produced by Erik Rydholm, including “Highly Questionable,” “Around the Horn” and “PTI.” “A lot of these moves came together really well,” said ESPN VP/Programming & Scheduling Ilan Ben-Hanan. “It’s a better flow.” During NFL season, the noon “SportsCenter” will expand to 90 minutes on Mondays, taking over the “OTL” timeslot on Mondays.