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Volume 26 No. 112
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The Ringer Lures Russillo Away From ESPN For Full-Time Role

Russillo said his transition is not about being unhappy at ESPN, but rather excited about The Ringer
Photo: ESPN IMAGES
Russillo said his transition is not about being unhappy at ESPN, but rather excited about The Ringer
Photo: ESPN IMAGES
Russillo said his transition is not about being unhappy at ESPN, but rather excited about The Ringer
Photo: ESPN IMAGES

Ryen Russillo is leaving ESPN after 14 years to join The Ringer. Russillo signed a multiyear deal with The Ringer to do three of his “Dual Threat” podcasts per week during the NFL season and twice a week in the offseason. He will appear on other Ringer podcasts like Bill Simmons’ weekly one from February to mid-July. Russillo's contract with ESPN ends Aug. 31, and he will then be exclusive to The Ringer. It is not known if he will appear on any ESPN platform in the next three weeks. Russillo: "This is not an anti-ESPN move. It’s a pro-Ringer one. I have wanted to pursue other things for a while, and Bill gave me this opportunity" (John Ourand, SBJ Media).

A NEW CHAPTER: In N.Y., Mark Fischer notes ESPN execs "were high on Russillo and there were talks of expanding his podcast role." The former ESPN radio host initially left Bristol in '17, "months after he was arrested for criminal entry in Wyoming." The case was "closed after Russillo paid a $250 fine, and he returned to ESPN the following summer." Around the same time, he "teamed up with The Ringer" (N.Y. POST, 8/6). USA TODAY's Chris Bumbaca notes Simmons and Russillo "worked together at ESPN years ago when the former wrote columns and eventually led the culture site Grantland" (USA TODAY, 8/6). AWFUL ANNOUNCING's Andrew Bucholtz wrote it is "certainly interesting to see Russillo leaving ESPN after all this time to head to The Ringer on a full-time basis." Russillo is a "big-name get for The Ringer given his long run at ESPN, and his work at The Ringer so far has seemed to go over quite well" (AWFULANNOUNCING.com, 8/5).

TWITTER REAX: ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted Russillo is a "remarkable talent." Wojnarowski: "Rescue my pod now and again, please." ESPN's Scott Van Pelt, who Russillo co-hosted a podcast with, noted, "Was fun to dust it off and take it around the block for a couple spins. You're great at what you do." ESPN's Kevin Negandhi: "No one works harder or is more prepared. Always made us smarter while entertaining." Lansing State Journal's Phil Friend: "Really enjoyed Russillo on The Ringer platforms (mostly on 'The Town' Rewatchables podcast). Definitely surprised he’s leaving ESPN for it, though." The Ringer's Kevin Clark noted Russillo's addition is "one of the best moves the Ringer has ever made."