Sports Media Shakeup: New Moves From ESPN and FS1

More news about the news

Jordan Pagkalinawan
Boundless & Ballin’

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Image via CNBC

The past few weeks have involved plenty of movement within sports media, and yesterday only added to the shakeup. ESPN continued to make adjustments to its NBA Finals programming, while FS1 made key decisions regarding its hit debate show, “Undisputed.”

ESPN: Malika Andrews Promoted to Host of NBA Finals “Countdown”

The moves keep coming from ESPN, as Malika Andrews will now host the Finals edition of “NBA Countdown” and replace Mike Greenberg, according to Andrew Marchand of The New York Post.

Andrews has had a storied career with the network, namely emerging as its on-site reporter during the NBA Bubble. She eventually began hosting “NBA Today” and making sideline appearances during the NBA Finals. Her promotion only adds to her impressive resume so far and to ESPN’s changes since the conclusion of the 2023 NBA Finals.

As for Greenberg, Marchand noted that he and ESPN made the decision to leave the program in order to decrease his workload. In addition to his two-year run as the host of “Countown,” Greenberg also hosts ESPN’s “Get Up”, his own podcast, “Greeny,” and most of the network’s NFL Draft coverage.

FS1: New “Undisputed” Partners Include Rachel Nichols, Richard Sherman, and…Lil Wayne?

Speaking of Rachel Nichols, she will be joining FS1’s “Undisputed” opposite Skip Bayless as part of a rotating collection of analysts, according to the Sports Business Journal. Following Nichols’s exit from ESPN in 2021, she returns to a major sports network while juggling other opportunities, including a forthcoming show called “The Rachel Nichols Project” on the Monumental Sports Network.

Aside from Nichols, former NFL star Richard Sherman will appear on “Undisputed” for “50–100 shows per year, mostly during football season,” according to the SBJ. Sherman’s television career began with Amazon Prime Video’s “Thursday Night Football” coverage. He outlined his decision to go into broadcasting in an interview with the NFL Network below:

“I feel like it’s important for players to continue to push the game forward and educate the fans through real experience and real intellect and trying to take them even deeper into the game. I think you try to simplify it as much as you can for them, but I think the more informed and educated the fans are, the better the experience is.”

Now, Sherman will continue to provide the ex-player’s perspective on FS1, educating fans next to Bayless, whose journalism journey began as a print reporter for the Dallas Morning News, Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times, among other newspapers. He was also the lead sports columnist for the Chicago Tribune prior to his jump to television with ESPN and FS1.

Finally, rapper Lil Wayne is set to make weekly appearances on “Undisputed,” joining Bayless for live segments on Fridays. It may seem like an odd move by some, but Lil Wayne has deep ties to the show, responsible for creating its opening theme and appearing on its first episode in September 2016, according to Yahoo Sports.

Nichols, Sherman, and Lil Wayne begin their new roles with “Undisputed” Aug. 28. SBJ also reported that the show’s executives are “deciding between whether to have former NFL stars Michael Irvin or Keyshawn Johnson join the cast of rotating analysts.”

In a way, FS1’s decision with “Undisputed” mirrors one made by ESPN with “First Take.” After Max Kellerman’s departure from the show in 2021, the program had a carousel of debate partners appear opposite Stephen A. Smith, a format that still continues today with much success. Whether the format works out for FS1 remains to be seen.

It’s no secret that sports media is undergoing major changes, and the moves from ESPN and FS1 are the latest examples of it. As two of the largest sports networks, ESPN and FOX Sports have been committed to providing top-tier programming, and while that has come with some bumps in the road, there are also plenty of new beginnings to look forward to.

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Jordan Pagkalinawan
Boundless & Ballin’

Top Writer in NBA & Sports. Student journalist & podcaster. Socials manager at PerThirtySix, editor for Last Word on Hoops, & writer for YRMedia. Emerson ’26.