As it turns out, Michelle Beadle isn’t only leaving ESPN’s “NBA Countdown.” She’s also reportedly slated to exit ESPN itself.
Beadle and ESPN are in talks over a contract buyout that is expected to result in her leaving the company, according to the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand.
Those talks come after Beadle’s reported ouster from ESPN’s flagship NBA show, where she’s being replaced as host by Maria Taylor. Rachel Nichols is also reportedly serving as a de facto replacement, as Nichols’ show “The Jump” is apparently expected to take over the lead-in for Saturdays on ABC from “NBA Countdown.”
There have also been reports that Stephen A. Smith could increase his presence on Wednesdays, replacing “NBA Countdown” with an expanded “SportsCenter.”
As for Beadle, the host is still reportedly figuring out her next step as she prepares to leave ESPN for a second time in her career.
Where could Michelle Beadle go from here?
Beadle reportedly still has multiple years left on her contract with a $5 million annual salary, so convincing her to give that up and also agree to a non-disparagement clause won’t be cheap. How quickly she’s allowed to work elsewhere could also be a factor in calculating her buyout, as well.
Marchand reports that one place Beadle likely won’t be landing is TNT, which already has Ernie Johnson and doesn’t consider Beadle a “top choice” for another role on a Tuesday show.
If Beadle wants to start smaller, a podcast is reportedly possible. If she wants to go outside the box, Marchand pointed to subscription streamer DAZN as a possibility. Former ESPN president John Skipper, who originally gave Beadle her current ESPN contract, now runs DAZN as it tries to become more than just a boxing and MMA site.
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