Gregg Murphy, who has roamed the stands at Citizens Bank Park as part of NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Phillies television crew since 2012, and longtime Eagles reporter Derrick Gunn were among those let go by the network this week as part of nationwide cuts by parent company NBC Universal.
Murphy, who celebrated his 20th anniversary with Comcast last week, is off after experiencing coronavirus symptoms as he awaits test results. He will return to the telecast once he’s able to clear NBC’s protocols and finish out the Phillies’ truncated 2020 season for the network.
“First and foremost, I’m disappointed in the news, but it’s a tough time for everyone and I understand why this is happening,” Murphy said. “I am unbelievably grateful for the time I’ve had at NBC over the last 20 years — nine and a half with the Phillies’ broadcast team. I very much look forward to coming back and finishing the season as soon as I’m cleared to get back to the ballpark.”
Gunn, one of the network’s original hosts when Comcast SportsNet launched back in 1997, said in a video shared on Twitter he had “no animosity” about being let go. He also thanked fans in Philadelphia, which he called a “tough market,” for embracing him all these years.
“Will I be covering football again in the Philadelphia market? Stay tuned, don’t know,” Gunn said with a smile.
At least 15 staffers at NBC Sports Philadelphia were laid off this week, a spokesperson for NBC confirmed. Among those let go were Sixers reporter Paul Hudrick and longtime communications director Maureen Quilter, who had been with the network for 24 years.
“I am not sure what is next, but I can only hope it will bring me as much joy as this job did,” Quilter wrote in a statement shared on Twitter.
Enrico Campitelli, who was brought on full time after selling his blog, The 700 Level, to then-Comcast SportsNet in 2010, was also among those caught in the layoffs.
Most of the layoffs affected the network’s digital reporters and behind-the-scenes employees. Other on-camera personalities were also let go, though, according to multiple sources, they’ll remain until their contracts expire at the end of their respective leagues’ seasons.
The network had employed roughly 140 people before the layoffs.
NBC Sports Philadelphia isn’t the only regional sports network hit with cuts. The Boston Globe reported that nearly 20 staffers were let go from NBC Sports Boston, including longtime anchor Gary Tanguay, Celtics sideline reporter Abby Chin, and Celtics reporter A. Sherrod Blakely.
The Athletic reported that NBC Sports Bay Area let go of 17 employees, including anchor Kelli Johnson, who said she’ll remain at the network through the coronavirus-shortened Major League Baseball season.
NBC Sports Washington and NBC Sports Chicago also lost several on-camera personalities.
NBC has taken a large financial hit from the coronavirus pandemic, which cost the network millions of dollars in advertising revenue after sports leagues halted their seasons. NBC was also scheduled to air the 2020 Summer Olympics, which were pushed back to 2021.
Before the Olympics were postponed, The Inquirer reported that Comcast-owned NBCUniversal had already received more than $1 billion in national advertising commitments for the Summer Games. On a call with investors, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said that the company had insurance to cover expenses but that there would be no profit.
Writers at several NBC “Talk” sites, including Hardball Talk, College Basketball Talk, and College Football Talk, took to social media to announced they had also been let go.
According to sources, both NBC10 and Telemundo 62 were affected by this round of cutbacks, but it’s unclear how widespread the layoffs were.
Longtime NBC10 anchor and former Eagle Vai Sikahema announced last week that he will retire later this year, and in June longtime anchor Denise Nakano suggested her departure after 17 years was coronavirus-related.
“This unprecedented pandemic has brought uncertainly to the doorstep of so many. We find ourselves dealing with sudden changes in the lives we knew before the coronavirus hit our country,” Nakano wrote on Facebook. “But I’m certain we will find our way through it. I’m not sure what’s next for me, but I will embrace whatever it may be and continue to move forward with gratitude.”