In a surprising Friday evening news dump, ESPN announced it was making major changes to its highly touted but struggling new morning show Get Up! after just five months on air.
The biggest change is the removal of cohost Michelle Beadle, who will return as the host of NBA Countdown and also host a new NBA post-game show called NBA After The Buzzer. Beadle's last day on Get Up! is Aug. 29.
The announcement comes just one day after Beadle garnered criticism for saying she wouldn't watch the NFL or college football this season after Ohio State refused to fire head coach Urban Meyer for lying about a former assistant coach's domestic abuse.
"I believe that the sport of football has set itself up to be in a position where it shows itself in the bigger picture to not really care about women," Beadle said, adding that "as a woman I feel like a person who has been marginalized. And every single one of these stories that comes out, every single time, pushes me further and further away."
Despite the timing, there's no indication the move is in any way due to Beadle's comments. In its announcement, ESPN made clear it had extended Beadle's contract and included a glowing comment from executive VP Connor Schell, who called her "so important to our coverage" of the NBA.
According to the New York Post Andrew Marchand, Beadle never really wanted to team up with former Mike & Mike cohost Mike Greenberg. But former ESPN president John Skipper kept offering her increasingly large sums of money, until her salary ballooned to a reported $5 million a year.
"All in all, a pretty huge win for Beadle, who gets a contract extension, a return to L.A., and to leave a show that it seemed pretty clear — admittedly from afar — that she did not enjoy," Paulsen wrote at Sports Media Watch.
ESPN, at least initially, will replace Beadle with a rotating cast of co-hosts that includes Maria Taylor, Laura Rutledge, Dianna Russini, and Jen Lada. They'll also add a variety of NFL and college football analysts every day throughout the season, including former New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, who announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday.
Beadle's exit isn't the only major change ESPN is making to Get Up!. The network also announced it was cutting an hour off the show's three-hour run time. Starting Sept. 3, ESPN will air an additional hour of SportsCenter from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., and Get Up! will then run from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
ESPN also made it clear in its announcement that cohost Jalen Rose would also be prioritizing the NBA. Moving forward, Rose will only cohost Get Up! on days he doesn't have any responsibilities in Los Angeles on NBA Countdown, leaving Mike Greenberg as the show's only daily host.
The highly touted morning show, which garnered increased media attention ahead of its premiere due to Greenberg's angry divorce from longtime Mike & Mike partner Mike Golic, has widely been seen as a ratings failure this summer. On most days, the show doesn't reach 300,000 viewers, and has drawn a smaller audience than the SportsCenter it replaced.
"What is the concept, by the way? Is it Good Morning America for sports? First Take without the hot takes? You tell me," Marchand wrote on Thursday. "Whatever it is, it hasn't worked."