Mike Missanelli is returning to your television.
Missanelli, the popular afternoon host on 97.5 The Fanatic, has agreed to a three-year deal that will allow The Mike Missanelli Show to be simulcast on NBC Sports Philadelphia, starting in the first quarter of 2018.
The first three hours of The Mike Missanelli Show will air from 2 to 5 p.m. daily on NBC Sports Philly, replacing a hodgepodge of content ranging from infomercials to the nationally syndicated sports radio show hosted by NBC's Football Night in America host Dan Patrick. Philly Sports Talk will then follow Missanelli in its normal 5 p.m. timeslot.
A definitive launch date for the new show has not been set.
"It's something I've been talking about with both radio stations, WIP and The Fanatic, for a couple of years now," said Brian Monihan, president of NBC Sports Philadelphia, who said radio simulcasts have been successful on other NBC regional sports networks.
Missanelli will do the show from The Fanatic's studio in Bala Cynwyd. According to Monihan, a number of factors played into the decision to partner with Missanelli and The Fanatic, including technical considerations and opportunities for future partnerships.
Of course, this isn't Missanelli's first foray into television. Earlier this year, he was dismissed from his weekly appearance on Sports Sunday on 6ABC following Eagles games after saying it was "unnatural" to hear ESPN and CBS broadcaster Beth Mowins call an NFL game because she was a woman. Missanelli later said he had no one to blame but himself but called it a "harsh result."
Part of the challenge in a partnership like this is that Missanelli doesn't report to Monihan; his number-one priority is his loyal radio listeners. That means 15 hours of airtime a week on NBC Sports Philly will largely be out of Monihan's control, something that factored into choosing Missanelli in the first place.
"Mike has been a very consistent personality and has shown that Philadelphia grit by battling through adversity, and is still somebody that is really popular in the market," Monihan said. "I'll certainly rely on [Beasley Media Group Philadelphia's vice president and market manager] Joe Bell and the Beasley folks to make sure he stays on point."
NBC Sports recently had to deal with a simulcast controversy when 98.5 The Sports Hub's Michael Felger went on a long rant following the death of former Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay. Among other things, Felger called Halladay a "moron" for dying in a plane crash and said the two-time Cy Young winner "got what he deserved."
Felger & Mazz, which Felger co-hosts with Tony Massarotti, is simulcast daily on NBC Sports Boston in a similar situation to what NBC Sports Philly has set up with Missanelli.
"There have been challenges, but we're hoping we've learned as much as we can from our sister stations about how to handle these things," Monihan said.
The partnership also opens up more opportunities for NBC Sports Philly hosts like Michael Barkann, who was pushed out at WIP in favor of Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie, to appear on The Fanatic. Others, like sports reporter John Clark, already appear on the station regularly.
"It's probably going to be something that will naturally occur," Monihan said. "We are looking for ways in the future that we can cross-pollinate both stations."
The arrangement doesn't necessarily leave WIP permanently out of the picture, Monihan said.
"We could do something with 94.1 in the morning, you never know," he said. "But I think this makes it easier for us to do stuff with Beasley and look for other ways to work more closely with [Missanelli] on other things here."