By Joe Lucia, Awful Announcing
First, it was Erin Andrews. Then, it was Michelle Beadle. Next, it was Rachel Nichols and Jenn Brown. Now, it's Charissa Thompson that's leaving ESPN, continuing a trend over the last year of female talent abandoning the Worldwide Leader for greener pastures. According to The Big Lead Thompson will reportedly be landing at Fox, her employer prior to joining ESPN two summers ago.
Thompson's exit will create some interesting questions for ESPN, the main one centering around SportsNation. Thompson took over the show when Beadle left ESPN last summer and Marcellus Wiley replaced Colin Cowherd as host when the show moved to Los Angeles at the end of 2012. I don't think ESPN would be willing to axe the show after the move to the LA studio, but it might be necessary after losing three hosts of the show of a time period of less than a year. Possible in-house replacements could potentially include Sara Walsh, Samantha Ponder, and maybe even Lindsay Czarniak.
It'll also be interesting to see if ESPN is able to keep their pipeline of talented females flowing with all of the recent attrition. With these five talented women all leaving ESPN, there's something of a lack of household names now. Instead of being *the* place for young talent to end up, it's looking more and more like ESPN is just being used as a stepping stone, and it'll be interesting to see if that continues in the future with other options like NBC, Fox, and Turner in the mix.
As for Thompson's role at Fox, it'll likely have something to do with the launch of Fox Sports One. Due to her experience as a reporter, Thompson is versatile and due to her solid experience hosting studio shows, she's a better option than Andrews in that department. With Thompson and Andrews under the same roof, I'm curious as to how Fox will end up integrating both of them into their sports properties while managing to keep the pair's individuality intact.
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