Dan Le Batard, the popular and opinionated ESPN talk-show host, is walking away from the sports-media giant after working there in various capacities for nearly a decade, Sportico sister publication Variety reports.
Le Batard, who in mid-2019 openly challenged what had been ESPN’s policy not to address straight political matters, is leaving to pursue a new opportunity that neither party described. The last broadcast of his “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” on ESPN Radio will take place January 4, and will subsequently be replaced by Mike Greenberg’s new radio program, “Greeny.” Le Batard will host his last episode of the ESPN TV program “Highly Questionable” on the same day. ESPN said that program will continue to run as part of its regular lineup.
Le Batard is the latest in a string of prominent content executives and personnel to announce their departure from ESPN in recent days and comes as the Disney unit has been grappling with the sometimes crippling effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Connor Schell and Libby Geist, two of the company’s top executives overseeing content and programming, have said they intend to leave and Ryan Spoon, its former head of social-media content is moving to a job involving sports betting.
ESPN announced last month that it would eliminate 500 positions in a bid to free up cash for projects aimed at viewers who connect to sports and relate programming in digital fashion.
“It was mutually agreed that it was best for both sides to move on to new opportunities and we worked together closely to make that possible,” Norby Williamson, ESPN’s executive vice president and executive editor, said in a prepared statement. “We thank Dan for his many years and contributions to ESPN and wish him all the best going forward.”