As you are obviously well-aware, everyone’s favorite ESPN TV host, Michelle Beadle, is embroiled in contract talks with the WWL. Her contract – like that of colleagues Scott Van Pelt and Erin Andrews – is up very soon. Starting Monday, Beadle can negotiate with other networks. (Although, as you’ll see below … well, no spoilers.) We briefly spoke with Beadle this afternoon.
Beadle: I’m in the car, headed to Florida.
Q: You’re driving to Florida?
Beadle: No, the airport, then Florida. Going down for a couple days of sun. I’m trying to take advantage of weekends, whereas before I just sat here and moped.
Q: Another trip? It’s good to be you. You went on a vacation lately, and based on a photo you tweeted, it looked like you were Caribbean-bound?
Beadle: Yeah, I went to St. John, which was really awesome. Me and four of my best girlfriends. We stayed at a friend’s house. It was one of those trips that was perfect. We ended up staying an extra day. If I didn’t love working … I would just drop everything and go live there. There’s such a cool vibe, you’re on a boat all day … gosh I wish I was wired differently.
Q: Wired differently? So you’re saying if things fell apart at ESPN, you couldn’t just go chill out on St. John for a year?
Beadle: Nooooo. I’m more like my Dad. I feel some sort of self worth is based on working … I feel that need, I feel competitive. I think I’m a little too competitive for that now.
Q: You seem to very into wrestling lately. Is this a new thing, or have you been a fan for awhile? You’re dating Triple-H, right?
Beadle: No, I’m not dating a wrestler. Noooo. I was really into it in my early 20s, and then I fell out of it for about 10 years, and about 2-3 years ago I got back into it. Everyone that I used to watch is basically making a comeback – The Rock, Shawn Michaels, Triple H – … I guess wrestling is kind of like a Soap Opera. You can be gone for a few years but turn it on again and pick right back up, missing nothing. There are some storylines that are cheesy, and some that you find yourself invested in for one reason or another, I can’t really explain it.
Q: One of the things you mentioned when we interviewed you two years ago was the catty nature of women in the TV industry. Do you still feel that way, or have you seen a thawing as you’ve climbed the proverbial ladder?
Beadle: Gosh … I haven’t really noticed. There are people that I like and people I don’t like. I try to stay away from those I don’t like so … Socially, I don’t know because I still hang out with my same friends.
Q: Compare/contrast cities: New York vs. LA. Which do you prefer?
Beadle: Convenience-wise, New York is no-brainer. I have a place there and plans for it, but I haven’t had enough time there to do anything with it. Personality-wise, I’m much more New York than LA. But you can’t beat the weather in LA. I’d rate New York above LA – I can’t even imagine the other way around.
Q: We know somebody who has been to your spacious NYC apartment, and they characterized it as “Friends-like.” Accurate?
Beadle: (Laughter) “Friends-like” … what does that mean? That was a good apartment in Friends, right?
Q: It was an incredibly unrealistic New York TV apartment.
Beadle: Oh, oh, oh. Well … my mom and I went to look at places together. I initially thought, “no way” when we saw it, but we ended up back at it. I love it. It’s a walk up, but I love it. It’s so sun-lit. It has a terrace.
Q: Favorite Friends character, assuming you watched the show?
Beadle: Chandler. He’s got all the good lines. And he’s quick. I admire that.
Q: Now to the fun stuff you don’t want to talk about – your contract!
Beadle: (Laughter) I don’t know what’s happening!
Q: How would you describe your last few weeks negotiating with ESPN?
Beadle: You know what’s funny – I can honestly say that I have no idea. I’m not in the room, I’m not on the phone. That’s all CAA stuff. I go to work, I get questioned a lot, and I’ve gotten some funny comments … but I really don’t know. I haven’t even had a chance to make a decision because technically we’re not allowed to talk to anyone until next week.
Q: Are you sad that you and Colin on Sportsnation has about eight months left? How much of an impact did the show have on ESPN2? Do you think the show paved the way for afternoon programming on the channel?
Beadle: Our show started at such a random time – 4 is a random time of day – and it was goofy enough that we were catching kids out of school, or random people who stayed home … it must have done OK, because I can’t imagine they would greenlight other afternoon programming if they weren’t making money off it. I hope the show keeps going.
Q: The word in Bristol is Colin is only doing the show for the rest of the year, and that’s one of the reasons you’re reluctant to stick around – the uncertainty about the show.
Beadle: Without him, the show could still be what it was … maybe a different guy would come in, I don’t know how much of a say I’d have in that. Maybe it would go in a different direction … we’ve started to talk about life after Colin. I think everyone right now is trying to figure it out.
Q: What does it feel like to have people constantly grilling you about your future at ESPN? Is it weird seeing your work status constantly written about and speculated about online?
Beadle: It’s bizarre and kind of … odd. I laugh because I know it’s five minutes and then as soon as the decision is made, nobody cares anymore. I do enjoy reading guesses, I think that’s been fun. It’s always fun to read something about yourself that you don’t know where it came from. As soon as this one is done, someone else’s contract will be up and everyone will care about that.
Q: True/False – You met with a popular TV show executive earlier this week.
Beadle: I have spoken with people, but I haven’t taken any meetings. Where’d you get that?
Q: Ten years from now, Michelle Beadle might be doing _____.
Beadle: I’m going to be old! With dreadlocks on St. John. Or I hope I’m hosting a fun morning show – I look at Josh Elliott … I’m so happy for him, it looks fun. I want to do that! I want a fun platform with a lot of interaction.