The Mike Francesa drama hit a fever pitch this morning when he said it’s time for him to return to WFAN and that unnamed enemies mounted a “campaign” to stop it, and just like that Bob Raissmann of the New York Daily News has the scoop:
Francesa will be back in the 3 p.m.-7 p.m. slot, according to well-embedded Hudson Street (FAN Headquarters) rats. The sources said the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. slot will be divided between Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts, currently FAN’s 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. team, and CMB, aka Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott, who replaced Francesa earlier this year.
Andrew Marchand from the NY Post adds:
If and when this goes down, this can only be seen as a total cave on both sides. WFAN was petrified that CMB lost the 25-54 male demographic by a hair to ESPN NY’s Michael Kay Show in the winter quarter ratings book. Francesa, working with CAA sports co-head Michael Levine, was clearly unable to find other viable enough suitors for services.
This is a terrible job from WFAN management, who had two years to find a good replacement for Francesa and pulled the plug after just a few months, a miniscule amount of time for a new show to find its footing. Francesa took a longer farewell tour than Billy Joel, culminating in December, and he’s already knocking his replacements of drive time. CMB may have been boring, but if it’s getting demoted after just one book it never had a legitimate chance to succeed.
Selfishly, I’m glad there will be a place to go to hear Francesa’s opinion any time there is a big New York sports story, but it would have been more interesting to watch him take a risk on a different platform. Beyond that, if he was going back to WFAN, it would have been a much better poker move from a leverage perspective to wait until August. Francesa takes a ton of time off in the summer, so he’s going to come back now and then just go away again in July and August?
In any event, it will be fascinating to monitor when he returns.