Charissa Thompson, a rising star at ESPN and co-host of SportsNation, has reportedly left the network for Fox Sports.
Big Lead cites multiple sources in reporting Thompson, a personality that was pegged by many to fill the hole left when Erin Andrews departed for Fox Sports, is indeed leaving for the same network.
Rumors had been floating around that Thompson might leave the Worldwide Leader for the network she previously worked for, but she seemed to be content with her role at ESPN.
She does a fine job co-hosting ESPN's SportsNation alongside the equally charismatic Marcellus Wiley, and she is also serving as host to ABC's new reality-TV diving show, Splash.
That raises a couple of questions that remain to be answered. There is no word on what lucrative offer wooed Thompson back to Fox Sports, and it now puts SportsNation in a perilous spot once again.
That particular show started with hosts Colin Cowherd and Michelle Beadle but changed hosts once Beadle left ESPN for NBC.
Incidentally, Big Lead reminds us of the mass exodus that continues for ESPN: Beadle left the network last May; Andrews' departure was announced in June; and Rachel Nichols left the network for CNN and Turner Sports earlier this year.
Big Lead points to rising wages to explain the departures:
And with NBC and Fox trying to compete with ESPN, the easy move is to pluck its high profile talent. This backs ESPN into a corner: Does it try and match the rumored offers – I’ve heard anywhere from $600k a year to $800k for Andrews, Beadle and Nichols – to retain talent, or let them walk and find the next rising star? I think it’s clear from these four departures that ESPN has made a decision.
What is abundantly clear is Fox Sports has a plan to feature Thompson in some fashion. The report notes that the upcoming Regis Philbin show on Fox Sports 1 has been "auditioning talent for months but nothing is firm."
After seeing Thompson on SportsNation, fitting her in next to Philbin would make perfect sense for the budding sports channel.
When you consider Jay Glazer was given a daily show at Fox Sports, it's rather easy to assume we will see a great deal more of Thompson than we ever might have on ESPN.
While there has been no official announcement, it seems that ESPN will have to find yet another new host for one of its more popular shows while Fox Sports steals another vibrant personality.
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