Behind the Mic: As Bill Simmons Exits ESPN, Scott Van Pelt Re-ups

ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt has signed a multi-year extension that will see him become the solo anchor for SportsCenter’s weekday, midnight (ET) edition. Scheduled to start his new role in late summer, Van Pelt will put his own, unique spin on the day’s news and highlights while offering the commentary, guests, interviews and insight fans have come to expect from the host of ESPN Radio’s SVP & Russillo.  The midnight show will feature Van Pelt’s outgoing and authoritative personality and his signature perspective on the sports world. Popular elements of his radio show, like “One Big Thing,” will be incorporated into the hour-long telecast. Van Pelt will continue to host ESPN golf coverage in addition to other assignments but will no longer do his radio show once the midnight show begins…

…While Van Pelt’s future with ESPN looks to be bright, Bill Simmons time at the network abruptly came to an end on Friday, as ESPN President John Skipper announced he would not be renewing Simmons’ contract. The move ends a nearly 15-year-old relationship with ESPN as a columnist, podcaster, editor in chief of the website Grantland, television analyst, and one of the creators of the “30 for 30” documentary series. The announcement came more than four months before his contract is to expire at the end of September. (NYT)…

…FOX Sports has unveiled its studio analysts for live 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup pre-match, halftime and post-match commentary. The personalities joining FOX Sports’ Women¹s World Cup coverage, mostly former star players on the international stage, have represented five different countries – USA, Canada, England, Germany and Mexico.  They combine for an impressive 932 international matches played, including a remarkable 51 FIFA World Cup and Women’s World Cup match appearances between 1990 and 2011.  The formidable lineup features past United States Men’s and Women’s National Team stars Angela Hucles, Alexi Lalas, Heather Mitts, Leslie Osborne and Eric Wynalda. Those bringing a global flavor and expertise are retired Canadian WNT striker Christine Latham; Kelly Smith, England’s all-time women’s leading goal scorer; Ariane Hingst, two-time Women’s World Cup champion with Germany; and former Mexican Women’s National Team captain Monica Gonzalez. In addition to the former players, longtime FIFA Match Commissioner Dr. Joe Machnik provides his unique insight, interpreting rules and dissecting referee decisions.  As was previously announced, FOX Sports’ Rob Stone and Sky Sports’ Kate Abdo serve as studio hosts throughout the month-long tournament…

…Molly Qerim is leaving NFL Network to move cross-country and join morning radio show hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic on “Mike & Mike” as it prepares to relocate to New York City. This marks the first time the show has added a permanent third voice since Greenberg and Golic first started working together in 1998, when Greenberg was a substitute host. He became the show’s permanent host in December 1999. Qerim is leaving her job as one of the hosts for “NFL AM,” NFL Network’s daily morning show that has gone on hiatus until the preseason starts. Its last show was Friday, and NFL Network executives plan to make some subtle changes to it when it comes back. Qerim has had on-air roles at CBS and covered the UFC on ESPN, the former Versus and Fox Sports 1. (SBJ).

…espnW has signed reporter and columnist Jane McManus, one of’s original contributors, to a multiyear extension. McManus will continue as a primary voice for espnW on multiple ESPN platforms including, ESPN television and ESPN Radio.  In addition, she will still contribute to and as an NFL reporter. McManus has written for espnW since the site’s inception in 2010.  She has covered key events like the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament, the NFL Draft, the Super Bowl and the US Open, as well as offered expert commentary on issues like legal cases like former NFL star Lawrence Taylor’s statutory rape case, gender equity and homophobia in sports.  She has been at the forefront of the domestic violence in sports conversation, reporting extensively and providing analysis on cases involving high-profile athletes Ray Rice, Hope Solo and Greg Hardy. McManus has covered sports and the New York Jets since 1998. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times

…ESPN’s longtime broadcaster Chris Berman was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame on May 5 at Chicago’s Navy Pier. Berman joined ESPN in 1979 and has since become the face of the network. The quarterback for ESPN’s NFL coverage, he returns to the Windy City to accept this honor just days after covering his 35th consecutive NFL Draft. Host of the Emmy-nominated Sunday NFL Countdown, Berman also anchors Monday Night Countdown and serves as Master of Ceremony for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and play-by-play announcer for the second game of the Monday Night Football opening week doubleheader. Before the football season returns this fall, he’ll host Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby for ESPN.

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