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Michelle Beadle to leave NBC, return to ESPN

Photo: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images

Michelle Beadle will return to ESPN after leaving the network for NBC less than two years ago.

Michelle Beadle is heading back to ESPN.

SI.com has learned the NBC Sports host and Access Hollywood correspondent will return to the network where she enjoyed success as the co-host of SportsNation. Beadle left ESPN for NBC in May 2012 and did so on exceptionally good terms, a clear prelude to her returning now. ESPN president John Skipper is a huge fan of her work, and she's championed both in-house and externally by Jamie Horowitz (who co-created SportsNation and helms Keith Olbermann's ESPN2 show) and Kevin Wildes (the co-creator of SportsNation). Look for Beadle to ultimately host or co-host a New York-based show with another ESPN talent at some point. There is a chance she could appear on SportsNation initially as well, though no ESPN start date is set yet. Beadle can officially leave NBC Sports in early March, according to a source.

Reached on Tuesday afternoon by SI.com, an NBC Sports spokesperson declined comment. An ESPN spokesperson also declined comment.

Beadle enjoyed critical and in-house praise for her work as a morning host during the London Games, but the NBC Sports Network show built around her, The Crossover, was canceled in less than a year after failing with the chemistry of the initial anchors (there was none) as well as the ratings (there were none). It did perk up a tick when Beadle hosted the show solo in a rebranded effort, but NBC Sports management pulled the plug last September.

Before The Crossover's official cancellation, Beadle expressed dismay over the lack of promotion for the show during a Sept. 19 Sports Media Weekly podcast with Ken Fang and Keith Thibault. The reaction was not exactly cotton candy and sprinkles from NBC Sports management. Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead reported via sources that Beadle was looking to opt out of the network and that her relationship with some in NBC Sports management had become "untenable."

When asked by SI.com at the time what was next for Beadle in the wake of her show's cancellation, an NBC Sports spokesperson said: "We expect her to remain a part of the shows she's done for us in the past such as Breeders' Cup and Triple Crown horse racing, and potentially adding some other assignments within our sports and entertainment properties. Michelle also continues as a correspondent for Access Hollywood."

Those potential sports assignments did not come. Those close to Beadle said she was unhappy with The Crossover's inability to find an audience on NBCSN and wanted to find an outlet where she can be seen by a wide audience on a daily basis. She will likely get that at ESPN, as she starts another work chapter.

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