One of the worst-kept secrets in sports broadcasting revealed itself on Wednesday when former ESPN radio personality Colin Cowherd confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that he has signed a four-year contract with Fox Sports.
What will Cowherd be doing for the network outside of knocking Wizards star John Wall? His deal includes television appearances on Fox, Fox Sports 1 and a syndicated radio show via Premiere Networks. Cowherd will host a three-hour sports talk program called "The Herd" beginning Sept. 8. That show will air simultaneously on Fox Sports 1 and the Fox Sports Radio Network, weekdays from 12:00 to 3:00 PM ET. Cowherd's show will also be available onFOXSportsRadio.com, FOXSports.com, as well as iHeartRadio.com and the iHeartRadio mobile ap.
Along with his radio work, Cowherd will also be a regular on Fox NFL Kickoff, which will air Sundays at 11:00 AM ET on Fox.He will also be part of Fox’s coverage of the Sept. 3 Utah-Michigan college football season opener, the Michigan coaching debut for Jim Harbaugh. Jim Miller, the author of the best-selling book on ESPN’s history, Those Guys Have All the Fun, was first on Cowherd's radio details.
As I reported last month, ESPN actively tried to keep Cowherd. On the reason he signed with Fox Sports over staying with ESPN, Cowherd told THR: “Pat Riley says every 10 years you probably should change jobs. I could stay [at ESPN] or I could go to a fledgling, young network with an open canvas that is really interested in doing new things. I don't want it to come out like I'm not appreciative of [ESPN]. I mean ESPN plucked me out of nowhere and I'm forever grateful for the opportunity. I don't love the way it ended. But I'm not a grudge-holder.”
Cowherd was jettisoned by ESPN on July 24, hours after he failed to explain comments he made on a prior show that denigrated the intelligence of Dominicans in baseball. Amid a torrent of criticism, Cowherd ultimately apologized, saying, “my choice of words was poor and not reflective of who I am.”
As I wrote last month: Given all of Cowherd’s comments over the years, ESPN management suddenly finding religion on Cowherd’s content was a laugh riot, lacking only a donkey to pin a tail on. For starters, the network initially said the comments were “inappropriate,” a mild rebuke. That enabling fit a longterm pattern. For years, ESPN wasn’t just fine with Cowherd’s socioeconomic mumbo-jumbo; it celebrated it. It created television shows for him, including a Sunday morning show, and essentially assigned a p.r. person to flag-wave everything he did. When I reported the piece on Cowherd leaving, plenty at ESPN praised Cowherd as if he were a dignitary leaving his UN post. The company also offered him a lucrative deal to stay, which is an interesting approach to someone whose content does not reflect “the values of ESPN.”
On getting removed by ESPN, Cowherd told THR, “Enterprises need to protect the enterprise. I get that. And I chose my words very poorly. I made a mistake. I can be harsh but I don't think I'm mean. I hurt people with my words and I regret that. But I don't want that ending to overwhelm what was a great relationship.”
Cowherd moving to Fox has a significant impact on the New York City-based The Mike Francesa Show, which currently airs on Fox Sports 1 weekday afternoons when not preempted by world soccer coverage. With Cowherd's radio show being simulcast daily on Fox Sports 1 in the afternoon, Fox said Francesa's show will now morph to Fox Sports 2 and Fox Sports Go.