(Updated at 12:10 p.m. ET with a statement from ESPN.)
So much for “SC6”: Michael Smith is following Jemele Hill out the door at the 6 p.m. “SportsCenter,” TheWrap is told by a person with knowledge of the situation. Like Hill, Smith will remain at ESPN under a longterm contract.
Tonight will be Smith’s final show. The time slot for the rest of March will be staffed by a rotating stable other “SportsCenter” anchors, we’re told exclusively.
“Michael Smith will be leaving the 6 p.m. ET ‘SportsCenter’ after tonight’s edition,” Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president and executive editor, Studio Production, said a few hours after our initial report was published. “Michael is a talented commentator and we greatly appreciate and value his contributions and creativity. We are in the process of discussing with him potential next ESPN assignments.”
“Permanent anchors for the 6 p.m. ‘SportsCenter’ will be determined and announced at a later date,” he continued. “In the interim, the program will be hosted by a variety of anchors from the ‘SportsCenter’ team.”
Just like we said — but now you can find the lineup here.
As Williamson mentioned, it is unclear at the moment what Smith’s duties will now become at the self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader in Sports, though there is the possibility for ESPN to revive the duo’s “His & Hers” podcast.
The “Hers” of that show is currently writing for ESPN.com and The Undefeated, and she is poised to host town halls and other Undefeated events and specials on the network.
Hill left her post in early February. Smith lasted about a month and change on his own.
Both Smith and Hill had expressed frustration with ESPN’s tinkering with their “SportsCenter,” which was intended to be more personality-based and less straight news and highlights. It started out that way, but slowly morphed into a more traditional telecast of the flagship show.
The rocky run was also plagued with controversy, mostly from Hill’s end.
Last year, Hill was sent to the Disney company’s bench after some unkind tweets about President Trump and his supporters. Though the straw that really broke her on-air streak was when Hill used Twitter to call for a boycott of Dallas Cowboys-advertisers after team owner Jerry Jones demanded his players stand for the national anthem or be benched. That didn’t go over well with her employer.
“Jemele Hill has been suspended for two weeks for a second violation of our social media guidelines,” ESPN said in a statement back then. “She previously acknowledged letting her colleagues and company do with an impulsive tweet.”
That company line referred to her calling President Trump a “white supremacist” just a few weeks prior.