Fans still reeling over the demise of ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” — which aired its final episode on Nov. 17 after nearly 18 years on the air — can be comforted by the upcoming premiere of “Golic & Wingo.”
The dynamic duo — co-hosts Mike Golic and Trey Wingo, with their trusty sidekick Mike Golic Jr. — are heading to radios and TVs near you on Nov. 27.
The show will air from 6-10 a.m. ET on ESPN Radio and ESPN2, and it’s decidedly a fresh start following Golic’s emotional farewell with longtime co-host Mike Greenberg. But at the end of the day, it’s going to be business as usual for Golic and Wingo, who have worked together on and off since 2003.
If the latest “Golic and Wingo” promos — which include the pair carpooling with Mike Jr. and getting lost in ESPN’s massive Bristol compound — are an indicator, they’re going to have a blast on the show.
Ran into an old friend along the way… pic.twitter.com/jzEdQEMfNS
— Golic and Wingo (@GolicAndWingo) November 22, 2017
“It is definitely a natural fit,” Golic told TheWrap, pointing out that he and Wingo have known each other for decades. “We live in the same town, our kids grew up together. He used to see Mike [Jr.] hanging out at the pool with his kids, and now he’s bigger than both of us,” he said, referring to his 28-year-old son who played football at Notre Dame before blasting up the sports broadcasting ranks.
“I am doing the exact same show, just with different teammates — both whom I know very well — while Greeny is launching a whole new show with a lot riding on it,” Golic added. Greenberg’s next venture will premiere in January from ESPN’s swanky New York studios, with Jalen Rose and Michelle Beadle as the front runners to join him.
After the hosts called the demise of “Mike & Mike” the “worst kept secret ever,” the fact the Golic Sr. was blindsided by the decision has hardly been kept quiet either and was the topic of multiple media reports.
“I had no opinion, I was called — not even last February, the one before — into the office and told by the head man that they were breaking up the show,” Golic said. “I never saw that coming. I was like ‘Why?’
“I thought we had been pretty successful for 18 years so I was very surprised … and not overly ecstatic. But just like when I was an NFL player on one team and then got traded to another (such as from the Eagles to the Dolphins), I didn’t have a say,” the former defensive tackle told TheWrap.
On the plus side: “There can never be any regret in it as it wasn’t my decision. It was not up for debate,” he said. “After you go through the emotions, you see it as a rebirth.”
Fortunately, 18 months later, he is “going onto the next show and is very excited about it,” especially when he heard there was going to be a “father-son” aspect.
“It’s good to have that young dynamic of a 28-year-old when me and Trey are both in our 50s,” he said of co-hosting with Mike Jr.
Golic and Greeny spent the final week of “Mike & Mike” reminiscing on the golden years that earned the unlikely duo a spot in the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame and a place in millions of viewers’ hearts.
“It is going to end on a good note of Greeny and ourselves looking back,” Golic told TheWrap ahead of the Nov. 17 final episode.
While they couldn’t be more different either on paper or in person — Greenberg told Golic, according to a report, they were like the number 10 when they first met, because he was so skinny and Golic so fat.
“I will just miss the chemistry that we had the most. We couldn’t be more opposite, I was the former player and Greeny is the season ticket holder,” Golic said. “We didn’t have a lot in common with our regular lives, but the chemistry just clicked. You kinda chuckle and say, ‘Wow. Two guys that are so different just work.’
“I was surprised by the ease of it with Greeny when we didn’t know each other before. He wasn’t even a candidate [for the regular spot] when we first worked together,” as the former “SportsCenter” co-host was one of the many stand-ins tried out by the network to share a desk with Golic. “As soon as we went off the air that first day, my wife called and said, “he sounds kinda geeky but he’s the one.'” And she couldn’t have been more right — in all ways. “It was kinda wild,” Golic added.
As for what will happen to their friendship now that they are professionally divorced, with Greeny moving to New York and Golic staying in Bristol, who knows?
“We probably will keep in touch, we have a group text with our DraftKings group,” Golic said. “I don’t know how much I’ll see him as he will in New York but in today’s world it is easy to keep in touch.”
One person Golic will be seeing a lot more of — every week day, in fact — is Wingo, who will be juggling his current duties on “NFL Live” with “Golic and Wingo.”
Aside from the (very) early morning starts, Wingo isn’t expecting it to be a rough transition and says the settling in period has already passed. “It’s like putting on a comfy pair of clothes when you know how it fits,” he told TheWrap.
And while the tone will be very similar to “Mike & Mike,” especially as Wingo had been a regular guest on that show, the format will differ. “We are going to be a radio show on TV,” he explained, as opposed to a TV show on the radio. “We will have the cameras in the studio like a nanny cam to make sure we are not bringing the house down,” he added.
“That is easier than a TV show that is on radio as you don’t need to explain as many things that the radio listeners can’t see,” Wingo said. “Ultimately, we want people to listen to what we say.”
The network veteran knows that living up to the legend of “Mike & Mike” is a high bar, but it’s not the first time he’s had big shoes to fill, having taken over ESPN’s coverage of the NFL Draft from the legendary Chris Berman earlier this year. “The first thing I did was to acknowledge what Boomer [Berman] had done all those years,” he said.
“Mike and Mike have been rock stars, so I know what I am replacing,” he added.
Wingo is also aware that there’ll be a transition period for both the crew and the viewers. “We are going to have a swear jar where every time anyone calls it ‘Mike & Mike,’ they have to put a dollar in.”
“Mike & Mike” became infamous for being game for anything — from milking cows (and getting pooped on) and wearing wacky Halloween costumes, to getting a body wax (that was Golic!) — and that’s going to continue with “Golic and Wingo.”
Wingo already thrashed the competition in the “One Chip Challenge” during “Mike & Mike’s” final week, when he ate a spicy Carolina Reaper Madness chip without even breaking a sweat.
“All three of us (both Golics and himself) have the same idea of what we want the show to be,” Wingo explained. “We are going to talk about the sports topics of the day and have fun with it … that is our philosophy.”
While there’s no avoiding the political divide in Trump’s America — especially when the president directly targets sports figures like Marshawn Lynch, LaVar Ball and even ESPN’s Jemele Hill via Twitter — the show has to find the balance between being an escape for sports fans and reporting on what people are talking about.
“You can’t ignore it, the question is how much do you dwell on it? You don’t tune in [to “Golic and Wingo”] for politics or other cultural issues. We will talk about them when they come up in the realm of sports and we will deal with those serious subjects,” he said, however, “It is not what we’re going to spend hours and hours on. People tune in to escape that world.”
What you will hear Wingo talking about a lot over the next few months is football, as he plans to maintain his “NFL PrimeTime,” “NFL Live,” NFL Draft and NFL Hall of Fame duties well into next year.
“It’ll be a sleep-deprived few months for sure,” he laughed. Don’t worry, they have a Starbucks on the ESPN campus when he needs a coffee fix.
“Golic and Wingo” premieres on Nov. 27 from 6-10 a.m. ET. The daily ESPN Radio program will initially be simulcast on ESPN2 before moving to its permanent simulcast home on ESPNU.
It can also be heard on ESPNRadio.com, the ESPN app, SiriusXM Channel 80, Apple Music, Slacker Radio and TuneIn. A daily podcast will also available on ESPNRadio.com and through the ESPN app.
Watch a preview of what to expect in the video below.