ESPN is headed for yet another programming shakeup.
Jemele Hill is leaving the 6 p.m. “SportsCenter” — aka “SC6” — to join ESPN’s “The Undefeated,” Sports Illustrated reported Friday. According to the report, Hill asked for the change.
The move comes almost a year after ESPN launched “SC6” with Hill anchoring alongside Michael Smith. The rebranding was billed as an innovative tweak to the network’s flagship station, but ratings haven’t been strong. Whether that’s the fault of Hill and Smith, the program’s direction or anything else related to the change is hard to say, but the relaunch certainly didn’t give the show a jolt, either.
And that’s been despite Hill’s very busy year in the spotlight. She was called out by President Donald Trump’s administration and then by the president himself on Twitter for her critical remarks, as she labeled him a “white supremacist.” Hill then was suspended two weeks for tweets violating the network’s social media policy, presumably for tweets about the NFL’s sponsors.
It’s unclear what Hill will do at The Undefeated, which was billed by ESPN at its launch as a website that will provide “provocative commentary to enlighten and entertain African Americans as well as sports fans seeking a deeper understanding of black athletes, culture and related issues.”
Also unknown is how ESPN’s programming plans will be affected. The 6 p.m. “SportsCenter” long has been a focal point of the network, but given the current media and TV climate, it’s hard to see the show reclaiming its glory days anytime soon.
ESPN is also in the midst of rebranding its morning programming. Mike Greenberg’s new morning show will debut April 2.
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images
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