Michael Smith to Leave ESPN’s SportsCenter for Other Projects

Posted by at 11:41 am on March 9, 2018

ESPN had planned for the 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter to be one of the network’s most personality-driven broadcasts. Instead, it may turn out to be one of its most traditional.

Michael Smith will leave the 6 p.m. edition of ESPN’s SportsCenter, the network confirmed Friday, the latest talent switch in a broadcast that appears to have proven more difficult to get right than executives may have expected. Smith, who launched the show known as SC 6 in February of 2017 with co-host Jemele Hill, will take on a role to be determined at the Walt Disney-owned sports-media giant. The duo approached the program as a spot for mixing the news and highlights of the moment with opinionated takes on sports and cultural trends.

“Michael Smith will be leaving the 6 p.m. ET SportsCenter after tonight’s edition,” ESPN said in a statement Friday. “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.”

His departure follows that of Jemele Smith, who announced in January that she would work at ESPN’s “Undefeated” as well as other properties.

ESPN has changed course on the hour, moving away from the interplay Smith and Hill introduced to fans on their His & Hers podcast, and, subsequently on ESPN2. In January, SportsCenter chief Norby Williamson said executives had found early-evening viewers “expect the most comprehensive news coverage and compelling analysis during the 6 p.m. hour.,” rather than commentary and opinion.

ESPN did not name a replacement for Smith, who was working solo on the show. A rotating group of anchors will fill in until the network sets upon a permanent set of hosts.

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