ESPN’s College GameDay pre-game show will have a revamped lineup this upcoming college football season after Disney’s mass layoffs that impacted on-air talent.
Rece Davis will return as host on September 2 when College GameDay makes its 2023 season debut from Charlotte, N.C., for the Duke Mayo Classic between UNC and South Carolina. Davis, who has hosted since 2015, will be joined by returning GameDay analysts Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, Pat McAfee, insider Pete Thamel, and reporters Jen Lada and Jess Sims.
Not returning to the GameDay crew are longtime panelists Gene Wojciechowski and David Pollack, as both were laid off by ESPN in June as part of cuts to roughly 20 on-air talents. Chris “Bear” Fallica, who was on GameDay from 1996 to 2022, will also not return after he left ESPN in December to join Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff college football show.
McAfee’s deal with ESPN, announced in May, will reportedly pay him $85 million over five years. Front Office Sports reported that some ESPN employees were upset with the lucrative signing of McAfee amid ESPN’s layoffs as part of the broader 7,000 job cuts at Disney.
GameDay, which ESPN debuted in 1987, averaged 2.1 million viewers last year to rate as the college football show’s most-watched regular season ever. It marked a 10% viewership increase over the prior year, which was the show’s previous high.