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Sunday, April 21, 2024
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Football Czar Lee Fitting Is Out At ESPN

  • SVP oversaw “Monday Night Football,’ ‘College GameDay’ and College Football Playoff.
  • Powerful executive Norby Williamson is building a new production team.
Troy Aikman and Joe Buck
Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images)

With football season starting this week, ESPN has suffered another critical loss.

Lee Fitting, the respected senior vice president of production overseeing key properties like “Monday Night Football” and “College GameDay,” is out after 25 years with the company, sources confirmed to Front Office Sports. 

It’s unclear who, if anybody, will succeed Fitting in into the role.

Dan Zaksheske of Outkick first reported the news about Fitting. By 5 p.m. ET on Monday, Fitting’s bio was purged from ESPN’s press site.

“This is a major shakeup for the company just prior to the start of football season. Fitting’s oversight responsibilities included some of ESPN’s biggest properties, including Monday Night Football, the College Football Playoff, and College GameDay. Fitting also oversaw the SEC Network,” reported Outkick. “Essentially, if the programming included football, Lee Fitting was in charge. But that’s no longer the case.”

Fitting’s departure can be partly traced to a recent behind-the-scenes shakeup of ESPN’s executive ranks.

In June, Norby Williamson, executive editor and head of event and studio production, assumed the powerful role as the new chief of all football production at ESPN, including NFL, College Football, and XFL.

The NFL is King inside ESPN – especially with the network poised to televise its first two Super Bowls after the 2026 and 2030 seasons.

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The promotion made Williamson one of the most powerful executives in Bristol, along with chairman Jimmy Pitaro and president of content Burke Magnus.

Fitting previously reported to Stephenie Druley, executive vice president of event and studio production. But once Williamson landed the football power job, he started rearranging a new team.

Williamson announced Fitting was “no longer with the company” in an internal memo Monday.

“ESPN’s world-class football team is busy preparing for the start of the season, and I know this incredible team will continue their focus on delivering for sports fans.”

Williamson added he will address the new structure of ESPN’s football production lineup at a town hall on Aug. 29.

In late June, ESPN recently wrapped up a painful series of layoffs that saw football talents such as Suzy Kolber, Keyshawn Johnson and Steve Young get pink-slipped.

During a previous round of layoffs in April, ESPN let go several top-ranking executives such as ESPN+ boss Russell Wolff, senior director of digital audio programming Peter Gianesini and beloved communications ace Mike Soltys.

ESPN declined to comment. 

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