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Monday, June 24, 2024

Pat McAfee Likely to Land Max Kellerman’s Slot on ESPN

  • McAfee expected to take Kellerman's afternoon TV slot.
  • Kellerman also co-hosts morning radio show and boxing show for the network.
Max Kellerman's future at ESPN in doubt.
Photo by Allen Kee / ESPN Images

Max Kellerman’s “This Just In” TV show could be the first victim of ESPN’s big bucks Pat McAfee hire.

ESPN will likely pave the way for the addition of “The Pat McAfee Show” by canceling Kellerman’s weekday afternoon program, sources told Front Office Sports. 

But that possible change is one of many The Worldwide Leader is considering, as one source told FOS that ESPN is looking to trim up to $30 million in salary by the end of June. Those working on NFL and NBA coverage will be hardest hit, although the talent outside those two sports will be impacted. 

FOS was unable to reach Kellerman’s Los Angeles-based manager.

Kellerman’s show currently airs on the flagship channel from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET. It premiered in September, 2021, following his departure from the “First Take” morning show.

Besides a vague launch date of this fall, ESPN hasn’t said exactly when McAfee will shift part of his afternoon YouTube show to its platforms. 

But McAfee said last week his show would follow Mike Greenberg’s “Get Up” (8 a.m. to 10 a.m. ET) and Stephen A. Smith’s “First Take” (10 a.m. to noon ET). 

He said he received four “significant” offers before choosing ESPN. The often foul-mouthed McAfee also promised to refrain from dropping so many F-bombs on his show (which has 2.2 million subscribers) once he throws his lot in with The Walt Disney Co.

“Our show is what a lot of these suit folks are viewing as the future of daily sports talk. I think that’s a really cool thing,” tweeted McAfee, who’s walking away from a $120 million, four-year deal with FanDuel to move his show to ESPN. “A few years back, none of these networks would even give me a meeting. Now we’re the tip of the spear in what sports media needs to be in its next chapter.”

The ex-Indianapolis Colts punter’s program will air live simultaneously on ESPN, ESPN’s YouTube Channel, the ESPN App, and ESPN+ streaming platform. McAfee assured his listeners he will retain “full creative control.”

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Slotting McAfee into a 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. time slot would create a new weekday programming block of “Get Up,” “First Take,” and “SportsCenter” at noon ET, McAfee from 1 or 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., then Malika Andrews’ “NBA Today” at 3 p.m. and Laura Rutledge’s “NFL Live” at 4 p.m. ET.

He will also continue to appear as an analyst on “College GameDay” and narrate alternate telecasts of college football games for ESPN.

The question mark hanging over Kellerman’s afternoon TV show doesn’t necessarily mean he’s leaving ESPN.

Kellerman co-hosts ESPN Radio’s “Keyshawn, JWill & Max” weekday morning radio show with Keyshawn Johnson and Jay Williams. 

He’s a key contributor to ESPN’s boxing coverage. He previously served as Stephen A. Smith’s debate partner for five years on “First Take.” He was the original host of the long-running “Around the Horn.”

ESPN declined to comment.

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