Connor Schell, the ESPN government who oversees all of its content material, starting from “Monday Evening Soccer” to “SportsCenter” to the documentary program “30 For 30,” will depart the sports-media large by the top of the 12 months, in accordance to an individual conversant in the matter.
The cut up is claimed to be associated to Schell’s need to pursue different ventures, this individual mentioned. In recent times, he has helped ESPN dive extra deeply into formidable miniseries, together with the award-winning “O.J.: Made in America” and the current displaying of “The Final Dance,” the documentary challenge about Michael Jordan and the Nineties Chicago Bulls. “We take numerous satisfaction in sports activities as a communal viewing expertise,” Schell informed Selection in an interview in April.
The New York Submit beforehand reported on Schell’s anticipated departure. ESPN declined to make executives obtainable for remark. Revelation of Schell’s exit follows the announcement of the departure of Ryan Spoon, ESPN’s digital-content chief, late final month.
His exit will add to a brand new listing of challenges for Jimmy Pitaro, chairman of ESPN and sports activities content material for Walt Disney Firm, and his company supervisors. Disney has been grappling with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, which has crimped the heady income flows it usually will get from its theme parks, advert gross sales and manufacturing of stay sports activities video games. ESPN on Thursday revealed that it deliberate lower 300 staffers and depart 200 different positions unfilled because it labored to hold prices down whereas focusing extra intently on reaching shoppers by cellular and digital video.
Schell’s exit will not be associated to the layoffs, in accordance to the individual conversant in the matter. He has been in discussions with Pitaro about his future plans for a number of months, this individual mentioned. It’s not clear if ESPN has a delegated successor for Schell nowadays.
Schell, who joined ESPN in 2004, has labored his means up from working in program growth to overseeing “30 for 30” and ESPN Movies. He was named government vice chairman of content material in June of 2017.
Underneath his aegis, ESPN has confirmed keen to experiment. The community examined hosts like Jemele Hill and Michael Smith for “SportsCenter” who have been keen to transfer previous facts-and-stats reportage into exploring hot-button points. And it launched a brand new morning present, “Get Up,” that originally failed to achieve traction however has, with just a few tweaks, change into a mainstay a part of the community’s lineup. And the community has continued to tweak the presentation of “Monday Evening Soccer,” at the same time as its negotiations for broadcast rights with the NFL begin to intensify.
Schell has all the time stored a hand in ESPN’s documentary efforts and is claimed to have stored ties to Invoice Simmons, the previous ESPN character who turned a media entrepreneur and launched “The Ringer,” an outlet devoted to sports activities and tradition.
Schell had been named as an government producer on a brand new documentary sequence being created with soccer participant and activist Colin Kaepernick beneath a deal the athlete crated with Walt Disney earlier this 12 months. Two different senior ESPN staffers are additionally government producers on the challenge.