Charissa Thompson, the feisty co-host of ESPN’s Sports Nation, is reportedly jumping from the so-called Worldwide Leader in Sports to Fox Sports.
Thompson took over for Michelle Beadle (who herself moved to NBC) as co-host of the show as of the summer of 2012, first with Colin Cowherd and now with former NFL defensive end Marcellus Wiley. In fact, ESPN moved the show from Bristol, Conn., to Los Angeles to accommodate Thompson.
She also co-hosts the ABC diving reality show Splash with Joey Lawrence.
Apparently there is a bidding war going on for top-tier ESPN female anchors/reporters according to The Big Lead: “And with NBC and Fox trying to compete with ESPN, the easy move is to pluck its high profile talent. This backs ESPN into a corner: Does it try and match the rumored offers — I’ve heard anywhere from $600k a year to $800k for [Erin] Andrews, Beadle and [Rachel] Nichols — to retain talent, or let them walk and find the next rising star? I think it’s clear from these four departures that ESPN has made a decision.”
Andrews also went to Fox, and Rachel Nichols is now covering sports for CNN. Thompson would be the fourth female ESPN on-air personality to bail on the network in the past year and a half for a big payday elsewhere. The status of a Thompson-less Sports Nation also appears to be uncertain.
Thompson earlier in her career co-hosted The Best Damn Sports Show Period and was a sideline reporter on the Fox Sports Network among many other television gigs.
Neither ESPN nor Fox would comment on the status of Charissa Thompson, which probably indicates that something is up. Reportedly her contract with ESPN ends in July.
Fox is launching is new sports network, Fox Sports 1, on August 17. “What is abundantly clear is Fox Sports has a plan to feature Thompson in some fashion … the upcoming Regis Philbin show on Fox Sports 1 has been … auditioning talent for months but nothing is firm.”