Details remain scarce about Craig Carton’s new FS1 show.
We know it is expected to be a morning show that launches in the fall. Carton’s WFAN colleagues, Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti, have made it clear the venture has their blessing. Fox tried (and failed) to hire ex-Jets lineman Damien Woody away from ESPN to be Carton’s co-host. And that’s about it. But a new clue may have just dropped.
Jenna Wolfe announced she was leaving “First Things First” and FS1 at the end of Friday’s edition. The former MSG Network and NBC 4 New York reporter had been hosting the Nick Wright-driven program since its inception.
Jenna Wolfe announces today was her last day on First Things First and FS1 pic.twitter.com/S3meEp9nlL
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) August 12, 2022
Wolfe’s exit would give further credence to the reporting and speculation that Carton’s show will take over FTF’s time slot (7:30-9:30 a.m. ET) as a lead-in to “Undisputed,” the network’s Skip Bayless-Shannon Sharpe hot take show. And that Wright, Chris Broussard and Kevin Wildes will move to an afternoon slot (presumably with a tweaked concept).
The Carton-FS1 marriage will be very interesting. He is not a traditional sports talk voice in any way. He never does Xs and Os. He does do takes, but they are rarely in the vein of the ones that power FS1’s programming. And is there really a major national audience for Carton?
The dynamic with his eventual co-host will also be fascinating. The Woody pursuit suggests FS1 wants to implement the game plan many thought WFAN would use when Carton returned: Pair him with a former athlete with a big personality. And WFAN probably would have done that had it not let Bart Scott get away.
Also: What will the impact be on WFAN’s afternoon drive program? Carton will do both to start. And he and Evan Roberts are dominating in the ratings. They will vanquish Michael Kay and ESPN Radio New York for good with a win in the fall book.
But if the FS1 show takes off, there is likely more money in Fox’s piggy bank than Audacy’s. Just saying. And we’ve seen absolutely nothing to suggest WFAN has anyone in the pipeline that could come close to driving the ratings and revenue Carton does. The opposite, in fact.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]