ESPN Layoffs: Prominent On-Air Talents Among The Network’s 20-Person Staff Reduction

The popular Disney-owned sports network has begun a reported 20-person layoff in order to meet its financial targets. For this round of money-saving cuts, the network has its eyes on its highest-paid employees: its on-air commentators. 

Cuts so far include NBA analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Jalen Rose, in addition to Max Kellerman and Keyshawn Johnson. 

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“Given the current environment, ESPN has determined it necessary to identify some additional cost savings in the area of public-facing commentator salaries, and that process has begun,” ESPN said in a statement. “This exercise will include a small group of job cuts in the short-term and an ongoing focus on managing costs when we negotiate individual contract renewals in the months ahead.”

In addition to this round of layoffs, the network, according to CNBC, is not planning on renewing the contracts of more on-air employees when their contracts expire.

Van Gundy, formerly the head coach of the New York Knicks and the Houston Rockets, joined ESPN in 2007. Rose has been part of ESPN’s “NBA Countdown” for more than a decade. 

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Johnson last year signed a five-year deal worth around $18 million, according to the New York Post, which reported that he will be able to collect the entire amount despite the layoff. Kellerman, The Post reported, was making around $5 million a year. 

“This is an extremely challenging process, involving individuals who have had tremendous impact on our company,” the network said. “These difficult decisions, based more on overall efficiency than merit, will help us meet our financial targets and ensure future growth.”

This article will be updated as further news is announced.

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