Alex Rodriguez and ESPN pivoted to nowhere.
In May, ESPN and Rodriguez announced to advertisers with much fanfare that they would do a show called “Pivot” during the MLB season.
And then they didn’t do it.
In an odd occurrence, the A-Rod series was never produced, even after ESPN made it a featured part of its presentation at its upfronts at Times Square’s Minskoff Theatre seven months ago. The upfronts are the yearly event in which networks try to attract advertisers.
It was announced then that Rodriguez would be “Pivot”’s executive producer and host of a four-show series during the baseball season.
“I’m looking forward to uncovering personal stories the world deserves to hear, while sharing the lessons I’ve learned — sometimes through the hard way,” Rodriguez said at the time in a press release.
He apparently wasn’t looking that forward to it, as he went 0-for-4 in delivering the specials. A-Rod did record a podcast series this summer with Dan Katz from Barstool Sports that seemed to have a somewhat similar concept. “The Corp” was released Thursday.
As for “Pivot,” ESPN said it is pivoting to 2019.
“There were a few scheduling conflicts amidst a busy 2018 baseball season that caused delays,” the network said in a statement. “We’re now focused on premiering Pivot in 2019.”
While it was strange that ESPN would make such a ballyhooed announcement and then not deliver, it was not unprecedented.
In 2015, ESPN said the radio show “Mike & Mike” would be moved to New York and the format altered. Instead, they remained in Bristol and the program eventually broke up.
Baseball Media Hot Stove: It is official. “Intentional Talk” is no longer on ESPN2. The Post had reported this was in the works in October. In an unusual relationship for ESPN, it had been borrowing “Intentional Talk” from MLB Network, where the show that features Chris Rose and Kevin Millar continued to air.
As for the potential rebirth of another baseball show on ESPN, that still could be in the works, but nothing is definitive as of yet. We were told it would more likely be a nighttime program and not for the afternoon slot vacated by “Intentional Talk.”
That said, “Baseball Tonight,” ESPN’s longtime flagship show, will be back at the winter meetings in Vegas next week after not having a full set there since 2015. The network will have multiple programs on each of the first three days of next week, including in “Intentional Talk”’s old 4:30 p.m. slot on ESPN2.
After the meetings, though, ESPN2 will fill “Intentional Talk”’s slot with re-airs of “College Football Live” and “High Noon.”
The issue for ESPN as it continues to lean toward football and basketball is that baseball fans can turn to MLB Network, feeling confident it will usually have coverage.
During the winter meetings, MLBN will be live on the air for 45 hours with “Intentional Talk,” “High Heat,” “MLB Now” and “MLB Tonight” all in Las Vegas. The winter meetings are the event that MLBN has taken to a new level, because it offers tonnage and quality.
YES and SNY will have presences in Vegas, as well.
The very competitive afternoon-ratings war between WFAN’s Mike Francesa and ESPN New York’s Michael Kay was in overdrive on its last day of the fall book on Wednesday. While Kay went for six hours, beginning his program at 1 p.m. and having Aaron Boone and Sam Darnold as guests in an effort to jolt his ratings one final time, Francesa had Jeff Wilpon, Brodie Van Wagenen and Mickey Callaway in studio for nearly an hour and 40 minutes of commercial-free radio in an effort to squeeze out another victory.
The final ratings numbers will not be out until later this month. Francesa is still the favorite, but Kay has a chance to unseat him.