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Quite a number of ESPN personalities have left for Fox Sports in recent years, but at least one prominent member of the sportstalk media went the other way: Katie Nolan has told GQ why she did the exact opposite in October. In a way, it’s all Cris Carter’s fault, and we’ve got the video evidence.
Nolan was a young, rising star when Fox debuted “Garbage Time With Katie Nolan” in March 2015. By February 2017, Nolan was literally taking her show on the road for Super Bowl LI — those live versions in Houston, featuring co-worker Carter as a main-chair guest, are where it all went wrong.
We’re mostly kidding about Carter being the problem, but his appearance and the argument that ensued turned out to be the impetus. Bigger-picture-wise, it was others meddling in her unique comedy/sports-hybrid format that put “Garbage Time” on the trash heap, Nolan now says.
Below is the relevant part of her GQ profile, which was written by Clay Skipper. He’s the son of ousted ESPN boss John Skipper, who stepped down in December, citing a “substance addiction.”
I think that I’m so worried that someone else that isn’t as invested in this as I am is going to touch it and f— it up and they’ll just go, Whoops, and go on to their next thing. So I am so protective of all my things. I could have moved [Garbage Time] out to LA, could have grown it to an hour daily show on FS1. Right before I left I went to the Super Bowl and we did my show live, an hour daily from the Super Bowl.
Before we got out there, I said, “Look, we’re booking a panel of people to be on this show with me. They need to be people that understand what this show is. I don’t want you to get me big name athletes that have no idea who I am or what I do. They’re just going to be confused and it’s not going to work on the show. I also don’t want you to get me a panel of people that all work at Fox. Those are my only two things. I will do whatever else.”
The night before the first show live from the Super Bowl they were like, “Such and such missed his flight. So the first show is going to be you, Nick Wright, Cris Carter, two FS1 personalities”–and then a girl I had booked, Sarah Tiana, a very funny comedian. I was like, “Okay, this is going to be a disaster.” They were like, “It’s gonna be fine.”
Cris Carter brings up Deflategate. I’m like, okay so now I either have to, out of respect for him, let him talk about this on my show or be like, “It’s my show. Shut up Cris.” So I chose the second option. We got into it. It was a mess. It wasn’t good TV.
I wasn’t mad at him, I was mad at the network. Like, “I told you. I know this show better than anyone else. Cris Carter is incredible, but he will not work on this show. It’s not going to work for him.” They didn’t listen. So that was the moment that I was like, I’m not coming back to Fox.
It all made for a re-watchable 10 minutes of TV, at least — and thank goodness for YouTube.
Watch the video above. Read Nolan’s full interview here.
TheWrap gave Fox Sports the opportunity to respond to Nolan’s remarks in GQ profile (and thus, this piece), but we did not immediately har back.
“Always Late With Katie Nolan” streams on ESPN+.