ESPN is tinkering with the anchor lineup for its signature studio show SportsCenter.
Elle Duncan is being promoted to the 6 p.m. ET SportsCenter (the flagship hour) on weekdays with Kevin Negandhi, while Sage Steele will move from 6 p.m. to the noon hour alongside Matt Barrie on Mondays-Thursdays, the network announced Tuesday.
Why the move?
“We have a very talented and diverse set of voices on SportsCenter and a deep lineup of quality individuals who make up the team,” ESPN evp Norby Williamson said in a statement. “As we turn the page to 2021, we’re doing what we have always done – providing new opportunities for some anchors to experience different shows and pairings while offering continuity and familiarity to our viewers with other editions.”
Duncan is currently on maternity leave, and will join Negandhi upon her planned return in February. During her time at ESPN, Duncan has anchored many editions of SportsCenter, and will continue contributing to other ESPN programs including Around the Horn and Highly Questionable.
“I’m honored to host the 6 p.m. SportsCenter and ultimately thrilled to work at a company that continues to offer new challenges and opportunities for growth,” Duncan said in a statement. “I’m so grateful to Matt Barrie for the partnership we’ve shared over the years and looking forward to building on a signature show with Kevin Negandhi in the new year. But first: this baby.”
In addition to her new SportsCenter role, Steele will host a “periodic interview program” for ESPN+ as part of the 2021 lineup changes. Details of that show, including the name and launch date will be revealed at a later date.
“As I begin my 15th year at ESPN, I couldn’t be happier for the opportunity to continue my dream job of hosting SportsCenter,” Steele said in a statement. “I am so thankful to ESPN for allowing me to do so by returning to my roots at noon ET while raising three teenagers.”
Steele, who hosted NBA Countdown up until 2017 and has anchored the flagship edition of SportsCenter with Negandhi since May 2018, arrived at ESPN in 2007. TVNewser and TVSpy readers may also recall Steele from her pre-ESPN years at CSN Mid-Atlantic, and WFTS, the ABC affiliate in Tampa.