In a move that was announced yesterday, ESPN is making two SportsCenter anchors switch time slots in a swap that will take place in 2021.
Following the conclusion of the College Football Playoff, Sage Steele will move from the 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter to co-anchor the noon version of ESPN’s flagship show.
Steele, who has co-anchored the 6 p.m. edition with Kevin Negandhi since May of 2018, will be replaced by Elle Duncan, who is on maternity leave, in February. Duncan was co-hosting the noon SportsCenter with Matt Barrie.
“Pretty surreal to head to the hospital tomorrow knowing I’m being given a new opportunity in the new year. I’m so grateful to ESPN and thankful 4 the messages.. and now I focus on Evas final night as a solo act and then navigating the complexities of boy diaper changes,” Duncan responded to the news on Twitter.
As part of the shift, which could certainly be viewed as a demotion, Steele will “add a new periodic ESPN+ interview program to her slate,” according to The Worldwide Leader. The show’s debut date and title will be announced later.
In addition to hosting the main edition of SportsCenter, Duncan will continue as a contributor on other ESPN programs including Around the Horn and Highly Questionable.
“We have a very talented and diverse set of voices on SportsCenter and a deep lineup of quality individuals who make up the team,” said ESPN executive VP Norby Williamson. “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.”
The swap of the two anchors is especially interesting because Steele told The Wall Street Journal in July that she was excluded from appearing on an ESPN special about race because Duncan and another colleague said she “wouldn’t be accepted by what they considered the Black community.”