Longtime anchor Kenny Mayne leaves ESPN as network extends Chris Berman: 'Salary cap casualty'
Longtime ESPN personality and "SportsCenter" host Kenny Mayne announced on Monday that he's leaving the network after 27 years.
On the same day, ESPN announced that it's extending the contract of network stalwart and "NFL Primetime" host Chris Berman. It's not clear if the two transactions are related.
Mayne, 61, announced his departure on Twitter, describing himself as a "salary cap casualty" while thanking the executives who hired him.
I am leaving ESPN.
Salary cap casualty.
Thanks for the opportunity Vince Doria & Al Jaffe & for taking my solicitations
I will miss the people.
I will miss the vending machine set up over by the old Van Pelt joint.
We had everything.
— Kenny Mayne (@Kenny_Mayne) May 10, 2021
Mayne didn't expound on the reason for his departure, and ESPN didn't immediately issue a statement. Given his trademark dry sense of humor, Mayne's statement leaves room for interpretation over the nature of his exit.
Mayne leaves legacy of laughs at ESPN
Mayne joined ESPN in 1994 and quickly became a fixture alongside hosts like Dan Patrick and Keith Olberman who made made "SportsCenter" standard viewing for sports fans in the 1990s. He played several roles across ESPN and ESPN2 and is best known for his tongue-in-cheek productions like this 2007 "Mayne Event" feature alongside then Buffalo Bills-rookie running back Marshawn Lynch:
Mayne's unique brand of humor made him a cult favorite among ESPN viewers. He didn't hint at what might be next after his ESPN departure.
Berman to keep hosting 'NFL Primetime'
Berman, 66, has been at ESPN since 1979, joining the network a month after its launch. He was an original "SportsCenter" anchor and has been a leading voice in the network's MLB and NFL coverage for decades. He's seen a reduced role in recent years, with his focus on a full-time revival of "NFL Primetime," the long-running Sunday NFL highlights show he hosted alongside Tom Jackson until "Sunday Night Football" moved from ESPN to NBC in 2006.
Following various iterations after 2006, "Primetime" returned as a regular Sunday show with Berman as host in 2019 on ESPN+.
“We’ve been working on it for awhile, and this was the perfect time to do it,” Berman told the Associated Press of the extension. “ESPN has been almost two-thirds of my life. I’m honored that what I do still works.”
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