The boss will survive ESPNs next round of layoffs and the next and the next.
ESPN president John Skipper has reached a contract extension with the company through 2021, according to multiple reports, taking him three years beyond his original deal that had a 2018 end date. Skipper, who has been with the Worldwide Leader since 1997, took over as president in 2012.
The good news for Skipper comes just weeks before ESPN is expected to let go of over 100 employees for the second time this year. A report that first indicated 40 to 60 employees would be shown the door after Thanksgiving quickly escalated to a number that eerily resembled Aprils massive cuts.
The layoffs reportedly will include employees in all facets of the company but will particularly target SportsCenter, ESPNs flagship program that has undergone a facelift over the past year.
Skipper has come under scrutiny of late for his indecisiveness over two ESPN controversies. Less than a month after giving SportsCenter anchor Jemele Hill a slap on the wrist for her incendiary tweets about President Donald Trump, the network suspended herin October for what it called a second violation of our social media guidelines. This month Skipper released a revised version of those guidelines, which encouraged its employees to avoid outright partisanship and seek permission before commenting on political or social issues on air.
The 61-year-old Skipper was back in the spotlight in late October for his delayed response to ESPNs contentious partnership with Barstool Sports. A week after ESPN defended its deal with Barstool Van Talk as separate from the controversial comedy website and let the debut show air, Skipper admitted his mistake and abruptly pulled the plug. Sunday NFL Countdown host Samantha Ponder was vocally upset over the original partnership, engaging in a heated exchange on Twitter over Barstools sexist treatment of her in the past.
Effective immediately, I am cancelling Barstool Van Talk, Skipper said in a statement at the time.While we had approval on the content of the show, I erred in assuming we could distance our efforts from the Barstool site and its content.
ESPN recently has shown a desire to tap into modern media platforms, launching a twice-daily SportsCenter on Snapchat Monday and planning to release an online subscription package next spring.