The King of the South may not be on ESPN's airwaves much longer, according to a breaking report from Sports Business Daily, who indicates college football media giant Paul Finebaum and his wealth of content could leave the Worldwide Leader for other ventures very soon.
"Paul Finebaum is negotiating with TV networks about a sitcom based on his life; such a move would see him leave ESPN and SEC Network," SBD's Michael Smith wrote on Tuesday.
Sources indicate Finebaum is exploring the potential of beginning a startup modeled after The Ringer or potentially taking his popular call-in show and soundbites to Sports Illustrated, DAZN or Fox Sports at the end of his current contract with ESPN.
Finebaum agreed to a multi-year extension with ESPN in July 2018 after becoming the face of SEC Network during its massively successful launch four years prior. Interestingly enough, former ESPN head John Skipper — instrumental in getting Finebaum to the mothership — is DAZN's executive chair and wants to reacquire one of his top talents.
Self-defined as "an over-the-top subscription sports streaming service", DAZN is the future of sports media in hand-held form and Finebaum's quick hot takes are ideal for the platform, the report suggests.
The idea of a sitcom for Finebaum isn't necessarily uncharted territory for a media personality.
"“Listen Up!,” which ran on CBS in 2004-05, was based on Tony Kornheiser," SBD reported on Tuesday. "Finebaum’s meetings with network execs have reached the highest levels, including one sit-down with ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke."