Faced with sliding audience numbers, the worldwide leader in sports is launching a new round of cost-cutting measures. However, a worried popular ESPN NFL analyst Chris Berman said, “ESPN could… go… all… the… way – out of business!”
The cuts include layoffs of on-air personalities. To save money, “Pardon The Interruption” will lose its human hosts in favor of Pepper the Robot and IBM Watson. The two AI machines will engage in fiercely logical debates on all sports enjoyed by organic life-forms.
ESPN’s parent company Disney will help fired talent transition to new lines of work. “First Take”‘s Max Kellerman is slated to play Cogsworth the clock in Beauty And The Beast live. Meanwhile, his co-host Stephen A. Smith is still looking for a job. He was assigned to play a chipmunk for Chip ‘n’ Dale photo shoots at Disneyworld. However, children found his Chip to be too angry.
The City of Bristol is also offering help to ESPN staff. A new Bristol Office of Sports will give ex-ESPN personalities the opportunity to offer withering criticism of elementary and high school athletes.
“Most ESPN hosts are unskilled with no real-world experience,” the mayor said. “For those we can’t bring into the sports office, we will provide vocational training. We expect them to realize well-paying jobs commensurate with their ability level, like cab driver, janitorial staff, and bartender.
Mike Młynarczyk understands the hosts’ plight. He was slated to join Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic for a new morning show on ESPN. However, the Mike & Mike & Mike show never made it to air as the chyron lacked the technology to spell his last name. He now hosts a podcast where he explains how Atlanta blew the Superbowl to toddlers aged 2-3.
“I’m not bitter. Podcasts are the future. I don’t need ESPN…” He then added tearfully, “Even FS1 turned me down. FS1! Is this what hell feels like?”
Other cuts at the sports giant include commentators only calling the second half of games, switching overnight programming to public access shows and canceling the struggling 20th ESPN channel, ESPNJenga.
Disney will merge many ESPN shows with popular Disney Channel series. “Outside The Lines” will become a subplot in “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.” A new version of an ESPN football program will debut called “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody & NFL Insiders.”