ESPN lays off 100, including on-air personalities and writers

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Jim Miller, who co-wrote a book on ESPN's history, said Wednesday that "around 50 names you will recognize; another 50 you may not" will be losing their jobs.

ESPN will part ways with more than 40 people, all of them "talent", a label that ESPN applies to radio hosts and writers (almost all of whom regularly do video or audio), not just traditional TV personalities. Over the past five years, the network has lost somewhere around 12 million subscribers while shelling out billions for the right to televise leagues such as the NFL and National Basketball Association.

On Wednesday, ESPN's president, John Skipper, sent a staff memo in which he said: "Today, we are again focused on a strategic vision that will propel our vast array of networks and services forward".

Among those who confirmed Wednesday they've been let go are National Football League reporter Ed Werder, radio host Danny Kanell, Dana O'Neill who covers college basketball, and hockey reporter Scott Burnside.

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ESPN's large layoff of on-air and online talent has filtered in throughout the day Wednesday, marking a major shift for the sports news juggernaut.

"Our objective in all we do is to best serve fans and their changing consumption habits while still maintaining an unparalleled and diverse talent roster that resonates with fans across all our platforms", Skipper said.

"ESPN used to be in close to 100 million houses, and now it's in less than 87 million homes, according to Nielsen", Ourand says.

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The layoffs are an attempt by ESPN to evolve in the wake of a two-headed challenge: a declining subscriber base and skyrocketing rights fees. Breitbart reported in November that ESPN lost 3.2 million subscribers over the a year ago.

The layoffs predictably will come before Disney, ESPN's parent company, releases 2nd quarter financial results on May 9.

Kevin McCarthy of the Sporting News reported Monday that some ESPN anchors have approached network officials about taking a pay cut to stay in Bristol, Connecticut. The Post reports ESPN employs about 8,000 people.

ESPN in October 2015 had previously laid off 300 people who worked behind the scenes.

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