SportsCenter host Jemele Hill will depart the show and take on a new role as writer for the network’s The Undefeated online site, the network said Friday.
Hill, who took over co-hosting duties for the 6 pm SportsCenter show along with Michael Smith last February, will host her last SC6 segment on Feb. 2. Smith will remain as host of the daily SC6 show.
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Hill came under fire last September for calling President Trump a “white supremacist" as part of a series of politically-themed tweets. She was suspended last October for violation of the company’s social media guidelines after she sent out a tweet calling for a boycott of the Dallas Cowboys after team owner Jerry Jones vowed to bench any players kneeling during the national anthem.
Hill in a statement said she approached management about the change, adding that hosting SC6 really wasn't her calling and that she prefered instead to write and report.
“My first choice was to work with The Undefeated, a site that covers the intersection of race, African-American culture and sports in creative and compelling ways,” she said.
ESPN Executive Vice President of Production and Executive Editor Norby Williamson said the show has undergone recent format changes as it looks to draw viewers at 6 pm. “The telecast continues to evolve as our primary mission is serving sports fans no matter the time of day,” Williamson said. “We have clearly learned that viewers expect the most comprehensive news coverage and compelling analysis during the 6 p.m. hour. Michael Smith is an experienced journalist and seasoned commentator and I'm confident that his talents can help us achieve our objectives as we move forward.”
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R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.