ESPN is ending ‘The Sports Reporters,’ one of its longest-running shows

Sports-Reporters
Former Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan and the late John Saunders can be seen on the set of "The Sports Reporters," ESPN's longest-running show.

One of the longest-running sports shows on television is coming to an end. 

ESPN is planning on canceling The Sports Reporters, the sports debate show that first aired in 1988, according to Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch. The show is expected to end in May.

An ESPN spokesman declined to speak about the news, and New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica, the show’s host, did not respond to a request for comment.

Retired Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan, a longtime regular on the show, confirmed the news that The Sports Reporters was ending.

The Sports Reporters airs on ESPN every Sunday at 9:30 a.m., and features Lupica hosting a roundtable of rotating guests to discuss the week’s top sporting events. The show will reportedly be replaced with an hour-long version of E:60, which according to Deitsch will prominently feature longtime ESPN personalities Bob Ley and Jeremy Schaap.

The show’s original host, baseball play-by-play announcer Gary Thorne, was quickly replaced by legendary sportswriter Dick Schaap, who hosted the show until his death in 2001. Schaap was replaced by longtime ESPN broadcaster John Saunders, who hosted until his death last year.

The Sports Reporters was a precursor to the current trend of debate-centric shows on both national and regional sports networks. Its roundtable over the years has been a who’s who of top sports journalists, including Ryan, Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom and former New York Times columnist William C. Rhoden, among others.

Last year, the show aired its first-ever all-female edition, featuring ESPN journalists Jemele Hill, Sarah Spain, Jane McManus, and Kate Fagan (who previously covered the Sixers for the Inquirer).