ESPN laying off about 100 anchors, reporters, analysts and staffers, sources say

ESPN is laying off about 100 people, and about half include well-known on-air TV/Radio talent.

ESPN is laying off about 100 anchors, reporters, analysts and production staffers, sources tell Sporting News.

One of them is respected, well-known NFL insider Ed Werder. He confirmed he's out via Twitter:



ESPN NHL columnist Scott Burnside also tweeted he's done at ESPN after 13 years.



Most of the laid off employees got the bad news by phone Wednesday morning. Among the other ESPNers publicly confirming they were laid off:

-- College basketball reporter Dana O'Neil.

-- ESPNU host Brendan Fitzgerald.

-- Hockey writer Joe McDonald.

-- Big Ten reporter Austin Ward

-- Soccer writer Mike Goodman

-- Hockey insider Pierre LeBrun

-- Titans beat reporter Paul Kuharsky

MORE: Confirmed List of laid-off ESPNers

The Hollywood Reporter said anchor Hannah Storm, "Baseball Tonight" host Karl Ravech and Ryen Russillo will see their roles "significantly reduced."

About half of the layoffs will include well-known on-air TV/Radio talents, say sources. The rest will be behind-the-scenes writers and staffers not as familiar to viewers.

ESPN president John Skipper confirmed the “difficult” decision in a memo to staff Wednesday morning.

MORE: Why ESPN is cutting so much talent

"A necessary component of managing change involves constantly evaluating how we best utilize all of our resources, and that sometimes involves difficult decisions. Our content strategy – primarily illustrated in recent months by melding distinct, personality-driven SportsCenter TV editions and digital-only efforts with our biggest sub-brand – still needs to go further, faster…and as always, must be efficient and nimble," wrote Skipper.

"Dynamic change demands an increased focus on versatility and value, and as a result, we have been engaged in the challenging process of determining the talent—anchors, analysts, reporters, writers and those who handle play-by-play—necessary to meet those demands. We will implement changes in our talent lineup this week. A limited number of other positions will also be affected and a handful of new jobs will be posted to fill various needs."

MORE: Jason Whitlock sounds off on 'liberal' sports media, Bill Simmons

The big questions moving forward are who is losing their jobs, and why. Worried anchors, analysts and play-by-play announcers are calling their agents and each other to see who's in and who's out. As usual with corporate layoffs, no executives appear to be included on the list.

"It's like the panic in needle park," said one source. "Everybody's running around like chickens without a head."

James Andrew Miller, author of "Those Guys Have all the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN," tweeted the corporate bloodletting has left some longtime employees "frozen" and in a state of "shock."

MORE: Greeny discusses biggest regret about breakup

Commendably, ESPN won’t release the names of on-air talent losing their high-profile jobs. That will enable these people to break the news to family, friends and colleagues in their own time and their own way.

Many of these TV talents have multi-year contracts. ESPN is buying out some contracts and not renewing others, said another source.

MORE: Jason Whitlock sounds off on 'liberal' sports media, Bill Simmons | ESPN's Mike Greenberg discusses regrets of 'Mike & Mike' breakup

All in all, it's a terrible day at the ESPN campus. Unfortunately, it's only going to get worse as names of the fallen leak out in slow motion across social media.

Having lived through many layoffs in the newspaper/magazine/online business, I wish these people and their families the very best.

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