CBS Sports Network intends to continue its simulcast of WFAN’s morning show, even if there is a change in the cast, CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said.
“There are no plans to discontinue the simulcast,” he said, in the wake of co-host Craig Carton’s arrest and indefinite suspension last week on charges of conspiracy and securities and wire fraud.
CBSSN has simulcast Boomer Esiason and Carton since January 2014, even though the radio program has a strong New York-area focus and the TV station is national – and even though CBS Radio has a national morning radio show.
The channel generally carries WFAN’s morning show even when Esiason or Carton — or both — are off and replaced by fill-ins. That has continued since Carton’s last show on Sept. 5, with Jerry Recco, Phil Simms and Brandon Tierney so far working alongside Esiason.
Simms was once again Boomer Esiason’s co-host on Monday to start the first full week without Carton.
Esiason said Monday that he spoke to Carton over the weekend.
“He was down, and rightfully so given what he’s dealing with,” Esiason said. “I don’t know what the future holds, I really don’t. But that doesn’t mean you abandon somebody because of a mistake they may have made or why they made it or how it happened or whether it’s true or any of that other stuff.”
Last Wednesday, Carton was arrested and charged with conspiracy in Manhattan federal court in an alleged multimillion-dollar ticket-resale Ponzi scheme to pay off casino debts and raise money to repay earlier investors.
“I don’t know any of the answers to any of the questions that I’m sure millions of people out there have,” Esiason said. “All I can tell you is that we’ll try to support every way we can, right. I know that it’s important to all of us that we get to a resolution.”
Added Esiason: “Good luck to him and to his family and we’re thinking about them. That was the extent of our conversation and I figured that we should just probably move on. I told him my phone is always available if he ever needs to talk.”
Esiason also joined the Toucher & Rich show on 98.5 The Sports Hub, a CBS station in Boston, Monday morning as part of his weekly spot during the football season.
“It was a very somber call,” Esiason said in that interview. “I was more interested about his family. You can imagine how that must be. If you guys have ever worked with anybody who has had problems in their life, you want the best for them, you want to love them, you want to love their family, you want to give them hope and you want to give them support.
“But under the current set of circumstances there is only so much support I can give and a lot of it cannot be public because I don’t want to get in spats with people. I don’t want to argue with people who have already made up their mind about certain things.
“All I can do is tell him I love him dearly, that I’m pulling for him and that privately I’ll try to help him anyway that I possibly can.”
McManus said the TV network “will take our lead from radio,” meaning it does not have a direct say in what WFAN does with its programming and merely simulcasts the show.
WFAN is owned by CBS Radio, but that company is in the process of being sold to Entercom, which will sever any direct corporate relationship it had with CBS’ television arm.