From left, Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno join Mike Francesa...

From left, Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno join Mike Francesa at the Paley Center for Media in Manhattan for Francesa's penultimate show on WFAN on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. Credit: Entercom

WFAN appears to have settled on a replacement for Mike Francesa in afternoon drive time, with Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno now more likely than ever to move from middays to afternoons starting Jan. 2.

They will work afternoons together next week, but as part of the usual mix-and-match December lineup. The question is when they will be announced as Francesa’s regular successors, which could come as early as Friday or perhaps early next week.

None of this was official as of late Thursday afternoon, and it still is possible there could be a holdup in contract negotiations that could scuttle the plan.

Both Roberts and Benigno, who have been together since 2007, have contracts that expire at the end of 2020, and both presumably are seeking a raise and an extension to make the move the drive time.

Roberts long has been a lock for one of the spots to succeed Francesa, who left drive time on Dec. 6. Benigno’s role was less certain, with Maggie Gray also a candidate. But according to two people familiar with the process, talks with Benigno heated up on Thursday.

Gray and Marc Malusis are the favorites to be the new midday team starting in January.

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