Barring any contract negotiation snags, Mike Francesa will be back on WFAN Tuesday, armed with a new contract that runs through the end of 2020, a person familiar with the deal said.
That presumes an announcement comes on Friday, as currently expected, from Entercom, which owns WFAN, and CAA, the agency that represents Francesa.
Francesa’s new time slot will be 3 to 6:30 p.m. weekdays, with the current afternoon show of Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott, now heard from 2 to 6:30, moving to 1-3 p.m.
Many questions remain unanswered surrounding this week’s radio bombshell, including the exact scope of Francesa’s new plan, which is expected to include an app of some kind.
Also unclear: What Francesa was talking about when he cryptically alluded on Tuesday to a campaign to keep him from returning to WFAN, which he cited as a reason for his decision.
While Carlin, Gray and Scott have not complained publicly about essentially being demoted — albeit at the same pay for fewer work hours — WFAN’s morning team of Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti did not hold back.
They addressed the matter Wednesday morning with a 28-minute segment during which Esiason said of Francesa’s impending return, “It just looks pathetic.”
Esiason and Giannotti said they understood the move from a business perspective but were concerned over the impact on Carlin, Gray and Scott.
“Radio can be a real sewer pit, and there’s a lot of backstabbing and knife-throwing and all that other stuff that goes on,” Esiason said. “We try to stay above all that stuff, but unfortunately you can’t, and three people basically have gotten screwed.
“I don’t care how you put it, they have gotten screwed and they have gotten screwed by a guy who said he was never going to be on this radio station who decided to come back because of some conspiracy to keep him off the air. I have no idea what the hell that means.”
Esiason took over Francesa’s old office in January. He said he will not be moving out.
Said Giannotti: “Every day they walk in here they’re going to feel like, ‘Wow, everybody looks at us like a failure,’ and that’s just the perception of what it’s going to be and that’s not fair.”
Said Esiason: “I will say this: It ain’t going to be comfortable around here . . . They’re going to have to cross paths with a guy that basically is kicking them to the curb.”
In a video posted on WFAN’s Twitter feed, Esiason was seen bear-hugging Mark Chernoff, the station’s vice president of programming, after Wednesday’s show.
“What are you doing? You’re killing us!” Esiason jokingly said.
“I love you, Boomer,” Chernoff responded.
“I know you do,” Esiason said.
ESPN/Fox analyst Alex Rodriguez, who is close to Francesa, told Newsday he was surprised by the news, and added, “I am so excited. Mike is a legend in New York . . . I’m thrilled. I’m a fan. I’ll be listening.
“I was joking with Mike about what his next big trick is, because Mike always has reveals. He wasn’t going to just play golf in Florida.”
Francesa now will resume his ratings battle with ESPN New York’s Michael Kay, who edged “CMB” in the winter ratings but never has surpassed Francesa for a full quarterly ratings “book.”
On his show Tuesday, Kay was more critical of WFAN management than of Francesa, but he disapproved of Francesa’s “hubris” for returning after last year’s farewell tour and of disregarding how others view him and who are affected by his actions.