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Mike Francesa says last Fox Sports simulcast will be Friday

WFAN long-time radio host Mike Francesa on June

WFAN long-time radio host Mike Francesa on June 19, 2012. Credit: Craig Ruttle

Mike Francesa no longer will be simulcast on Fox Sports' cable television networks after this week, the WFAN host announced on his show Wednesday afternoon.

"The blame is mine," Francesa said on the air regarding the ill-fated deal, which saw him repeatedly pre-empted for live events and / or shuttled between Fox Sports 1 and 2. "I tried to do something that was a little different. I knew I was trying to put a square peg in a round hole when I did this."

Francesa said for the immediate future he will be heard only on the radio and will begin negotiations with other television outlets.

MSG Network is the presumed favorite to land the program, which would put Francesa back on a local cable TV outlet that presumably would give him a more regular time slot in New York than Fox did.

Fox originally had sought Francesa in part to increase the visibility of FS1 and FS2 in New York, but he never seemed to be a high priority for the network.

The Fox simulcast has been an ongoing source of frustration for Francesa since it began in March of 2014, and a source of tension between him and his parent company, CBS Radio.

Francesa had been looking for an out for some time, but both he and CBS had to be on board with ending the Fox contract, which is believed to have paid more than MSG has offered in the past.

Francesa's show was simulcast on the YES Network from 2002 to 2014 -- initially alongside his former partner Chris "Mad Dog" Russo -- before YES replaced him with Michael Kay's ESPN New York show.

On Tuesday, Fox began to simulcast newly hired Colin Cowherd on Fox Sports 1, pushing Francesa primarily to Fox Sports 2 -- when he was to be simulcast at all.

"I had some trepidation, but I also saw the promise in it and it never really worked out," he said of the Fox arrangement. "The judgment was mine. I made the decision to go, not CBS.

"Fox had good intentions. They paid us very well. It just wasn't a good fit for them. It wasn't a good fit for us . . . Now we'll each go our separate ways.

"I take all the blame in every way . . . We will end the relationship very amicably come Friday and as we said, Fox will go its way and we will go our way."

Francesa said he has had "preliminary discussions" about a new simulcast outlet, but he said a deal likely would take at least "a couple of months."

The Dolan family owns controlling interests in MSG Network and Cablevision. Cablevision owns Newsday.

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