WFAN broadcaster Mike Francesa, second from left, and actor Steve...

WFAN broadcaster Mike Francesa, second from left, and actor Steve Schirripa (fourth from left) attends at Game 4 of the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Madison Square Garden on June 11, 2014 Credit: Getty Images

Mike Francesa has made it clear he is not a fan of Fox's frequent pre-emptions of his TV simulcast, so when he said Tuesday he had been threatened with a lawsuit if he persisted, most listeners assumed the threat had come from Fox.

But the story turned out to be juicier than that, because he in fact was referring to CBS Radio, which owns WFAN and is his employer -- and which has significant revenue at stake in the Fox deal.

It was not the first time Francesa has criticized the company. Most memorably, he and former partner Chris Russo ripped CBS for its handling of Don Imus' departure in 2007.

Still, this sort of public spat is unusual, and suggests a relationship that bears watching, especially with Francesa under contract through early 2018.

The back-and-forth Tuesday between him and the company -- which denied it had threatened a lawsuit -- was the latest sign of tension.

Another came in December, when he said he "would not consider the CBS Sports Network an alternative at any time," for his simulcast, unlike his WFAN morning-show counterparts, Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton.

"There is absolutely zero chance I would go there because I don't think it fits the program."

CBS was not pleased. Stay tuned.

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