US broadcaster Fox Sports has followed in the footsteps of ESPN by asking its top on-air talent to take temporary pay cuts as a result of the sports competition shutdown amid the global Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the Washington Post, well-known on-air figures as Troy Aikman, Joe Buck, Skip Bayless, and Colin Cowherd will be asked to take voluntary 15 per cent salary reductions over three months.
“Given the unprecedented times we are in, we have asked many of our broadcasters to join our executives in taking a temporary 15 per cent salary reduction,” Fox Sports said in a statement. “Fox Sports is a family and we are facing these challenges together.”
Earlier this month, ESPN asked approximately 100 of its top on-air commentators to take temporary pay cuts as well. The network’s highest-paid commentators, such as Stephen A. Smith and Mike Greenberg, are expected to be affected.
Without any live sports to broadcast and report on, ESPN has been forced into a significant programming scramble, one that it has addressed in part through efforts such as special events and moving up release schedules for documentaries.
It has worked. ESPN’s highly-anticipated multi-part Michael Jordan documentary series The Last Dance proved an immediate ratings, with the first two episodes averaging 6.1 million viewers across ESPN and ESPN2.