FRANCESA: RADIO SHOW MAY NOT LAST BEYOND SUMMER
BY NEIL BEST | firstname.lastname@example.org
June 28, 2008
Mike Francesa says the "Mike and the Mad Dog" show is at a "crossroad" and that he cannot guarantee it will last beyond this summer.
Responding for the first time to a report in Newsday last Sunday that his partnership with Chris Russo soon might end, Francesa turned wistful Friday during a 4 1/2-minute monologue on WFAN that at times sounded like an early farewell to the show.
"I think even our most severe critic would say that we have produced something pretty special over the last 19 years," he said from Yankee Stadium before Game 1 of the Mets-Yankees two-stadium doubleheader, later adding, "Where it goes from here, I'm not sure. I think, to be fair with the audience, I think we have reached a crossroad."
He said the matter will "play out over the summer."
"I don't know how long is long enough," he said. "Would I guarantee anything? No. Would I make any declarations today? No. Eventually, all things have to pass. If we're at that time, I'm not sure."
It was Francesa's only workday this week. He is not scheduled to work with Russo until July 11.
On Monday, Russo stressed that he is under contract deep into next year but did not specifically deny that he or Francesa will leave. Four industry sources have said Russo's most likely destination would be satellite radio.
Francesa refused to discuss his contract Friday. Newsday reported earlier this year that he had agreed to an extension, but it is not clear that he signed it.
Russo said Monday that he and Francesa have feuded in recent months; Francesa agreed Friday, saying this was among the worst of their "four or five" fights over the years. The two met May 12 and agreed to stop dragging their problems onto the air.
"He apologized, I apologized, because I thought I had handled myself terribly," Francesa said. "I think we've patched it up on the air. Have we patched it up off the air? Not really, to any real extent."
Francesa said that even with the fallout from the Newsday article, he and Russo had not spoken. "That's a pretty good indication of where we are right now," he said.
He stressed that a poor relationship with Russo would not be enough by itself to end the show.
WFAN operations director Mark Chernoff reiterated what he said last weekend: "They are under contract, and we expect to have a nice, long run with 'Mike and the Mad Dog.'"
Said Francesa: "We've had a lot of different things happen in our lives. We've had seven kids in recent years. You go through a lot of changes, a lot of things happen, a lot of things are said. You don't know everything that's going to happen day to day. Life's not that predictable."
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